When someone is convicted of a crime, they receive a criminal record. This record is visible to employers, housing agencies and anyone else who is interested in looking into your past. Sometimes, having anything on your criminal record can disable you from getting a job or a home, among other things. This is where expunctions come in. An expunction is a legal process to remove a criminal conviction or criminal charge from your record. The convictions or charges become sealed in the state’s records, and it’s almost like they never happened. Expunctions can be incredibly useful, but a recent study has shown that they are widely underused.
A study completed by the Empirical Legal Studies Center at the University of Michigan found some very interesting information regarding expungements. The study found that for people who did go through the process of expunging their criminal records, only 6% of them were rearrested within five years of receiving their expunctions. Additionally, only 2% of those people were rearrested for violent offenses
Similar studies have found that people without anything on their criminal record received around 63% more call-backs from employers than people with criminal records. This information furthers the notion that expunging criminal records is an incredibly worthwhile process. Unfortunately, the study out of Michigan found that only 6.5% of individuals eligible for expunctions on their criminal record went through with the process within the first five years after conviction. This means that a startlingly low number of people take advantage of expunctions. The study also found that most people wait until their criminal records stop them from getting a job or a home before they consider expunctions. This is most likely because of a lack of information about expunctions, lack of access to an attorney, or distrust and fear in the criminal justice system. Regardless, it is always best to be proactive when it comes to your criminal record.
Fortunately, we at Gibson Law, PLLC are professionals when it comes to expunctions. If you ever have questions about the possibility of attaining an expunction on a criminal record, give us a call. While not all situations are the same, and not everyone is eligible for expunctions on their record, we will do everything we can to make you aware of your individual circumstances and help you with any of your legal needs.