There is a cultural myth widely disseminated in our society that once you have served your time for a criminal offense, you will be given a “clean slate” to rebuild your life. Unfortunately, many people assume that this “clean slate” is automatic once their period of incarceration has ended or their terms and conditions of probation have been fully satisfied. We hear from many people who discover that the reality is not quite so straightforward only after being denied a professional license, job, loan or rental property.
Even if you were never convicted and/or formal criminal charges were never filed, this does not means that a record of your contact with law enforcement is not available when others conduct online research and criminal background checks. If you were arrested as a teenager for a youthful indiscretion, you may have presumed that your record was cleared when you reached the age of eighteen. Adults who are arrested or convicted for a relatively minor offenses typically presume that the public record of their contact with law enforcement disappears with the passage of time. These types of misconceptions can have devastating consequences on one’s career, personal relationships and educational opportunities even when the offense never led to a criminal conviction and occurred decades earlier.
While some might presume that there is no reason to worry about a conviction of a low level misdemeanor offense that occurred long ago or an arrest that never resulted in criminal charges, the widespread availability of information on the Internet has made the consequences of failing to clear any type of law enforcement or criminal court contact from one’s record a risky proposition.
Although law enforcement and court records associated with a criminal offense may be expunged, there is a mandatory waiting period that is imposed before a party can seek to clear the records associated with a criminal offense in Kansas that varies in duration based on the crime. Generally, the criminal record for many offenses committed by adult offenders may be expunged once three years have passed from the time the sentence has been completed or the terms of diversion or probation have been fully satisfied. Although most misdemeanors and some felonies can be cleared based on this timeframe, other felonies require an individual to delay applying for expungement even longer. Level one through three drug offenses and level one through five non-drug crimes may not be cleared until five years have passed.
Despite the widespread belief that juvenile offense records are unavailable to those conducting criminal background check, they also must be expunged to avoid the potential adverse consequences of disclosure. A two year period of time must pass from satisfaction of the terms of a sentence, probation or diversion to have the records cleared for a juvenile offense.
There are certain offenses that cannot be expunged or that are subject to longer waiting periods before the records can be cleared. Because of the emphasis on imposing more serious penalties on DUI offenders to reduce the number of DUI accidents that result in serious injury or death, an individual convicted of driving under the influence is not eligible to have the offense expunged until ten years have passed. However, the law has changed frequently over the years so those who were arrested and/or convicted of DUI should seek legal advice regarding their ability to expunge their criminal record. Sex offenses are also problematic because many sex offenses cannot be expunged. Those sex crimes that can be expunged must wait until the periods above have been satisfied or the individual is no longer required to register as a sex offender, whichever occurs later in time.
Kansas City criminal conviction expungement attorney Stacey Schlimmer recognizes the importance of ensuring that a mistake in your past does not continue to haunt you decades later. Our Johnson County criminal defense law firm offers a confidential free consultation so call us today at 913-219-5424 or contact us online.
Many people who have been arrested but were never charged with a criminal offense presume that their brush with the law will not have any long-term consequences. It is only when these people are denied a career opportunity, lose their job during an ongoing background check or cannot secure rental housing that they realize that they were mistaken. Under Kansas law, a person’s record of arrest and/or conviction does not just go away with the passage of time. Even if you were convicted of an offense when you were a juvenile, the record may remain available for those conducting public records searches or criminal history background checks, including employers, landlords, lenders and even nosey neighbors. While the presumption of innocence applies in a courtroom, prospective employers and landlords might not be as discriminating when they discover an arrest even if charges were never filed, or the case was dismissed or resulted in an acquittal after trial.
Innovations in communication technology including the Internet and social media have expanded the availability of public records so that virtually anyone can learn about your criminal history. Employers have made criminal background checks an essential part of the hiring process, but current and future employers are not the only ones that may research your criminal record. Kansas now makes criminal history records available online for most counties in the state. Many municipalities in Kansas City make these records available to the public. The widespread availability of these this information makes it important to seek expungement of your criminal record before it causes damage to your employment prospects, reputation, home finance or rental application.
