Life might never be the same again when you get accused of or convicted for committing a crime. The people who know you might start to think you are a criminal, and everyone else might as well. If the charge is serious, then you might always be recognized as the guy who did that thing even if you are innocent, and the court says not guilty as well.

Having a criminal record can keep you held back from many things, and it can ruin your chances of living a good life. That can have some serious mental health consequences because people end up thinking what's the point if everyone judges them for their past. It's much worse when you are proven innocent, but, still, people around you change how they treat you.

Fortunately, there is a way to clear up your past records. It can be quickly done with the help of a Criminal Defense Lawyer. However, there are some eligibility criteria that you need to meet. Let's get into all of that and how getting your records cleared can help your life.

Expungement

Expungement is the legal process of removing something from your criminal record entirely. When you file for an expungement by yourself or with the help of a lawyer, the court will decide whether you meet the eligibility criteria. If you do, then the records you want to be expunged will cease to exist.

You must keep in mind that getting a record expunged doesn't mean that you have been forgiven or the verdict has been changed to innocent. It merely means that your criminal records are cleared. However, your case might still exist somewhere in the court records.

Eligibility For Expunged

The eligibility criteria for getting a criminal record expunged can significantly vary depending on the precise nature of the case you are trying to get cleared.

Even though an expungement is designed to give people a clean slate or a fresh start, it is not simple and neither is it for everyone. Unless you are working with a defense lawyer, you will need to check with the criminal court that handled your case or the law enforcement agency that dealt with the arrest.

When you call, find out the answer to these three questions:

● When can a person be eligible for an expungement?

Expungement is not something offered to every person who has ever been accused or convicted of a crime. There are specific laws in place that only allow some people to get their records cleared. For instance, some only allow criminals who have served their time and gone through probation to get their records expunged.

● What criminal offenses are eligible for expungement?

Just like the fact that not every person with a criminal record can qualify for an expungement, not every crime can be expunged. For instance, some may allow expungement of arrests and misdemeanors but not for felony convictions.

● What are the outcomes of getting an expungement?

Sometimes, you might be eligible to get a full expungement. However, there chances your records may still be visible to the police and some licensing boards.

Expungement VS Sealing

Expungement is sometimes confused with sealing records. However, these two are somewhat different processes that you need to understand.

When you seal your records, they may not be publicly available, but some people may able to see that you have something on your record. It will only be sealed, not removed. In the future, you might be in a situation where a court could ask that your records be opened up again.
When you get your records expunged, you can get much more just sealing them. After getting an expungement, you no longer have to worry about the case showing up in your criminal records. Also, some states allow you to legally answer "No" when asked about any prior criminal arrests or convictions.

How an Expungement Can Benefit Your Life

Getting Jobs

When you apply for a job that you think you would be perfect for, and nothing can hold you back -think again.

Many employers do an in-depth background check into their employees, and they certainly go through criminal and public records. Basically, everything and anything their private investigator can find.

For some jobs, the employers can do an exhaustive search and even find out that you have something sealed if you get your records sealed. Even a sealed record can affect your chances of getting a job.

Receiving Education

Whether you are applying for a diploma, bachelor's, masters, or a Ph.D., you will obviously want to go to the best institute you can possibly afford. But sometimes the college administrators that are in charge of screening the applicants and interviewing them can reject the applications.

If you have any type of a criminal record, then the chances of getting into a good school might be out the door. Even if you apply in middle or lower-level universities, you might still find yourself being rejected because of your criminal record.

But if you get your records expunged, then the institutes can't see the criminal background, which won't affect your ability to get an education anymore.

Applying for Loans

Whether you want a car, home, personal loan, or want to start a business, getting money from a lender can become incredibly challenging for someone with a criminal background.

Some loan agencies or banks think that criminals will have a hard time paying back their loans. That is why they might reject the loans or give you really high interest rates. At that rate, it might no longer make sense to get a loan.

But if you get your records expunged, you can erase the criminal background. Then these lenders will only decide your rates on standard criteria.

Obtaining Licenses and Certifications

Sometimes you must have a particular type of a license if you want to get a specific job or pursue a career. However, you will need to get certifications to receive these licenses, which might mean attending an educational institute or being tested by a board. These organizations can check your background and reject the request.

Applying for Insurance

Similar to the loan agencies or the banks, insurance companies look at your background as well. They generally check how much of a liability you would be. Then they charge you a premium according to that.

If an insurance company finds that you have committed a crime that might affect them in the future, then they can charge a higher premium rate. For instance, an auto or life insurance company would charge you higher if you have been convicted for a DUI or DWI.

Renting and Leasing a Home

Renting and leasing a home can be incredibly challenging if you have a criminal background.

When you go to a landlord or property owner, they will look at your background to see how suitable a tenant you would be for their property. Many landlords try to maintain a certain level of standard with their tenants, and they think having someone with a criminal background can hurt their image.

But things can revert back to normal if you go with an expungement.

Ability to Carry a Firearm

If you have a criminal background, then you might no longer be able to possess, carry, sell, or distribute firearms legally. That is because you might not be able to get a license for those operations.

That means you won't be able to apply for any job that requires you to carry a firearm, such as security. Also, you probably can't open up a firing range, among other things.

Applying For Adoption

Not everyone is the same, and many ex-convicts learn from their mistakes when they get free. But when they want to live a normal life and adopt a child, any adoption agency might quickly back out as soon as they find out that you have a criminal background.

It's not only the agencies, as the people who are giving away a child may also not choose a person who has a criminal background.

Volunteering

If you are trying to do some good after getting through your sentences, then you might be stopped from that as well.

Many centers that help the youth conduct thorough background research on anyone who wants to participate. A criminal record will most definitely show up here.

Federal Assistance

There are a few federally funded programs that help out the general public. It could be a federally assisted housing, food stamps, or anything else. If you try to go for them, then they might reject you because they don't assist anyone who has a prior criminal arrest or conviction. However, some states do go easy.

Peace of Mind

When you have expunged your criminal record of the previous cases, you might feel quite liberated from everything. Having a clean slate like that can allow you to live an average person's life and not be considered a criminal. You can breathe more freely as a regular citizen.

Author's Bio: 

Success Coach, Business Development Consultant, Strategist, Blogger, Traveller, Motivational Writer & Speaker