What Is The Difference Between A Sealed Criminal Record And An expunged Criminal Record?
When a record is expunged, it is like the events on record never happened, and the record may even be destroyed.
Having your record sealed makes it so this criminal record is inaccessible without a court order. In many cases, it may not show up at all in a check of your history.
Moreover, you are legally able to deny that the event ever happened.
When your record is sealed, it is still kept on file by the government, but no one can look at it. Unless the state determines that it is a matter of public interest to unseal your records (Like if you get arrested again). In that case, then they can possibly be accessed if they are not expunged. Additionally, some agencies may be able to learn that you have a sealed record, even if they cannot access it, while if your record is expunged, there is literally no record to know about.
There are usually two ways to have a felony or misdemeanor conviction, or even an arrest record for a charge that was dismissed or for which you were found not guilty removed by either having the record sealed or expunged.
A note of caution: Even after an expungement or the sealing of records, sometimes criminal records have already made their way into many criminal record databases and may turn up.
It is suggested that you take the extra measure of being sure the county court that handles the records in question has them expunged or sealed. You can do this by contacting the clerk of the county court directly. Make sure this is taken care of by them as soon as possible after your records are sealed or expunged.
In the case of an expungement in some states, the courts will report that there are no records “due to expungement.” Of course this statement informs you that there was once a record.
For a list of states that explicitly prohibit the use of expunged criminal records: Click Here
Pardons are an entirely different matter. For more information Pardons: Click Here
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