Understanding the Process of Felony Expungement
Also called record sealing, felony expungement refers to the process by which felony charges are deleted from a person’s criminal record. Once an expungement is obtained it is like the offense never occurred. The possibility of obtaining a felony expungement depends on a number of circumstances, including whether the charge was made on a federal or state level. While some states permit felony expungement, others do not. Federal expungement is granted in very rare circumstances, and because the expungement process is particularly complicated, it is often wise to obtain the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney who can help you through it. It can also help to understand some of the following important details about felony expungements are made.
Qualifying for Federal Expungement
Felony expungement for federal offenses is the preferred way to clean your record. Unlike with federal pardons, expungement makes it as if your offense never occurred in the first place. Unfortunately, expungement is not available in most cases. Besides a small category of offenses listed under the Controlled Substances Act, most federal felony offenses are not capable of being expunged. If you think that your felony offense qualifies for expungement, you should not hesitate to contact an attorney who is experienced in handling federal cases. If a federal expungement is warranted, a judge will grant it. After expungement occurs, you will not be required to acknowledge having a criminal record to educational organizations, employers, or lenders.
The Limited Nature of Federal Expungement
Over the years, there have been numerous bills proposed to Congress that would have allowed the expungement of a federal offense, but none of these bills became laws. A Second Chance Act first proposed in 2007 would have allowed Congress to allow a person to file a petition for expungement of a federal offense when a nonviolent crime was involved. In 2011, the Fresh Start Act was proposed, which would have allowed expungement for non-violent offenders of lifelong felonies. In 2014, the Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment was introduced, which would have reformed the criminal justice system to allow the expungement of records for one-time, non-violent offenses. It remains a possibility that someday, a law expanding the number of federal offense that can be expunged will be passed, which would undoubtedly have a substantial impact on the expungement process.
The Role of Federal Pardon
If you have been convicted of a federal offense that is incapable of being expunged, you might hope for a federal pardon. If you receive a pardon, the felony on your criminal record will still exist, but any penalty will immediately come to an end along with any restrictions that have been placed on you. Receiving a pardon is preferable to serving out the rest of your sentence, but unless you are a public figure or your conviction has received significant media attention, a federal pardon is highly unlikely. Even in the rare circumstance that a person is able to obtain a federal pardon, a pardon will not erase your charge, which means that it can still be accessed by the public and will still create obstacles in your career and education.
Speak with an Experienced Felony Expungement Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one needs assistance with a felony expungement, you should not hesitate to contact an experienced attorney. Contact the Federal Criminal Law Center today to speak with a seasoned attorney who can help you navigate the process and reach the best possible results.