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What does expungement mean for your sex crimes conviction?

Do you know the difference between an expungement and a not-guilty verdict? Most people are not aware that there is a post-conviction option that can help those who have been charged with a sex crime -- even those who have been required to list their information on a sex crime registry. It is possible for your criminal conviction to be set aside even after you have gone through extensive court proceedings.

So, what exactly is expungement? This is a court-ordered procedure, during which the legal record of your criminal conviction is officially erased in the eyes of the courts. You could consider your conviction "sealed," in a way, as it will be officially vacated in the eyes of the law. Even if you have not been convicted, you can still benefit from expungement -- even the records of your arrest could be sealed away from public scrutiny.

Why would you want your records to be expunged? For most purposes, the expungement means that the conviction is permanently erased from someone's criminal record. You do not have to report the crime on a job application, for example; the conviction "never existed" in the eyes of the law. Most defendants find that their expunged conviction or arrest will not appear in background checks conducted by a housing company, employer or educational institution. However, this information may still be available to the criminal courts and to law enforcement officers.

Being charged with a sex crime does not necessarily mean that you will have to disclose your criminal conviction for the rest of your life. After you have served your time on the sex crime registry, you may be eligible to have your conviction expunged. Legal professionals can answer defendants' questions about improving their professional and social prospects through criminal record expungement.

Source: FindLaw, "Expungement Basics" Sep. 01, 2014

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