DC Expungement Lawyer

A criminal conviction does not have to follow a person for the rest of their days. A conviction or even a simple arrest for a charge can have negative impacts on an individual’s life ranging from job applications to obtaining housing. For this reason, Washington DC’s courts allow citizens to file motions asking the court to seal their criminal records.

However, the availability of this process depends upon whether a person was convicted of the charge as well as how long it has been since they were under court supervision. Washington DC’s process is complex, and success can depend on whether the paperwork is filed correctly in addition to whether an applicant meets the strict legal requirements.

A Washington DC expungement lawyer may be able to assist with this process. An experienced defense attorney may be able to help individuals obtain the necessary background paperwork to file the motion, to submit the paperwork to the court, and to attend all necessary hearings to get you a new start on life.

Methods for Expungement in Washington DC

There are two types of expungement motions available to citizens of Washington DC. The first applies to people who have never had a criminal conviction but have been arrested for a crime.

DC Code §16-802 applies when a defendant was never convicted of the crime in question. This statute states that an individual may file a motion with the court at any time after their case has resulted in any result other than a conviction. The burden is on the applicant to prove that either the offense that led to the charge did not occur or that the applicant did not commit the defense. This can typically involve producing a copy of a criminal record that indicates a resolution of anything other than a guilty verdict or plea.

A much different procedure is required when a defendant has been convicted of a crime. DC Code §16-803 (c) states that a conviction for a misdemeanor or even a felony charge does not necessarily disqualify a person from asking for a record seal. Therefore, someone with a serious gun or drug charge could possibly be eligible for an expungement.

However, the applicant must wait at least eight years from the time that they have completed their sentence for the conviction before filing the motion. Petitioners using this statute must also have a currently clean criminal record with no pending cases. A Washington DC expungement lawyer could help individuals choose the path forward that is best for them.

Impact of an Expungement

The criminal record expungement procedure in Washington DC is called sealing the record. This has a variety of effects on a person’s life. First, all private background checks will no longer indicate that an individual has a criminal record. This can have an immense impact on people looking to secure a new job or better housing.

Second, citizens may find that applications for government benefits will have a greater chance of success and they may now be eligible for government grants.

However, this conviction may still play a role in an individual’s life. Even after a record has been sealed, law enforcement and courts still have access to an unaltered version of that person’s criminal record. As a result, if an individual is arrested for a crime, this previous conviction may negatively affect the sentencing if they are found guilty of the new crime. Still, obtaining a criminal record expungement can help people to put a negative experience in the past.

Let a Washington DC Expungement Attorney Assist

A person does not need to live with the consequences of criminal activity for the rest of their lives. Although Washington DC’s rules concerning the sealing of criminal records are strict, they do allow certain individuals to apply for a chance to move into a better future.

A DC expungement lawyer may be able to help. They understand the District’s complex rules concerning expungement and could let someone know if they qualify for the program. Obtaining a sealed record can reopen doors long shut to Washington DC’s citizens. Contact an attorney today to let them get to work for you.