Many people who have been convicted of a felony continue to pay for the crime long after they have done their time. They are frequently ostracized by some in society, and, as a result, may find it difficult to find meaningful employment. Those who feel marginalized may find themselves on the wrong side of the law once more. If you have a felony on your record, do not give up hope. With the help of a good lawyer, you may be able to clear your record.
You may be a candidate for "expungement" of your record if you meet several criteria. Although each state has its own guidelines, most will look more favorably on your request if you have only committed one felony. If you are a repeat offender, your chances for expungement drop. The nature of your crime is also important. If you have committed a sexual or particularly violent crime, you are unlikely to have your record cleared. Any offenses against a minor will also make your chances for success slim. Usually, you have to be out of jail and living a crime-free life for a period of time before your request will be considered.
Depending on which state you are in, you will have a variety of paperwork to fill out and file once you have met the waiting period. You can apply to have your records sealed, but that is not the same thing as expunged. When they are sealed, the records will still be there but hard for anyone to access. Expungement is preferable to having the records sealed as it basically "clears" your record and gives you a new beginning, free of the stigma of being convicted. You may have to attend a hearing about your case. If your petition is denied, you can appeal the decision. You should consult an attorney about his process before you file your paperwork to increase your chances of success. The best route you can take is to get a Certificate of Actual Innocence which states that no record should ever have existed in your case.
A felony conviction can impact the rest of your life, making it difficult to get a job, good housing, or a loan. If possible, you should get your record expunged so that you can truthfully state that you have never been convicted of a felony. An expungement will truly give you a new and more hopeful beginning. For more information, contact a lawyer like O'Brien & Dekker.