A criminal record stays with you forever, making it hard to get a job, go to college, rent an apartment or get a mortgage. Even a small indiscretion can haunt you for years to come.
If you are ready for a fresh start, it may be time to investigate having your record expunged.
What is an expungement?
In Arkansas, an expungement means that the judge seals your criminal record.
Sealing your record does not magically erase your crime, but it does make information about your arrest, charges, or conviction confidential. The public is no longer able to see your record, and you are legally allowed to deny that you committed a crime.
How do you qualify for an expungement?
The requirements for expungement vary by type of crime.
Most judges will seal misdemeanor charges after you meet the conditions of your sentence. You must file a petition with the court to seal the records.
Some misdemeanor offenses require a waiting period of five years. Crimes that require the extended wait time include:
- Indecent exposure or public sexual indecency
- Sexual assault in the fourth degree
- Battery or domestic battery in the third degree
- Driving or boating while intoxicated
Felonies are more complicated, and you need to assess each case carefully to determine eligibility.
What if you have dropped or dismissed charges on your record?
Arrests and charges may appear on a background check, even if the charges were later dropped or dismissed, or if a jury found you not guilty. In these cases, you should file for expungement to be sure these records do not hamper your future.
Having your criminal records expunged can create an opportunity for a fresh start, and give you a chance to change your life.