Criminal records contain the history of a person’s background of criminal charges and convictions. Anytime a person is convicted of a crime, the court records this in the person’s file, which will contain a record of all previous convictions. Criminal records are typically public record, and can be accessed through the court’s criminal law system or through a county record’s office.

When Are Criminal Records Checked?

Criminal records are usually checked whenever information is needed regarding a person’s background. This is usually done as a security precaution, as persons with a criminal record are sometimes not allowed participate in certain activities. Criminal records may be checked for:

  • Job applications
  • Housing applications
  • Immigration purposes
  • For purposes of an upcoming or pending trial
  • Applying for certain forms of aid
  • Other purposes, such as purchasing a firearm or applying for a loan

Criminal records involving violent crimes or crimes involving a minor can disqualify a person for many different activities and privileges.

Can Criminal Records be Cleared?

Having a clear criminal record is important for most people. Clearing a criminal record can sometimes be possible for persons who request it. This process, also known as “expungement”, allows the person’s record to be cleared or sealed, as if they never committed any crime. This is associated with various requirements, such as completing all sentences and paying fines, as well as a wait period from the date of the last conviction (5-10 years usually).

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Criminal Records?

Criminal records are very important, especially when it comes to certain types of applications. You may wish to hire a qualified expungement lawyer in your area if you need legal advice. Your attorney can explain your options to you, and can assist you with any type of criminal record issue you may be facing.