If you have a criminal record it can sometimes be more difficult to find employment, to get into college, or even to rent an apartment. Anytime a potential employer requests a background check your criminal record will undoubtedly show up. It may be possible to remove or seal your criminal record. Expungment is a removal of the record while sealing means that the record is only available to a limited group.


It is easy to understand why you may want to have your criminal past expunged. The benefits to having the record removed are immense and can help you move forward in your life. However, an expungement is not generally easy to obtain. The first step towards seeking an expungement is to work with an attorney who is experienced in criminal matters. Your lawyer will review your case to determine whether this is an option for you. Expungment may take some time to complete but it may be well worth the effort.

Sealing a Record

A sealed record is one that is closed to the public. Generally, things such as criminal convictions are accessible to the public. You have likely seen companies that provide criminal search services and the public is able to review records as well. Sealing a record keeps it private. However, it is important to note that law enforcement and certain other government agencies are still able to have access to the record.

Requesting a Sealing or Expungment

In order to begin the process it is necessary to file a petition with the court. An experienced attorney will be able to assist you throughout the process. The court will set a hearing date. At the hearing you must provide reasons why your record should be expunged or sealed. One reason that may be acceptable is if the criminal activity occurred many years ago. If you have had no further criminal issues, the court may be more likely to approve of the sealing. It is best to discuss the situation fully with your lawyer before making the decision whether to proceed.