If you’ve ever been arrested, you have a criminal record. That’s true whether you were let go without being charged for a crime, whether you were charged with a crime, or whether you were actually convicted. The fact is that once police arrest you, you have a record.
Do Arrests Show Up on a Background Check?
Because an arrest kicks off a criminal record, it will show up on a background check. There’s only one thing you can do to get an arrest off your criminal record so that no one will see it on a background check: You can go through the criminal record clearing process.
Expungement and Arrests
When you expunge an arrest from your criminal record, the record of the arrest is destroyed or returned to you. It’s like it never even happened.
If you were arrested and released without charges, or if you were arrested and charged but the charges were later dropped, you can immediately expunge the arrest from your record. Additionally, if you were arrested and charged, but you were found not guilty or your case was dismissed, you can expunge the arrest from your record without waiting. The catch with expungement is that you can’t typically expunge anything you’ve been convicted of; if you have a conviction, your best bet will probably be criminal record sealing. Even then, there are some crimes (such as those that involve violence) that you cannot clear from your criminal record.
Related: Your immigration status and expungement
Sealing and Arrests
You can seal arrests on your criminal record. When you seal all or part of your record, it still exists. However, only certain parties can see it, such as those working in an official capacity in the justice system, government agencies, and some employers (such as the military and some health care agencies). If you were arrested and never charged, or the charges were dropped, you can seal that arrest. Additionally, if you were charged but found not guilty, you can seal the arrest. In some cases, even if you were convicted of a crime, you can seal the arrest, the charges and the prosecution so most people will never know you have a criminal record.
What Goes on a Criminal Record?
The moment you are arrested, you have a criminal record. Your criminal record never erases itself. If you want it cleared, you have to take the appropriate steps through the court system to clear it. That means your criminal record may include arrests, charges and prosecutions.
Related: Does a domestic violence conviction show up on a background check?
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Criminal Record Expungement?
If you’re thinking about clearing your criminal record, we may be able to help you. Call us at 847-920-4540 or fill out the form below now for a free case review.
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