How long does a felony remain on your record? If you don’t try to do anything about it, (such as petition to have it expunged), the felony conviction will stay on your record forever, or at least for the remainder of your life.
But If One Has Paid the Price– Done the Time and Paid the Fine–How Will They Convey That to Society?
As you know, a felony is a more serious offense than a misdemeanor. However, if you’re ready to put the past behind you by scrubbing the slate clean; if you’ve got a whole new lease on life now that you’ve started making the right choices, you don’t need to feel as if your past will always haunt you.
Yes, employment and loan requests will, perforce, require background checks, and you will have to be 100% truthful.
Keep in mind that we are, by and large, a forgiving society. Given a choice, and confronted by a person who is contrite and ready to turn over a new leaf, we would much rather trust that person and help them to find employment, to rent an apartment, or to obtain financing, than turn them down.
Each felony is handled on a case-by-case basis. Therefore, you may wish to point out—when applying for a job, say—which type of felony your record carries – i.e., whether a violent or a nonviolent one.
Each category carries different penalties.
You will have prepared the interviewer, who will know what to expect.
The next step is to persuade the person who is considering your application that you are not your act. That is to say, the criminal record is very far from who you are now.
Were there mitigating or extenuating circumstances? Was it a case of your having strayed from the common sense and moral rectitude which you usually exhibit? Was it just a big mistake that you plan to never revisit?
Just as the person deciding your eligibility is relying on a background check to determine whether or not to “go with you”, you have every right under the sun to speak up for yourself—in fact, you owe it to the rest of your life to do so.
How Does One Go About Getting An Expunction?
Do you have an attorney who can research how the laws in your state will allow you to have your record “cleaned” or expunged? Do you have access to legal assistance? If not, you will have to perform this legal research task yourself. It’s perfectly doable. If you Google the laws of your state, or contact your county courthouse, you can find out your state’s requirements in that venue.
If you’re interested in hiring a Criminal Attorney who is licensed to practice in your state to guide you through the process, the going rate for such a procedure—which is a pretty straightforward one—is anywhere from $500 to $1,000.00. However, a consultation will usually be free (be sure to ask first, before making an appointment).
Too, an option for you may be to consider attorneys who may not yet have too large of a caseload. They might be amenable to working with you on the charge.
You Must Be Eligible
You need to find out whether or not your particular felony can be expunged. Depending on your state of residence, if your particular felony was for a lower-level act, such as theft, you might have an easier time of it.
If it was for a more serious offense—again, this all depends on your state’s regulations—there is a possibility that you may not qualify for expunction.
Another consideration: in order for your record to be expunged, most states require you to have completed probation, paid all fines and successfully met all such demands. If you have been recently incarcerated and released, it may be possible that, in the eyes of the law, not enough time has elapsed.
The burden will be on you to demonstrate that, in the time that has passed, you have, in essence, proven yourself trustworthy: you have committed no additional criminal offense, and are currently a responsible member of society.
Too, your state will have a statute of limitations which must be adhered to: a set amount of time must have passed since your probation before you can file a petition to have your record expunged.
Finally, if your petition is denied, there might be other avenues open to you, such as a Non-Disclosure Order, which seals a record. Again, a licensed attorney will be able to consult with you knowledgeably about this.
An expunction takes anywhere from three months to a year (depending mostly on the severity of the felony).
It’s not as difficult as you may think to convince would-be employers, rental managements and bank loan officers that you are rehabilitated. In the long run, the job of convincing each and every new contact in your life that you are a viable prospect falls squarely on your shoulders.