Criminal record expungement: a life-rebuilding tool

| May 19, 2021 | Criminal defense |

Can even a one-time-only and nonviolent criminal offense have lasting adverse consequences for a charged and convicted individual?

Legions of Bay Area and other Northern California residents know from personal experience that it can. And they are in good faith trying to stop an ongoing cycle of downsides that recurrently feature in the wake of a negative experience with law enforcers.

Here’s a scenario. Imagine that you acted on impulse as a young adult and shoplifted an item from a local store. You were caught and convicted on that charge and duly complied with all exactions imposed on you. Following that compliance, you deemed the matter closed and a lesson well learned.

Unfortunately, the lesson continues to play out. You are duly qualified for the jobs you apply for, but never score desired employment. Or maybe it’s the case that prospective landlords routinely drop the apartment keys into the hands of other rental applicants. Perhaps you routinely fall short on scholarship opportunities or can never gain admittance to select schools or training programs.

What’s going on?

Criminal records: the consequences can be stark and long-term

What’s playing out in the above hypotheticals is obvious. The bottom line is that some brushes with the law yield enduring downsides, a point underscored in one legal overview of the criminal record process. That source duly notes that that, “A criminal conviction can remain on your record indefinitely, making it hard to find a job, get into college or adopt a child.”

Many persons with a record blemish – even, as noted above, relevant to an arguably minor offense – deal with those and additional challenges. Is there a proactive strategy they can employ to make things better and to secure the fresh start that is a bedrock expectation of the American legal system?

Spotlighting California criminal record expungement

One proven Northern California criminal defense source candidly poses this question: “What happens if your past isn’t completely unblemished?”

For many people who qualify for eligibility, the answer is engagement with the state’s criminal record expungement process. An experienced criminal defense legal team can help an individual take steps to retroactively set aside a conviction or, in some instances, seal and materially safeguard negative information from public purview.

The upsides of that are many and varied, although they are not routinely realized in a quick or easy manner. The above-cited California legal source notes that many individuals find the laws and linked process involving expungement to be “complex and confusing.”

Seasoned and empathetic criminal defense attorneys can help clarify the process and guide a client seeking to apply for and secure the meaningful benefits of expungement/record sealing.