Featured News 2020 Who Can Still See an Expunged Criminal Record?

Who Can Still See an Expunged Criminal Record?

If you have gotten a criminal record expunged, then this means you can honestly say, "No," to the question of whether or not you have been convicted of a crime. This can be wonderfully freeing, especially when you apply for jobs. Your criminal record no longer burdens your reputation, and a past offense won’t haunt you years later when you need a job, a mortgage, or a loan.

That is, except in very specific cases.

Unfortunately, circumstances still exist wherein certain people can access an expunged criminal case. The first of such circumstance is if you need to expunge another criminal offense. Most states will only let you seal one record. If you have already done this, then you will probably not be eligible to get another record expunged.

Prosecutors also have access to your complete records if you’re arrested in the future. Even if the court expunges your record, prosecutors can access it if you face new charges. Even a misdemeanor charge of petty theft can transform into a felony charge if you have a previous petty theft conviction—expunged or not.

Do Expunged Cases Affect Sentencing?

A previous conviction, even if sealed, can still survive to affect any future sentencing as well. Repeat offenders often face aggravated penalties. Both judges and prosecutors can see any record of previous convictions, which can factor into your sentence. Defendants with a previously sealed offense may still lose their ability to get probation, for example. If the expunged record was for a felony conviction, then this record affects sentencing under a Three Strikes law.

Other Court Uses of Expunged Records

A sealed or expunged criminal record can reappear in court in other instances too. If you ever serve as a witness in court, the other side's lawyer might be able to bring up an expunged record if he or she wants to discredit your testimony. Felony convictions can be presented to the jury so as to taint any information you might provide.

In most states, crimes of "moral turpitude" can be uncovered in court, regardless of expungement.

These crimes include:

  • Murder
  • Manslaughter
  • Rape
  • Kidnapping
  • Robbery
  • Fraud
  • Conspiracy to commit such crimes

The Use of Expunged Records in Civil Court & Government

Expunged records can be uncovered in civil cases as well. For instance, could you sue a newspaper for libel if it published that you had previously been convicted of a crime? If you have been convicted, but that conviction has since been expunged, then courts will vary on how they view this situation. This can make for a strange ruling if a court first sealed the offense, and then affirmed that the offense had occurred when the matter is brought up for a libel suit.

Also, getting a record sealed will not necessarily open up every job opportunity. If you want to work for the federal or state government, a potential employer would be able to see a sealed criminal conviction. Your record could also reappear during a criminal investigation.

Other situations where your sealed conviction would be visible:

  • Teaching jobs
  • Security guard post
  • Applying to work in law enforcement
  • Applying to get a handgun

While getting your record expunged can free up your future in a myriad of ways, a conviction can never be thoroughly undone through expungement—especially if you’d like to work in government. The best way to avoid these detriments to your future is to avoid conviction in the first place. If you face criminal charges, you need an experienced advocate in your corner. A strong defense attorney would be able to help you protect your rights and increase your odds of getting your case dismissed, your charges dropped, or a full acquittal.

Find a seasoned and proven criminal defense attorney in our directory today!

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