Answers To Common Questions About Clearing A Criminal Record
An old conviction can haunt you long after you’ve completed your sentence. Even if you were never convicted of a crime, a charge or arrest on your record can damage your future. Any kind of criminal record can make it much harder to get hired for a job, get approved for housing or qualify for federal student loans. Thankfully, many people are eligible to have their old criminal records hidden from public view through expungement, or record sealing. Some people with convictions may have other options available to them, such as seeking a pardon.
Below, you’ll find answers to some of the most common questions about clearing a criminal record in Arkansas. After reading, you can reach out to attorney Pamela Epperson for answers to any additional questions you might have.
What Does Expungement (Record Sealing) Achieve?
If you have an old arrest or conviction on your record, expungement can seal it. The records are not destroyed, but they are hidden from public view. For the purposes of most background checks (employment, housing, financial), they are not visible. However, certain types of employers, including schools, day cares and nursing homes, are able to request access to sealed records.
Can Any Criminal Record Be Expunged?
No, only certain types of records are eligible for expungement if they resulted in a conviction. Generally speaking, misdemeanors and low-level, nonviolent felonies that didn’t result in jail time are the most likely to be approved for expungement. More serious crimes that included violence or minor victims are generally not eligible for expungement if you were convicted or pled guilty.
Most arrests and charges are eligible for expungement if the case was dismissed or did not result in a conviction. The best way to determine eligibility in your own case is to speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney like attorney Epperson Panasiuk.
Can I Expunge Criminal Records From When I Was A Minor?
In many cases, the answer is yes. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor or a nonviolent felony before age 18 and have had a clean record since that time, you are likely eligible to have those records expunged. You can also seek expungement if you were pardoned for certain types of offenses committed as a minor.
Are There Other Options For Clearing A Criminal Record?
Expungement is a good option for getting rid of old criminal records that meet eligibility requirements. There are a couple other options for clearing a criminal record, but they are only available in limited circumstances and function differently than expungement.
First, if you were wrongfully convicted of a crime or were convicted because of a problem during the original trial, your attorney may be able to appeal the conviction. The appeal needs to be filed quickly, and your attorney needs to be well-versed in appellate law.
The other option you may have is to apply for a pardon. For state crimes, you make an appeal to the Arkansas Department of Corrections (DOC) Parole Board, which then must make recommendations to the governor. This is a highly selective process, so you’ll want to work with a skilled and experienced attorney.
Discuss Your Legal Options With A Knowledgeable Attorney
Based in Little Rock, Epperson Panasiuk Law serves clients throughout the area. If you’d like to better understand your options for clearing your criminal record, contact the firm by calling 501-712-3740 today. You can also reach out online.