Once convicted of a felony, it’s something that follows you around long after you’ve paid your fines, served your jail time, and completed probation or court-ordered counseling. It is an issue that comes up time and time again and can make it more difficult for you to move on with your life. A felony conviction will show up on a simple background check when you apply for a job, an apartment, a loan, or even when someone gets the slightest bit curious about you and your history. Today, many services provide you with a list of details from someone’s arrest record, even their mug shot. There are currently no privacy laws to protect people from “freedom of information” harming them via the Internet, so if you’ve even been accused of a felony, it can be very difficult to keep that information private.

For many people, the logical recourse is to look into having a felony conviction vacated, or expunged. For juvenile offenders, the process is automatic. A record, even one containing a violent felony, is sealed upon age of majority. However, adults who are convicted or plead guilty to felonies have a much harder time getting that information locked up.

In some states, the ability to have any conviction vacated is not legal. Once convicted, it is something you simply have to live with and learn to handle. If you live in one of these states, your attorney should inform you of this, especially if your conviction was part of a plea bargain. In other states, there is the opportunity to have a felony conviction vacated.

Almost all states that allow for felonies to be expunged will not consider doing so if the offense was a violent one without mitigating circumstances, such as murder or anything involving the use of a deadly weapon. Additionally, if the felony is a sexual offense that requires a person to be listed in the national database of sexual offenders, vacating a conviction is rarely an option.

If felonies are non-violent, were committed under duress or involve mitigating circumstances, or are smaller-scale offenses, states that allow for convictions to be vacated require a 10 year waiting period from the day of conviction. After that point, an attorney may petition the judge to have the felony vacated. If granted, it will be removed from your criminal record so that it does not show up during routine background checks. However, a history of your trial and conviction is still part of the public record, and can be freely accessed.

Contact one of our dedicated attorneys today at 206-621-0500 or online.