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Does a criminal record go away?

What is a criminal record

If you are trying to find out if a criminal record ever goes away, you are in the right spot. A criminal record is just what it sounds like, a record of crimes for a person. It is a combination of state and federal charges that is normally kept in chronological order. It has a record of any violations of the law, arrests, and any convictions. The FBI has a database at the NCIC (National Crime Information Center) that stores the information on all state and federal criminal records nationwide. All states also have their own databases to track criminal records. Most non-violent misdemeanors are either not reported to the NCIC or the report does not make it past the county and state level to be reported.

does a criminal record go away?

Who has access to your criminal record

It is fairly easy to access and review criminal records. In most cases, a simple criminal record search can be performed. Each state has different rules and limits on when and why a criminal record search can be used, but commonly this is done by:

  • Employers: Employers have the right to check for criminal records and do so to ensure they know the criminal past of potential employees. 
  • Landlords: Non-Violent offenders are generally not required to disclose their criminal past, but landlords use criminal records searches to ensure a safe environment for tenants and/or to feel comfortable renting to the potential tenant
  • Lenders: Lenders use criminal records to attempt to lower the risk of lending. This can be done to check for previous financial crimes as well.
  • Business partners: Trust is crucially important when deciding on a business partner. It is smart to check the criminal record of potential business partners so that you know who you are working with.

There are other reasons and times when a criminal record search is required. Over 80,000 law enforcement officers have access to criminal records as well, though they do not require a request.

facts about criminal records

What is Criminal record expungement?

Although a criminal record is a permanent thing, there are ways to ‘hide’ some information. This is done by getting your criminal record expunged. Each state and federal territory have different laws on Can the crime be expunged?: Although there are many crimes that can be expunged from your criminal record, some crimes cannot be. This is generally related to violent crimes and other felonies. You will want to check with a criminal defense attorney near you to learn more about whether a crime can be expunged.

When can the crime be expunged?: In most situations, offenders need to complete their sentence before they can have their records expunged. This normally includes the probation period, but in special circumstances a judge can wave that.

What has to be done to get it expunged?: In most states and federal territories, you don’t need to hire a lawyer to start the process. There are different rules for each area, but generally a form is available to start the motion. If there are problems with the process, it is a good idea to contact a lawyer to prevent delays or getting your motions denied.

When it’s expunged, is the crime removed from the record?: Once a crime is expunged, it is no longer viewable when doexpunging certain crimes from a criminal record, but a good place to start is to ask some questions to a criminal defense law firm in your state:

ing a criminal record search, but the crime is not completely erased. When applying for federal or state funded positions or when applying to law enforcement agencies, even expunged records are able to be viewed. Depending on the situation, it may need to go through a court and you may have the right to appeal.

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Criminal records are not permanent

After being arrested and convicted of a crime it can sometimes feel hopeless. It is important to remember that not all convictions are a lifetime sentence and that there are ways to move forward. In most cases of non-violent criminal offenses, or in cases with juveniles, the information can be expunged from your record. Make sure you know your rights and discuss your options with a qualified and trusted lawyer before making any decisions. The criminal justice system can be hard to navigate and knowing your criminal record doesn’t fully go away can be scary, but there is always hope to make a better tomorrow!  


Louisiana DWI & Criminal Lawyers

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Louisiana criminal lawyers and DWI attorneys at the Barkemeyer Law Firm providing legal defense services for clients in Baton Rouge, Ascension, Livingston, Tangipahoa, Port Allen, Alexandria, New Orleans, Lafayette, Metairie, Kenner, Gretna, Hahnville, Chalmette, Slidell, St. Tammany, St. Charles, St. John, St. Bernard, Mandeville, Covington, Shreveport, Bossier, Jefferson, and all of Louisiana.

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not formal legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.

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