If you are an adult, criminal records that are eligible for expungement may be cleared three years after you have completed your sentence or satisfied the terms of your probation, diversion or a suspended sentence. Most misdemeanor offenses qualify for expungement. Level six through ten non-drug offenses also may be expunged as well as level four drug crimes. For more serious criminal offenses, such as felonies that do not involve drugs levels one through five and drug felonies levels one through three, the waiting period is five years after satisfaction of one’s sentence, probation or diversion before an application may be submitted for expungement.
There also are tolling periods that apply for other specific types of Kansas criminal offenses. The waiting period for expungement for those charged under the juvenile code is two years after completion of any sentence, diversion or probation. While most sex crimes cannot be expunged, low level sex crimes that are not expressly excluded by the Kansas expungement statute may qualify for expungement after the tolling periods above or expiration of the duty to register as a sex offender whichever is the longer waiting period.
After we have filed your petition requesting expungement, the court will conduct a criminal background check to determine you have not been arrested during the tolling period then schedule a hearing. Once the judge approves the expungement, the court clerk will enter information in the local records that the criminal offense has been expunged. The order expunging your record will also be forwarded to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI), which maintains criminal records for Kansas. KBI will contact all agencies that have access to the criminal record, including the FBI to indicate that the record has been sealed (i.e. expunged).
Once the process is complete, you may inform anyone who asks if you have a criminal record that you have never been arrested, charged or convicted of the expunged offense. There are narrow exceptions to this rule involving paperwork submitted to the professional licensing boards (i.e. Kansas State Bar), certain government entities, law enforcement and prosecutors.
If you are unsure whether you case qualifies for expungement, we invite you to contact Kansas expungement attorney Stacey Schlimmer, who can review your case and advise you regarding your eligibility for expungement of your criminal record. Our Kansas criminal defense law firm offers a confidential free consultation so call us today at 913-219-5424 or contact us online.
If you have a felony conviction on your record, particularly if the offense occurred long ago, you may wonder how long the felony will remain on your record and whether there is anything you can do which will decrease that time. The first thing you must consider is the state you reside in as the laws regarding how long a conviction remains on your record varies considerably. Whether your conviction was a misdemeanor or felony will have some bearing on how long the conviction will remain on your record as well as the type of crime you were convicted of.
Expunging Your Criminal Record
In general to get rid of charges, arrests, the dates of court appearances and convictions—whether misdemeanor or felony— you will have to petition the court to have the records expunged. The petition to have these records expunged will have to go through the court/jurisdiction in which the original crime was prosecuted. In these days of computer technology, criminal records are freely shared from one law enforcement agency to another. While your criminal record is technically a public record, this doesn’t mean that just anybody can gain access to those records. Potential employers have the right to check into your criminal history providing you sign a consent form—and those who refuse to sign the consent will be unlikely to get the job. A deceased person’s criminal record is open to the public.
Requirements for Having Your Criminal Record Expunged
While misdemeanors and minor offenses are somewhat simple to have removed from your criminal record, there are a number of requirements you must meet in order to have more serious felony charges and convictions removed. The court will take into consideration such factors as: the time between the original incident and your request, whether you are currently under investigation for any criminal offenses, how many prior convictions you have on your record, whether you were convicted of another offense during the waiting period after you have filed for expungement, whether you have successfully completed the original sentencing terms or served your time and whether your probation period was without further criminal incident. The court is looking to see that you are a fully rehabilitated person before considering your request to expunge your record.
Results of Expunging Your Record
Should the court agree to expunge your records, then all charges against you, every court file pertaining to your case, your arrest record and your conviction will all be erased from public record. Remember, a guilty or no-contest plea remains on your criminal record regardless. Once a criminal record is expunged, it only ceases to exist at the local and state level. The FBI will still be able to access your entire criminal record meaning even many years down the road, after you have paid your debt to society and had your criminal record expunged, should you apply for a governmental job your criminal history will be visible at this level.
In short, felony convictions are forever unless you take steps to have your criminal record expunged. That felony conviction could cost you a job, take away your voting privileges in some states, restrict your ability to hold public office or obtain security clearance for specific professions, prohibit your obtaining a passport or visa, prevent you from owning a firearm, prevent you from obtaining federal funding for college and can even cause you to be pulled into police lineups as a potential suspect. It is extremely important that you hire a highly qualified criminal defense attorney to help you with your petition to expunge your criminal record in order to lessen some of the lifelong consequences of your criminal record.