Expungement – How and Why It’s Important

September 23, 2020

You may need to have your record expunged and not even know it

Did you ever wonder why you didn’t get that job that you were sure you were going to get?

Did you know that a dismissed charge still will stay on your record until it has legally been expunged? Although your charge may have been dismissed the fact that you were charged is still a matter of public record. Why deal with embarrassing questions at a job interview when you can remove any hint of the incidents existence by expungement?

If you have had even the slightest brush with the criminal justice system, you need to make sure that, if possible, any evidence of that brush is eliminated.

Many people assume that because a case was dismissed that it automatically goes away. Not true!

What is an expungement?

An expungement is the extraction and isolation of all records on file within any court, detention or correctional facility, law enforcement or criminal justice agency concerning a person’s detection, apprehension, arrest, detention, trial, or disposition of an offense within the criminal justice system.

What can be expunged?

The types of records that can be expunged include complaints, warrants, arrests, commitments, processing records, fingerprints, photographs, index cards, rap sheets, and judicial docket records.

Effect of expungement

The effect of an expungement is that the event or document never occurred or existed. It is deemed by the law not to have occurred and is not a matter of public record that can be accessed by employers or the curious.  When it is said that the records are extracted or isolated it means that the records are not actually destroyed but instead, access to them is strictly limited for use by the courts, prosecutors, probation officers and department of corrections staff. Thus, access to records is limited but not in ways that tie the hands of law enforcement.

A successful applicant for expungement does not have to answer affirmatively relating to expunged criminal records, and his /her prior arrest, conviction, and related proceedings shall be deemed not to have occurred.

Important facts about expungement

A person whose conviction was expunged may possess a firearm.

An expunged domestic violence conviction allows a person applying for gun permits to have application considered as if the offense never occurred.


Indictable convictions can be expunged after 10 years, however, it is not available if there has been another crime or two offenses either before or after. (Expungement is not available for some serious violent crimes). In some instances, an indictable conviction can be expunged after 5 years, if it can be shown that the expungement is in the public interest.

Disorderly person offenses and petty disorderly person offenses can be expunged after 5 years, expungement is not available if more than two offenses or a crime either before or after.

Municipal ordinances can be expunged after 2 years, expungement is not available if convicted of one crime or two offenses.

Drug offense convictions for young offenders can be expunged after 1 year, expungement not available for serious drug distribution, and; not available if on parole or probation or previously accepted into supervisory treatment or other diversion.

Arrests not resulting in conviction may be expunged immediately, or six months after diversionary program. Expungement is not available for dismissals, discharges or acquittals based on insanity or mental incapacity.

If you have had a prior brush with the law that you would like to have go way through expungement contact me for a free confidential  consultation to discuss whether you are eligible for this important legal process. I have the experience, the credentials and the compassion to help you with your legal issue.