Expunging Criminal Records

Expunging Criminal Records

Web sites and other resources that provide assistance on expunging, sealing or clearing criminal records. Please note we make no recommendation about any of these sites or the companies mentioned.
These sites are listed for your convenience only.

For more information concerning expunging and sealing criminal records: Click Here

In the case of expungement in some states, the court will report that there are no records “due to expungement.” Of course this statement at least informs you that there was once a record. However it becomes illegal to attempt to determine what the record was for originally. As a result, the following thirteen states explicitly prohibit the consideration of expunged or sealed records:

California
Colorado
Connecticut

Florida (There are some exceptions.)
Hawaii
Illinois
Kansas
Ohio
(Employers are prohibited from inquiring about job applicants’ juvenile arrest records that have been expunged.)

Oklahoma
Oregon (Employers cannot refuse to hire based upon a juvenile record that has been expunged.)
Rhode Island
Texas
Virginia

There are a few additional states that, while not explicitly prohibiting employers from reviewing the records, do allow job applicants to “lawfully deny or fail to acknowledge” sealed or expunged records. It is possible, and in some cases likely, that an employer who refuses employment based on expunged records would be challenged in court. Most CRAs or Employment Screening Vendors will suppress notations regarding sealed or expunged records to limit your liability in these cases.

Brian Poe, founder and CEO of ClearMyRecord.com, said the use of background checks to disqualify job candidates and dismiss current employees has become so widespread that it may be time for Congress to enact a Fair Criminal Record Reporting Act. “A criminal record shouldn’t be a life sentence,” Poe told us. But with electronic databases that now routinely reach back to the sixties and even earlier, “something you did 20 years ago will hurt you today,” he adds.  Poe founded ClearMyRecord.com in 1999 to help individuals remove or seal criminal and arrest records and get mention of them removed from electronic databases. The site won’t help people whose arrest involved a sex charge or a minor, but it has helped thousands of others, including, the company reports, one person who won a presidential pardon this year.

 Poe says his clients aren’t hardcore or career criminals, since states won’t permit them to clean their records. Most, he said, are minor offenders who made a mistake.

Typical, said Poe, is the case of a former police officer who was arrested for writing bad checks 18 years ago during a nasty divorce. The arrest has prevented the man’s hiring by other departments despite a clean record and steady employment in private security.

In another case, a career postal worker was fired after a periodic background check turned up his 1962 conviction for assault in connection with a Texas bar brawl.

It doesn’t take a felony or even a conviction to give someone a record. “These companies,” Poe said, referring to database firms that buy criminal and arrest records directly from the nation’s 50 states and 3,100 counties, “get all the records then resell them to smaller companies. Employers use these services and don’t (distinguish between) an arrest or a conviction.”

Because ClearMyRecord can’t help everyone convicted of a crime, Poe started Hard2Hire.org as a non-profit job service for ex-offenders. Since launching in June the site has grown to about 2,000 weekly visitors and, says Poe, several companies have agreed to consider hiring ex-offenders.

Poe explains that many companies with blanket policies against hiring ex-offenders may be willing to modify them in certain cases. “We go straight to employers and ask them about their policy,” he said, describing a give-and-take in which he’ll search for the threshold — say a 5- or 10-year-old property crime and clean record since — where a company might relent.

“We see this all the time,” Poe said, “where an old conviction is holding someone back. We need a Fair Criminal Record Reporting Act like the Fair Credit Reporting Act to keep one mistake from being a life sentence.”

Employees has become so widespread that it may be time for Congress to enact a Fair Criminal Record Reporting Act.

“A criminal record shouldn’t be a life sentence,” Poe told us. But with electronic databases that now routinely reach back to the sixties and even earlier, “something you did 20 years ago will hurt you today,” he adds.

Poe founded ClearMyRecord.com in 1999 to help individuals remove or seal criminal and arrest records and get mention of them removed from electronic databases. The site won’t help people whose arrest involved a sex charge or a minor, but it has helped thousands of others, including, the company reports, one person who won a presidential pardon this year.

Poe says his clients aren’t hardcore or career criminals, since states won’t permit them to clean their records. Most, he said, are minor offenders who made a mistake.Typical, said Poe, is the case of a former police officer who was arrested for writing bad checks 18 years ago during a nasty divorce. The arrest has prevented the man’s hiring by other departments despite a clean record and steady employment in private security.In another case, a career postal worker was fired after a periodic background check turned up his 1962 conviction for assault in connection with a Texas bar brawl.

It doesn’t take a felony or even a conviction to give someone a record. “These companies,” Poe said, referring to database firms that buy criminal and arrest records directly from the nation’s 50 states and 3,100 counties, “get all the records then resell them to smaller companies. Employers use these services and don’t (distinguish between) an arrest or a conviction.”

Because ClearMyRecord can’t help everyone convicted of a crime, Poe started Hard2Hire.org as a non-profit job service for ex-offenders. Since launching in June the site has grown to about 2,000 weekly visitors and, says Poe, several companies have agreed to consider hiring ex-offenders.

Poe explains that many companies with blanket policies against hiring ex-offenders may be willing to modify them in certain cases. “We go straight to employers and ask them about their policy,” he said, describing a give-and-take in which he’ll search for the threshold — say a 5- or 10-year-old property crime and clean record since — where a company might relent.

“We see this all the time,” Poe said, “where an old conviction is holding someone back. We need a Fair Criminal Record Reporting Act like the Fair Credit Reporting Act to keep one mistake from being a life sentence.”

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