We’ll explore more specific examples of expungement in different situations in other articles in our website, but the following are generally eligible for expungement:
- Charges that get dismissed or result in acquittal at trial. But be careful: charges dismissed as part of a plea bargain might not qualify.
- Certain first offense convictions carrying a penalty of up to 30 days in jail or a $1000 fine or both. Qualifying convictions include check fraud, criminal domestic violence, and simple possession of marijuana. But not DUI- another reason to fight that charge.
- A conviction where you got sentenced under the Youthful Offender Act (YOA). YOA is open only to offenders under age 25, and only for certain offenses.
- First offense failure to stop for a blue light.
- Diversion programs. This includes pretrial intervention (PTI), alcohol education program (AEP), traffic education program (TEP), and conditional discharges, which can be available for some drug charges and criminal domestic violence.
- Certain juvenile convictions. Many, but not all, juvenile convictions in family court offer the chance to expunge your record.
The easiest way to qualify for expungement is to win your case by dismissal or acquittal at trial. The next easiest is to qualify for a diversion program, like PTI. If you have multiple charges and might need to make a plea bargain, your expungement options should be considered. This complicates your case.
The best way to give yourself the best shot at expungement is to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer who knows the expungement law and can work to get you qualified even if you plead guilty or get convicted. As with any court process, expungement requires sending a proposed order to the proper authorities to get the necessary approvals to get your record erased. An experienced criminal defense lawyer can help you make sure you get it done right and fast.
But the most important reason to hire a skilled criminal defense lawyer is to win your case…because you might not be guilty.
At Holland & Usry, we work to win and if we can’t, we work to make sure our clients suffer as little punishment as possible—with the hope they can qualify for expungement in the future. If you’ve been charged with a crime and wonder if you’ll ever get it off your record, call us at 864.582.0416 or toll free at 888.230.1841 for a free meeting to discuss your defenses and your expungement options.