When you are convicted of a crime, your conviction will be entered into your criminal history, where it will stay the rest of your life. For some people, criminal convictions can have serious consequences, including compromised ability to seek employment, reduced prospects for things like housing or loans, and many more. As you can imagine, this is extremely debilitating for those who have many years left to live as well as those who were convicted of minor crimes like petty theft misdemeanors. Are you doomed to live with these consequences? Fortunately, you might not be. Expungement is a provision that allows for those with limited and less-serious criminal histories to have their record sealed from public view, removing your conviction from the results of background checks.
What Can Expungement Do?
Expungement is not a “get out of jail free” card for any criminal convictions. In fact, even though this is an extremely powerful tool for those looking to get back on their feet, expungement is actually fairly limited. For starters, you may only seals a few certain things, including arrest records, criminal convictions, and juvenile adjudications.
Expungement orders do not eliminate any previous registry records (such as sex offender registrations) as well as any registration requirements. Finally, expungement is not a guarantee that your rights will be restored. For example, if your felony charges are expunged, you may still be forbidden from purchasing a firearm or holding certain public offices.
Your arrest record can be expunged in certain circumstances, particularly when your arrest did not lead to a criminal conviction or was unlawful. This includes:
- Your arrest was due to mistaken identity
- A court found no probable cause for your arrest
- You were found not guilty in court proceedings
- Expungement would be in the best interests of justice since no charges will be filed
Arrest records are fairly open to expungement—any record can be expunged and there is no mandatory time limit between the arrest and your petition for expungement. This means you can potentially have the arrest wiped from your record mere days after it occurs.
What Offenses Can Be Expunged?
As stated previously, expungement is limited to a certain number of convictions. Most misdemeanor crimes are eligible for expungement, while a good number of felony charges are ineligible. One good rule of thumb to follow is this: if your crime is a sexual or violent felony that involved physical force, you are most likely ineligible for expungement.
The following offenses cannot be expunged under any circumstances in Kansas:
- Capital murder
- Murder in the first or second degree
- Voluntary and involuntary manslaughter
- Aggravated sexual battery
- Sexual battery of underage victim
- Indecent liberties with a child
- Criminal sodomy
- Indecent solicitation of a child
- Sexual exploitation of a child
- Aggravated incest
- Endangering a child
- Abuse of a child
What this does mean is crimes like petty theft, drug charges, embezzlement, and other potentially damaging crimes could be sealed away on your records. The exact nature of your charges will change whether or not you are eligible, but if you’re facing difficulties from one of these or another form of non-violent crime, you should speak with a lawyer about your case. A skilled Kansas City criminal defense attorney can also help you present your case and argue in your favor to have your records sealed.Attorneys Jacquelyn E. Rokusek and Philip Stein of Rokusek Stein Law, LLC know how important it is for you to be able to get back to living your life without the struggle and hassle of dealing with your past. Call us today at (913) 583-0465 to schedule a case evaluation and get help with pursuing an expungement.