Having a criminal record can dramatically change your life. In West Virginia, there is a new law that can impact the way you get your record expunged. If you have a criminal record, you should know the criteria for expungement and what to expect.
Who is eligible for expungement?
As per criminal defense law, some people are able to pursue an expungement on their prior criminal record. Usually, a person will want to have their record expunged in order to obtain a new job or housing. Expungement can be made against criminal charges or criminal convictions.
What are the limitations on expunging a record?
Certain types of crimes are eligible for expungement. Individuals who had criminal defense after being charged with a misdemeanor or nonviolent felony can seek to expunge their records. However, if a person has more than one misdemeanor conviction in their past, they are not eligible to have their record expunged until at least two years have passed since their last one or after they have completed a jail or prison sentence.
A person who has a nonviolent felony conviction is not eligible for expungement until at least five years have passed since that conviction or until after they have served their entire sentence. The nonviolent felony conviction must also have not involved any intentional act that led to serious bodily injuries or involved any violence or potential violence to a person or the public as a whole.
Some types of criminal convictions cannot be expunged. If a person has a federal conviction on their record, they are not eligible for an expungement. Crimes involving deadly weapons, explosives, domestic violence, sexual offenses and any type of child abuse are ineligible for expungement.
What happens when a record is expunged?
Even if you needed criminal defense for a past offense, when that offense is expunged, it means that it’s removed from your record. Once the expungement occurs, it’s as though the crime never happened. Your record is sealed, which means that it can no longer be viewed. That means if you apply for a job or housing that requires a criminal background check, your prior record will not show up in the results.
An expungement is a great option for certain people. Once your record is expunged, you will face fewer barriers and restrictions.