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If you were convicted of a misdemeanor years ago, you may feel frustrated by the way it continues to affect your life. A misdemeanor arrest or conviction makes it difficult to get a job, rent a house or qualify for a loan. Seeking to expunge your criminal record may set you free.

What Does It Mean to Expunge a Misdemeanor?

A misdemeanor is a crime that is less serious than a felony. Generally, the consequences for these crimes involve a fine and a jail sentence of not more than one year. If you seek to expunge this record, then it will be sealed or erased. When you expunge a misdemeanor, you can honestly say that you’ve never been convicted of a crime.

Can Any Record Be Erased?

That depends on the type of crime that was committed. DUIs and traffic violations are frequently eligible as is simple theft, trespassing, vandalism and resisting arrest. Frequently, if the crime was a non-violent misdemeanor then it may be possible for the court to expunge it.

Other Requirements

State law requires a three- or five-year waiting period before expungement can be requested. The waiting period begins after the completion of a jail term, once all fines have been paid or at the conclusion of any probationary period. Furthermore, it’s essential that there be no subsequent arrests or convictions on your record.

How Do I Know If I Qualify?

If you want to expunge your criminal record, a sensible first step is to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. A misdemeanor is often eligible for expungement, but it can be difficult for people to determine on their own whether or not they qualify. Additionally, the process is complex and time consuming. This makes it imperative to work with a qualified attorney throughout the misdemeanor expungement.