Five Things About Clearing Criminal Records

The Marshall Project lists “Five Things You Didn’t Know About Clearing Your Criminal Record“:

  • In the Internet age, expungement only goes so far. There will always be Google. But  any bit you can pare down someone’s record helps them gain access to employment or housing.
  • An expunged record can still hurt your chances of landing a job. Beyond doing a simple Internet search for your name, employers can use private information providers to run background checks on job candidates, even though an expunged record in many states does legally allow you to leave the box blank when a job application asks if you have ever been convicted of a crime.
  • Congress is considering whether to make even more people eligible for expungement. Under the REDEEM Act people convicted of nonviolent federal crimes could apply to have them sealed, and nonviolent juvenile offenses would automatically be expunged or sealed, depending on age.
  • If you aren’t a citizen, even an expunged crime can still make you deportable.Under immigration law passed in 1996, a “conviction” for the purposes of deportation includes any instance in which a person pleads guilty to a crime or some kind of punishment is imposed, such as some mandatory diversion programs. Even if the record was sealed or expunged, it could still be used as a reason to remove someone from the country.
  • If you’re trying to clear your record — there’s an app for that.In Chicago, Maryland, and Louisiana, advocates and developers have built apps to help people understand whether or not they are eligible for expungement, and how to get in touch with a lawyer.

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