To “expunge” is to “totally wipe or remove.” In the words of the law, “new expungement law” refers to the process of erasing or sealing a criminal conviction record from a federal and state record.
An expungement order instructs the government to treat the felony record as if it never happened, deleting it from the defendant’s felony conviction as well as, preferably, the public record. It is critical to note that expungement is not “forgiveness” for committing a crime; rather, it is a legal pardon.
Pardons, like expungements, do not involve the erasure of a record from a criminal history. Pardons may be awarded by governmental officials in the United States. The President, for instance, grants pardons every year.
State leaders may also grant pardons to specific defendants in their states. Expungement procedures, on the other hand, must be legally obligated by a court.
The Clean Slate Act: What Is The Clean Slate Act?
The clean slate act gives some citizens the freedom to hide information about their previous records in certain situations. It implies that when questioned about their criminal background, an eligible person might pretend they have none.
This approach does not erase the information (“wipe the slate clean”) but rather permits information to be concealed as if you had no previous convictions.
Basics Of The New Expungement Law
The new expungement law (also known as “expunction law”) is a judicial process that “forgets” the entire legal record of an arrest or a felony conviction. Another way to look at it is to throw away a criminal conviction or erase records in the legal sense.
This legal process of the new expungement law can change someone’s life by giving them additional possibilities if they have a prior conviction or arrest record. Expunging a record allows a person to live more freely, without fear of future legal difficulties.
More information about the new expungement law may be found in this article, so make sure to read it till the end.
The Legal Effect Of The New Expungement Law
In most cases, the new expungement law implies that a court conceals or eliminates an accusation or conviction from a person’s court record.
Following the completion of the expungement procedure, the individual who was charged or acquitted is not legally compelled to report the occurrence.
Background checks can be aided by an expungement. People frequently encounter situations that necessitate a background check, such as while looking for homes or searching for new jobs.
It is normal to question whether expunging a history will prevent a prior incident from surfacing during a criminal record check.
When applying for jobs or an apartment, a person with erased court records does not need to mention their conviction or arrest. A landlord or a private-sector employer would very certainly be unable to acquire access to the deleted record.
This is because, in most situations, if a future employer, academic institution, or other entity does a public document inspection or backstory check of a person’s criminal record, no record of an erased conviction or arrest will show.
The Process Of The New Expungement Law
Expungement cannot, in a literal sense, erase memories of a run-in with the law; no judicial process can produce widespread amnesia and lead people to ignore that somebody was imprisoned for, charged with, or convicted of a previous crime. However, in legal fiction, courts can “delete” arrest or conviction records.
Different jurisdictions conduct record expungement in different ways. Some merely restrict the publication or distribution of records. Others physically delete a person’s records after purging them. Furthermore, certain systems may have legal safeguards that specifically allow parties to dispute the availability of the recordings.
Certain types of documents, such as juvenile arrest records, are automatically sealed in some states. Others need the target of a record in preparing a complex court filing.
When pursuing an expungement, most individuals choose to deal with a criminal defense lawyer. However, some states provide forms that allow people to submit them independently, without the aid of a lawyer, if they wish to save money.
Factors Determining Eligibility For Expungement
The ability to expunge a criminal record is always contingent on several circumstances, including the area, the type of the conduct or charge, the period of time since the detention or conviction, and if there is any subsequent criminal history.
Can You Get A Felony Expunged?
A lot of people seem to be skeptical about it. Can you get a felony expunged? So, the answer is that a felony conviction stays on a person’s criminal history for life.
Expungement is the only method to get rid of it. It is possible to have a felony conviction removed from a person’s record. Before asking the judge for an expungement, there are normally state-specific parameters that must be completed.
In many states, a felony conviction that has been erased is no longer a public record. This implies that the accusation or conviction does not have to be disclosed on applications for a job, housing, public assistance, or education. Typically, if a potential employer conducts a background investigation, the erased crime will not be shown.
An expungement, however, has restrictions. Law enforcement agencies, for example, can still access purged records. Expunged charges may be considered by both law enforcement and the judiciary if they affect sentencing in a subsequent criminal prosecution.
Furthermore, several jurisdictions require potential employees to declare expunged convictions when applying for employment in law enforcement, finance, and/or dealing with children. When filing for a professional license, such as a legal, medical, or pharmacy license, an individual may be required to declare expunged charges.
Now that you know the answer to “Can you get a felony expunged?”, let’s go over the expungement in Georgia and Michigan.
Expungement In Georgia: Understanding The New Expungement Law In Georgia
Previously, if you were convicted of a crime in Georgia, it was extremely difficult, if not impossible, to have these convictions removed from your record and criminal history.
This has produced issues for innumerable people, particularly those seeking work, housing, professional licenses, and other services. The new expungement law in Georgia has made the process a lot easier.
Convicted Defendants’ Records Are Restricted
In restricted instances, expungement in Georgia allows for record limitations for criminal convictions; this provision limits broad access to convictions, sentences, and associated documents.
Convictions For Misdemeanors
Individuals convicted of certain minor offenses have the option of requesting a record limitation four years after serving their term, as long as they are not convicted of any new offenses throughout that time frame and have no open criminal accusations. Misdemeanors such as sex offenses are not included.
Others, such as domestic violence battery, have specific circumstances for eligibility for record limitation. The court can only limit and seal up to two misdemeanor convictions under the legislation.
Convictions For Felonies
It is also concerning whether you can get a felony expunged. Before an offender may request to have their records limited and sealed for convicted felons, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles must first issue a pardon.
Defendants can ask for a pardon 5 years after their sentence is completed if they have remained law-abiding throughout that time. Restriction and sealing do not apply to serious violent crimes or sexual offenses.
First Offense Drug Possession
Individuals who plead guilty or are arrested for drug possession may have their criminal history limited if they have no prior drug offense convictions and have completed the conditions of probation.
Other First-Time Misdemeanors
Georgia’s First Offense Act allows a few first offenders to escape conviction by fulfilling specific criteria, one of which is frequently probation. If an offender completes probation without being caught and accused of some other offense, their records may be limited.
Expungement In Michigan
For the past half-century, expungement in Michigan has been embraced. Since 1965, expungement laws have allowed someone to petition to have a felony conviction removed from their official record after five years after the completion of their sentence.
Expungement, also known as a set-aside, is the process of removing a criminal conviction from the public record so that it would not exist in a background investigation or criminal record inquiry. A record is kept by law enforcement for personal use.
Unlike many other states, expungement in Michigan is allowed for a wide spectrum of felony convictions. A few categories are not eligible, including life crimes, criminal sexual behavior, and traffic offenses.
However, it has historically severely restricted who may file for expungement depending on how many additional convictions they have had.
A “clean slate” is another term for expungement. Similarly, others regard expungement as “cleaning up your record.” Expungement laws do not exist in every state. Michigan, fortunately, has an expungement statute. Michigan House Bills 4981-85 and 5120 went into effect on April 11, 2021.
A criminal record has a detrimental influence on every part of your life. Your criminal record may impede your ability to get a job, obtain a certification or license, or gain admission to school or graduate school.
You can, fortunately, make efforts to clear all or most of your convictions with the help of the new expungement law.