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Is It Better to Have Your Criminal Record Expunged or Sealed?

Having a criminal conviction can be like a ball and chain. A conviction can follow you everywhere – to your job, to your living arrangement and even to your personal relationships. If you have been convicted, but found not guilty or have already served your time, it might be important to have your record cleaned up. Overtime, you will notice that some jobs won’t be so tolerant. Indeed, having a conviction could get in the way of you being able to make your livelihood. Not only that, but personal relationships could crumble once they find out you have a criminal record – looking those kind of things up online is quite easy to do. In most cases, you have two options: having your record expunged or sealed.

Expungement is clean slate, a new path – a fresh beginning. By having your record expunged, you can tell a potential employer that you never had a criminal record. And if someone tries to argue that you do have a record, you can say you never did. Getting a record expunged usually requires a specialized lawyer and involves the literal physical and digital removal and destruction of your permanent record. By looking online, you can easily find a Texas expunction attorney – or an expunction attorney in anywhere you might reside – and they will fight to have your record destroyed.

Sealing your record is another route, but it doesn’t ensure that certain parties can’t see your criminal record. Sealing a record requires a judge’s order and involves the literal sealing of the conviction using certain court mandated requests. When you’re record is sealed, you can legally tell an employer that you don’t have a criminal record, but that will not stop the employer from taking his or her own route to find out if you do. It will cost them money to find out, but there are methods to unseal a court record.

When it comes to deciding whether sealing or expunction is your best option, you must take a few things into consideration. For one, you have determine your motivation for wanting to destroy or seal your record. If you are trying to get rid of an old conviction that you were found not guilty for, expungement might be the best course of action. However, if you are trying to secure a position with an employer, you might be able to get away with having your record sealed.

Lastly, expungement is preferable to most people, but it can be expensive and requires a lawyer. Also, some states might not offer expungement – only the sealing of records. When it comes down to it, if sealing your record is your only option, there is a small chance that anyone could peel back a few layers and find your record. It can be expensive to hire a team to dig up sealed records. If your state does offer expungement, you might want to consult with a specialized attorney. Sometimes getting that ball and chain off is the only way to live a better life.