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Find a Qualified Expungement Attorney or Lawyer to Clear Your Record
An expungement proceeding is a type of lawsuit in which the subject of a prior criminal investigation or proceeding seeks that the records of that earlier process be sealed or destroyed, thereby restoring the subject's name. If successful, the records are said to be "expunged". Black's Law Dictionary defines "expungement of record" as the "Process by which record of criminal conviction is destroyed or sealed after the expiration of time." The exact definition of expungement varies by state. Also, the name for expungement varies by state.
Arizona's expungement equivalent is "setting aside" a conviction. It is set forth in Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) Section 13-907. Arizona's setting aside statute allows a defendant to petition the court to have a conviction set aside after the terms of the sentence are met. If the court grants the petition, the defendant is "released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction other than those imposed by the Department of Transportation." The conviction can be used in any subsequent criminal prosecution.
California's expungement law permits someone convicted of a crime to petition the court to re-open the case, set aside the plea, and dismiss the case. Thereby giving the person the righ to say they were not convicted. The controlling law is California Penal Code 1203.4. In order for one to qualify for expungement, they must have completed probation, paid all fines and restitution, not served a sentence in state prison for the offense, and not currently being charged with a crime. Case law states that person is eligible even if they still owe probation costs and court ordered attorneys' fees. If the requirements are met for eligibility, a court may grant the petition if it finds that it would be in the interest of justice to do so. A successful expungement will not erase the criminal record, but rather the finding of guilt will be changed to a dismissal. The time it takes to complete the process varies by court. defendant then honestly and legally can answer to a question about his criminal history, with some exceptions, that he has not been convicted of that crime.
Ohio's equivalent of an expungement is a "sealing." The controlling law is Ohio Revised Code 2953.32. Sealing allows 1st-time offenders to petition the court for the sealing of a conviction record. To be eligible, one must not have any current charges pending, or prior or subsequent criminal convictions, other than minor misdemeanors and those arising from the same incident. Completion of the court's sentence (fines, restitution, jail/prison, probation, etc.) and a waiting period from the date of discharge is also required (one year for misdemeanors or three years for felonies). The time it takes to complete the process varies by court. Some serious offenses are ineligible.
Texas expungement law (Revised Code of Washington (RCW) Chapter 9.94A.640) allows expungement of arrests which did not lead to a finding of guilt, and class C misdemeanors if the defendant received deferred adjudication, and completed community supervision. The release, dissemination or use of expunged records by any agency is prohibited. Unless being questioned under oath, the defendant may deny the occurrence of the arrest and expungement order. The time it takes to complete the process varies by court. If the defendant was found guilty, pled guilty, or pled no contest to any offense other than a class "C" misdemeanor, it is not eligible for expungement; however, it may be eligible for non-disclosure, sometimes referred to as record sealing, if deferred adjudication was granted. Cases that resulted only in probation with no jail or prison, may be eligible to be set aside, which removes the conviction and finding of guilt, but still leaves the record available for the public to see a dismissed case.