Presidential pardons are well documented by the press. Through his almost 8 years in office, President Barack Obama has received 551 pardon petitions, and pardoned or commuted the convictions of 61 of those petitioned. Along with the president, state governors, certain other state executive officers, and the State Board of Pardons and Paroles can grant pardons within their jurisdictions. These pardons don’t erase the event from legal records, but instead constitute forgiveness in the eyes of the law.
When an expungement is granted, the person whose record is expunged may, for most intents and purposes, treat the event like it never happened. Expungements are a type of lawsuit where first time offenders of a prior criminal conviction seek to have the records of the earlier process sealed, making the results unavailable through state or Federal repositories.
What Does It Mean To Be Expunged?
Getting your record as clear as your face after a good exfoliation can be a dream come true, but expungement has more than a surface layer to the process.
- In the U.S., expunction means you can legally deny or fail to acknowledge ever being charged or arrested with the expunged crime in most cases. Exceptions include applying for a state professional license, or a job that is considered a public office, or a job that is considered high security. Examples of a high security job include security guards, law enforcement, or anything related to national security.
- Not all crimes can be expunged. If the nature of the crime is considered to be too serious, you won’t have your record cleared this way. Some examples include murder, rape, sexual battery, corruption of a minor, child pornography, and serious weapons charges.
- Most jurisdictions have laws which allow, or even require, the expungement of juvenile records once the juvenile reaches a certain age, usually 17 or 18. Sometimes the records are simply sealed, but other times the records are destroyed altogether. In Ohio, most cases in juvenile courts are automatically sealed. In some cases, however, that decision is up to the discretion of the juvenile court. They also consider any motion or application made at least two years after the termination of any order made by the court relating to the adjudication, or an unconditional discharge from the department of youth services.
- A major benefit to expunging a criminal record is the potential to regain the right to possess a firearm. Some states require more than just an expungement to restore gun rights. In those cases, a separate petition is required.
Expungements may not be as well-known as the pardons turkeys receive every year around Thanksgiving, but they can be just as effective. If you or a loved one is seeking to have their records sealed, it’s important to have a good lawyer to help you draft the petition. The Koffel Law Firm is one of the leading Criminal & DUI law firms in Ohio, and with over 8,000 former clients, we have the experience you need. Contact us today to get the representation you need.