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3 ways to keep your criminal record clear

Facing criminal charges is a terrifying prospect for a number of reasons. As you consider trial and incarceration, you doubtlessly want to do everything within your power to avoid a conviction and keep your future intact. A conviction can haunt you for the rest of your life and make it difficult to find employment, obtain housing or pursue other opportunities you may be interested in.

Even if you have had a conviction, however, there options to clear your criminal record and reclaim your reputation. Many people are unaware of the different ways a criminal record can be handled, but if you want to break free from the stigma of a conviction, you should consult with an attorney about these options. 

1. Sealing

One of the most common solutions to a criminal conviction is to have the records sealed. This can occur if you successfully petition to have the records sealed, and it generally entails removing details of the case from public record. It is important to note that although sealing may exclude your conviction from public records, information may still be available through other outlets.

2. Expungement

Expungement or expunction is typically preferable to sealing because it entails the complete destruction of any and all records relating to a crime. A court order is necessary to carry out this process. According to the North Carolina Justice Center, dismissed charges, first-time offenses committed by persons under 18 and first-time nonviolent offenses more than 15 years old are potentially eligible for expungement.

3. Overturn

The ideal outcome of any criminal conviction is to ultimately have your name cleared. There is no way to do this more effectively than to have the conviction overturned. This is sometimes possible if new evidence emerges, an error in the case comes to light or you are able to successfully appeal. In such situations, you may be able to have the conviction overturned and your record cleared with it.

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