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Should a request for expungement be part of a criminal defense?

Many people in Derry have made mistakes that have resulted in an arrest or criminal conviction. The question becomes whether they should have to continue to pay for that mistake long after they have fulfilled their sentencing requirements or otherwise resolved the matter. In some cases, it might be possible for the record to be expunged as part of a criminal defense.

Expungement is the legal terminology used to indicate that an individual's arrest and/or conviction is erased or "sealed" by the court. Under most circumstances, this means that it never happened. If a record is expunged, the individual can legally proceed as though the offense is not part of his or her past. For example, this means that when filling out job applications, it is not necessary to divulge the information.

If an educational institution, potential employer or other company conducts a search of the public records available concerning a person whose criminal arrest or conviction was expunged, it should not show up in the search. However, criminal courts and law enforcement agencies may still have access to the records. If the individual is convicted of another criminal offense, the expunged information may be used at sentencing. The information may also be used in immigration/deportation proceedings.

For most Derry residents, any contact with law enforcement and/or the criminal courts is a one-time event. No one likes to have a mistake follow them around for the rest of his or her life. When applicable, it might be advantageous to discuss the possibility of an expungement with a criminal defense attorney. If it is a possibility, it might be worth the time, effort and expense to be free from the potentially life long complications and inconvenience that could arise after an arrest or conviction.

Source: FindLaw, "Expungement Basics", Accessed on Aug. 5, 2016

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