Throughout the country the future of expungements may be changing. Currently, expungements are used by many who are charged with various different crimes to seal their record. By sealing their record, they are able to apply for jobs, government benefits, and feel confident about the future of their careers and life in general. However, there are some issues with regards to being charged with a crime in the United States. Under common law, generally when a defendant is charged with a crime, the crime is automatically reflected on their criminal record. This is an issue given that even if you are found not guilty or if the charge is dismissed, the charge will still show up on your record, even if it is noted as “dismissed” or you’re found not guilty.
One reason this is a cause for concern is that future employers will still be able to see that there have been some sort of issue in your life. Once charged, you are automatically forced to seek an expungement, so long as that charge is eligible for an expungement. Expungements are not cheap and also take time before they come off of your record. If you are seeking a job, or offered a job that you need an untarnished record, your expungement may take some time before it is officially sealed from your record. This could result in not being hired right away.
Luckily, the future of expungements may change. Some states are introducing new legislation to allow certain crimes to be automatically expunged, without further action taken by the accused. For example, North Carolina recently wrote legislation allowing certain types of crimes to automatically be expunged from your record so long as the charge has been dismissed, or you are found not guilty. This is great given that this is the common sense approach to how this process should work. Other states have also proposed similar legislation. With an overall country concern for an adaptation to expungements, we may be headed in the right direction. Some states are deciding this under reformation and rehabilitation acts, making it easier for the accused to find jobs and move forward in life. As time goes on, we hope that states implement these new criminal laws and that other states follow precedent. If you are charged with a crime, check the legislation In your state to see whether new laws have been passed with regards to a reformed expungement.
Thank you to our friends at Schehr Law PLLC for their insight into the future of expungements.