When first getting arrested, especially if it is your first and hopefully only time there is a lot going on in your mind and you may feel scared about having a record. However, did you know in many cases you may actually be able to have your record sealed so that the information is not publicly available and you don’t have to sweat over what employers or possible future landlords know? It will take time and a lot of hoops to jump but it is entirely possible! Here is a quick rundown.
It will take some time
Depending on the type of crime, it can take anywhere from 1 year to ten years before you are eligible to file with the court to seal a record. It must be noted if there was never an actual conviction, you may be able to seal a record immediately. For petty offenses, it is usually only a year while petty drug offenses are about 3 years. If the charge is for a drug-related felony it can take anywhere from 7 to 10 years before you are eligible for a seal.
If you are a juvenile, you may be able to have the whole record erased
If you were extremely young when your arrest took place and it was for a relatively minor offense, you may actually petition to have your entire record expunged which essentially means erase everything. This can usually be done for petty crimes such as minor theft but would not be allowed for violent crimes. In addition to this, crimes such as DUI’s while underage or drinking in general under age are eligible to be sealed after a year.
Not everyone is eligible to have their records sealed
Record sealing is usually only an option for people with pretty minimal and pretty crimes. Charges that are severe such as child abuse, sexual abuse, DUI’s or anything that has a direct victim will almost never be considered sealable. However, things such as municipal violations, minor drug crimes, and overall pretty offenses are considered sealable.
You have to fill out a lot of forms
Once the given amount of time has passed for the specific charge, the next step is to fill out all required forms and petition the courts to seal your record. If you are truly eligible there really should not be a reason for the courts to turn down the request but if for any reason it does happen, you will receive a letter discussing why it was turned down and you may be able to correct those issues and resubmit.
Overall, though the option is unfortunately not available for everyone if you fall under the ones that have the opportunity to do so then having your record sealed can provide relief to let you start again with a clean slate.