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Getting Away from a Felony: Expunge Your Criminal Record

08th April 2010
By Nathan Moore in Criminal Law
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If you have a criminal past, no one needs to tell you the number of ways it can negatively affect you. Job openings, career advancement and educational opportunities are now limited. It is both unfair and a truism that one indiscretion in one's youth can have such a debilitating long term effect on one's life path.

States differ in the way they handle felony convictions. In some states, such as Alabama, there is no such thing as "expungement" unless the charges against your are ultimately dismissed. In contrast, in a state like California, there is a myriad of ways that one can address their criminal record. In the gray of the expungement spectrum are states like Virginia or Tennessee that allowed for judicial diversion of certain first time offenses.

It is important that you do your research prior to deciding on what can be done with your criminal record. In addition to expungements, there are other methods depending on the state. Some states allow you to alternatively "seal" your record, such as Maryland. In some states, executive clemency can result in qualification for an expungement. This is the case in West Virginia.

Nowadays, with the job market so tight, it is imperative that you do all you can to minimize the impact of your criminal record. As unemployment seems content on remaining above ten percent nationwide for the foreseeable future, a criminal record (even a misdemeanor criminal record) can mean the difference between a successful employment application and continued joblessness.

In fact, even an accusation of criminal conduct can be detrimental to a job application. In practically every instance, a charge that has been dismissed can ultimately be sealed or expunged. Even if you have never been convicted of a crime, the evidence and stigma of the accusation can still linger. Despite the best intentions of human nature, the beyond reasonable doubt standard is largely a legal concept. Unlike the legal work, the business world is more prone to operating on a "more likely than not" standard. As such, it is in your best interest to erase every bit of public evidence relating your engagement with the criminal justice process.

The first thing one should do is retain an attorney experienced in expungement law to review your record. Be sure to consult a legal professional - myriad "expungement services" exist on the web that will gladly take your hard-earned money without any assurances whatsoever as to whether your record can actually be expunged. The difference is that a licensed lawyer has an ethical obligation to be up front with you about the state of the law, and is much less likely to take your payment without some assurances about what is a likely result. Regardless, delay works against you as laws often change.


Criminal defense and expungement attorney Nathan Moore's law practice is centered in Nashville, Tennessee. He assisted hundreds of individuals with addressing the problems of their criminal records, especially in cases of those with a felony. Expunge your record today by contacting him via phone at 615.346.2213 or by email through his website.
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