Little Rock Record Expungement Attorney
Having a criminal record can affect your future job opportunities, your ability to get a loan, and even whether you are eligible for some government benefits. Because of this, many people with a criminal record may want to have their record sealed, or expunged, to keep them confidential and out of the public view. The Morledge Law Firm of Little Rock in Arkansas can help you successfully petition to expungement of criminal records, so that you can respond that you have no criminal record on applications for jobs, benefits, and for housing.
Expungement and Sealed Records
“Expungement” of criminal records and “sealed records” may be used interchangeably, but the process is known as a Petition and Order to Seal. The criminal record will not be destroyed, but they will be sealed and removed from the public record.
Before you can petition to have your records sealed, you need to complete all the terms of your probation, complete with payment of any court costs or fines. After the end of your sentence, for many criminal violations you will have to wait 5 years before you can petition to seal your records. This includes misdemeanor negligent homicide; DWI; 3rd degree battery; fourth degree sexual assault; and indecent exposure.
Effects of Sealed Records
If your records are sealed, the public will not have access to your criminal record. If an application asks if you have been convicted or arrested of a crime, you can legally say, “no.” Access to your criminal record after they have been sealed is limited to you, your attorney, the court (if you are convicted of another crime), the Criminal Justice Agency, the prosecuting attorney, and the Arkansas Crime Information Center (ACIC).
For certain types of job applications, all criminal convictions may still show up in a background check. These include day care workers, teachers, nursing homes, and law enforcement agencies.
Ineligible Criminal Violations
Not all criminal records are eligible for expungement or to be sealed. These include: sexual offenses with a victim under the age of 18; Class Y felonies; Class A or B felonies that are not drug offenses; manslaughter; violent felonies; or felonies with a maximum sentence of more than 10 years.
For these crimes, the only way to be cleared is through a Governor’s pardon. Executive clemency is a much more complex and lengthy process, and is much more rarely granted. The Governor’s decision is final, and you cannot reapply if your application was denied. If you are seeking a Governor’s pardon, you may want to speak with an Arkansas defense attorney to assess the likelihood that your pardon may be granted, and to understand the pardon process.
File a Petition and Order to Seal
A petition to seal form is available through ACIC. You may want to request a copy of your Judgement and Commitment Order at the clerk’s office where you were sentenced. After completing the petition to seal, it should be taken to the Circuit or District Court where you were sentenced. If the Order to Seal has been approved by the judge and filed with the court, and sent to ACIC, the Order to Seal should be completed within 30 days.
If you have any questions or concerns about expungement of criminal records or making sure the Petition and Order to Seal is complete and correctly filled out, Morledge Law Firm of Little Rock is the best defense lawyer who can help you clarify the petition process, and prepare a petition that provides the greatest evidence and arguments in support of your petition to seal your record. Borc Morledge of Morledge Law Firm in Little Rock is an experienced defense attorney focused in criminal defense who can help you determine whether your record can be cleared, and represent you throughout the expungement of criminal records process.