There are lots of reasons to get an expunction. You can remove all the records of an arrest from your record, you can legally deny that you were ever arrested, and you never have to worry about someone finding out about a false arrest.
But not all expunctions are created equal, and it’s very important that you know that you should not always get an expunction.
There is a class of expunctions that have come to be known as “limited expunctions” and that we sometimes refer to as “statutory time limit” expunctions. These expunctions are not always worth obtaining because law enforcement can still see records of the arrest. Why would you want to allow law enforcement to keep records of an arrest for which you were cleared and the case was dismissed or a jury found you Not Guilty? You wouldn’t.
You’re usually eligible for these types of expunctions earlier than other kinds of expunctions. So if you’re going to an “expunction expo” run by the district attorney, or if you are going to a “discount lawyer” you might be encouraged to get this kind of expunction – or they might not even bring this up. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. Cheap or free advice is worth every penny you pay for it.
The point of an expunction is that the records are supposed to disappear. So you should always make sure they actually disappear and that law enforcement doesn’t keep the records. Don’t fall for the trap of an unnecessary “limited expunction.”
Of course this type of expunctions is not always bad. In some cases you may only be eligible for a limited expunction. For instance, if you were charged with an offense without a limitations period, you usually have to file for a limited expunction. We call these limited expunctions “statutory time limit” expunctions because they’re not subject to the “statute of limitations” or “limitations period” requirement of the strongest expunctions, but are instead limited to a statutory waiting period that’s separate from the limitation period.
So before you sign up for an expunction, make sure you know what you’re getting into. Learn more about expunctions on our website
If you’re ready to discuss legal representation to help you clear your criminal record, schedule an immediate consultation with criminal defense lawyer Paul Saputo.