If you were found not guilty of a crime, you still have a criminal record. In fact, you still have a criminal record even if you were arrested and never charged with a crime. But do you need expungement if you were found not guilty or if you were arrested and never charged? This guide helps you decide.
Do You Need Expungement if You Were Found Not Guilty of a Crime?
You get a criminal record the moment the police put your information into their database. That means no matter what happens in your case – whether you’re released without being charged, you’re found not guilty, or you’re found guilty (or anything else) – you have a criminal record. That criminal record is permanent; it stays in place unless you get proactive and do something about it.
When you submit to a criminal background check, or when a landlord is performing a background check to find out whether you’ll be a good tenant, your criminal record will pop up. That can leave you scrambling to provide answers – and you may not be very comfortable talking about your record, even if you were released without charges or found not guilty of a crime.
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In that case, it’s in your best interest to expunge your criminal record. Not all records are eligible for expungement, though; generally, you can’t expunge convictions (though there are a few exceptions). The good news is that when a record isn’t eligible for expungement, it may still qualify for criminal record sealing. You can seal many convictions, both misdemeanor and felony. Your lawyer will fill out and file several forms in either situation.
When your record is sealed, most people won’t see it. In fact, it’ll only be visible to people who conduct fingerprint-based background checks. (That means your landlord and most prospective employers won’t be able to see it). It’s the next-best alternative to expungement.
Do You Need to Talk to a Lawyer About Expunging or Sealing Your Criminal Record?
If you need to speak with an attorney about clearing your criminal record, we may be able to help you. Call us at 847-920-4540 now or fill out the form below for a free consultation.
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