Having a felony on your record is devastating. Not only can it affect your professional career, it can also negatively affect your ability to further your education and even move into a particular neighborhood. A felony expungement might be an option. With a felony expungement you may be able to have your record wiped clean.
Most requests for felony expungement are heavily influenced by the overseeing judge and the discretion of the court can vary widely. Take two people convicted of the same crime, for example. Even if one person is successful in their efforts, success isn't guaranteed for the next. However, there are certain factors that at least help offer an idea as to how positive your outcome will be.
First, what type of crime did you commit? Crimes of a sexual nature and those committed against minors generally cannot be expunged. Have you committed any additional crimes? An individual that went on to violate another law after the original felony will generally be denied. How much time has passed? The court wants to see your willingness to obey the law over a period of time so the longer the time since the violation, the more positive your chances.
Erased But Not Forgotten
Think of a felony expungement like you would deleting a picture off your phone. Sure, the picture may no longer be in your photo gallery, but it's still engraved in the phone's memory. When you have your record expunged, it is removed from your personal criminal file, but the court still retains this information. In the event you are accused of a similar crime in the future, the previous conviction will be viewable by the prosecution.
While most states prohibit the release of this information to a jury and the details of the case might be sealed, the reality is that you will typically be labeled a repeat offender. This will often influence the type of plea bargain offered to you by the prosecution or whether or not you are even offered one. Always remember that an exoneration is the only way to truly clear your record, which comes along with a totally different set of criteria, with the first being that you were falsely accused.
If you are interested in having a felony expunged, an attorney will be your greatest asset. An attorney can examine the facts of your case to see if your quality and assist you with the process.