How to Check if Your Record Has Been Expunged

The sealing and expunction of criminal records is a right that every American should be able to take advantage of. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to go about it. In some places, you might need to hire a lawyer to get the ball rolling on your case; in others, you might need to go through an extended process in which you have no idea whether or not your application has been approved.

If you have a criminal record, even if it’s sealed or expunged, it can impact the rest of your life. Some employers will automatically disqualify applicants with certain convictions. Others will make you jump through hoops before they even let you know if you’ve been hired or not.

With an expunction, this can be especially problematic because most potential employers won’t even know about it unless they check your state records directly and see that there’s something amiss. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to check whether or not your record has been expunged:

How to check if your record has been expunged

How to Check if Your Record Has Been Expunged
  • In-depth reading:
  • Verify your record with the FBI
  • Examine the court docket
  • Review credit reports and scores
  • Check with the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)
  • Get a copy of your indictment and discovery
  • Find out if you have any warrants out for your arrest

In-depth reading:

If you’re serious about understanding the ins and outs of expunction laws and how they apply to you, you’ll want to read the laws that apply to your state. The laws and procedures vary from state to state, so you’ll want to ensure you’re checking the right ones. 

Most states have laws that allow some or all criminal records to be expunged erased from the record books and treated as though they never happened. An expunction is a more serious process than a standard sealing of records. Not only will the records be removed from the books and records of law enforcement, but they’ll also be expunged from the minds of judges, prosecutors, public defenders, and other court officials.

Verify your record with the FBI

The FBI keeps your criminal record as a matter of federal law. If your record has been expunged, you can request a copy of the record and see if the expunction has been reflected on the report. This can be helpful because not all states and agencies will check if your records have been expunged. 

If they see that the FBI report still has an entry on your record, they may not bother to look into it further. On the other hand, if your record has been expunged and the FBI still has an entry on file, you can request that it be removed from their records. If you succeed in having the FBI remove your record, it’s much harder for employers, landlords, and government agencies to access it.

Examine the court docket

If you’re trying to ascertain whether or not your record has been expunged, the best thing to do is to check the court docket. If a judge has signed off on an expunction, it will be noted on the docket. Unfortunately, this isn’t a foolproof way to check your record. 

Sometimes, a judge orders the expunction of a record but doesn’t actually note it on the docket. Sometimes, it’s because of a clerical oversight. Other times, the judge might intentionally omit the notation to protect the privacy of the person whose record has been expunged.

Review credit reports and scores

You can request a free credit report from the three major credit bureaus. If your record has been expunged and you’re trying to find out if a potential landlord, an employer, or a potential partner has checked it, you can search for signs that someone has reviewed it, but your record has been left unmarked. 

If your record has been expunged, you may still see a negative mark on your credit report, but it will not be reflected on your credit score. Your credit score is calculated by looking at your credit history, including your payment history and any open or closed accounts. If your record has been expunged, it will not be reflected on your credit history, which means it will not be reflected on your credit score.

Check with the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR)

If your records have not been expunged, you can check with the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to see if they have been sealed. Some states will seal your records automatically after a long time has passed. 

In others, you have to apply for your records to be sealed. If your records have been sealed, certain state agencies will be barred from viewing them. Depending on the state, this may include potential employers and landlords. If your records have been sealed, you may still be able to get a standard background check from some companies, but the report will be incomplete.

Get a copy of your indictment and discovery.

If you’ve been charged with a crime and have not yet been convicted, you have the right to see the details of the indictment against you. Getting a copy of the prosecution’s discovery against you is also possible. 

You will see that in the indictment and discovery if your record is expunged. If you’ve been charged, but your record has not been expunged, you will see the original details of your arrest and charges.

Find out if you have any warrants out for your arrest

If you’re trying to find out if your record has been expunged, one of the best things to do is to check for any outstanding warrants. In case your record has been expunged, you should be able to find out whether or not you have any outstanding warrants by searching the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database.

If your record has not been deleted, you should be able to find details of your arrest, the charges against you, and whether or not you have any warrants out for your arrest.

Final Word

Expungement is one of the most effective ways to prevent your record from. It can help you avoid possible. People with a misdemeanour or a felony conviction often face job and housing discrimination and may have difficulty finding employment. If you cannot get a job because of a criminal record, having an expungement order on file can help.

Your expungement order will have all the information removed from your record, including arrest information and court records. Depending on your case and state, violations that may be deleted include:

As you can see, the expungement process is complicated and can take a lot of effort and time to complete. However, expungement can help you avoid the consequences of a criminal record. You can also rest assured that no one will ever see your criminal history and that it will be a part of your past.

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