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.