Do Arrest Records Disappear?

Arrest Records Disappear

Around 1 in 3 people have criminal records. Many people commit minor crimes when they’re younger. However, others are habitual offenders, repeatedly committing crimes. 

Unfortunately, having a criminal record is a problem. It can embarrass you when you fill out applications. In addition, it can prevent you from getting jobs or renting apartments.

If you’re tired of having a criminal record, you might wonder if your arrest records will ever disappear. If so, when will this happen? 

The answer varies, but you can learn more by reading this guide. 

Problems Posed by Having a Criminal Record 

People and businesses run background checks to learn about a person’s criminal record.

For example, a landlord runs one before approving a tenant’s application to rent. A business owner might run one before hiring someone for an available job position. Colleges and other entities also run these. 

A criminal record report doesn’t show dropped charges. That’s because the court doesn’t hold these against you. However, the report will show all your convicted charges.

Employers, businesses, and landlords might deny the service if they see activity on your report. For example, a landlord might reject your application and choose another tenant. 

Thus, you’ll feel nervous each time you need a background check. After all, whoever views your background report could see your criminal charges. 

It Varies by Background Check Type

There are different types of background checks. Of course, some are more comprehensive than others.

The most comprehensive report is the type law enforcement use for hiring purposes. Before a government entity, such as the FBI, hires a person, they’ll perform an in-depth background check.

This background check will reveal everything about your criminal history. It might even show dropped charges. Additionally, it lists expunged crimes. 

Most landlords and employers hire credit reporting agencies to provide criminal history reports. These agencies offer thorough screenings, but the reports might show only some crimes.

In addition, these reports won’t show dropped charges or expunged charges. 

There are also other types of criminal background checks. For example, you can perform a statewide or national check. These likely show more details than a credit reporting report will show.

The bottom line is that the information appearing on your background check depends on the type.

Depends on the Criminal Charges

There are hundreds of criminal charges. Some charges are less serious than others. For example, a misdemeanor is not as serious as a felony.

Thus, the time it stays on your record depends on the type. For example, human trafficking charges are more severe than theft charges. While you can get arrested for both, the consequences are different.

You’re more likely to spend years in jail for a human trafficking charge. But, conversely, you might only spend one night in jail for petty theft charges. 

Thus, the type of charge affects your ability to clear an arrest from your record. 

It’s also vital to know that landlords and business owners view charges differently.

They might instantly deny your application if you have murder charges. However, they might approve your application if you have a DUI from years ago.

Generally speaking, criminal charges stay on a person’s record permanently. However, expungement is a process that removes them. 

Automatic Expungement Occurs in Some Cases

Michigan law provides automatic expungements for some criminal charges. However, this is only true for some charges. Thus, automatic expungement affects how long a crime stays on your record. 

Automatic expungement removes a criminal charge from a person’s record after a stated timeframe.

For example, automatic expungement removes up to four misdemeanors per person. But this only occurs seven years after the person’s sentencing.

It’s important to understand what expungement means. First, expungement is a legal process that removes a criminal charge. 

Expungement doesn’t mean the person didn’t commit the crime. It simply removes the charge from the person’s record. However, an expunged crime can still appear on law enforcement background checks. 

Expunged crimes do not show up on other background checks. Additionally, when the court expunges a crime, you won’t have to reveal the charges.

For example, an application might ask if you were ever charged with a felony or misdemeanor. After expungement, you can legally answer “no” to these questions. 

You Can Apply for Expungement

You can also apply for expungement if you’re serious about having a clean criminal record. You can take this step if the charges don’t qualify for automatic expungement. 

However, you can also apply for expungement if your charges offer automatic expungement. You might be able to remove the charges faster if you apply for it.

For example, do you want to get a DUI expunged? If so, you must make sure you qualify. Then, you must follow the necessary legal procedures.

The main factor for qualifying is waiting for five years. You can’t expunge a DUI before five years. Additionally, you likely can’t expunge a DUI charge if you have more than one. 

The legal process for expungement begins with hiring a criminal lawyer. Criminal lawyers assist with this process often. Thus, they know the appropriate steps.

The primary step is petitioning the court for expungement. The court will schedule a hearing for the matter. The presiding judge will determine if you qualify for the expungement.

The judge looks at the criminal charges, the date, and your criminal record. If you meet the legal requirements, the judge will offer an expunged DUI. When that happens, the charges disappear from your record. 

Get Rid of Your Arrest Records With Expungement

Do you want to have a clean criminal history? If so, you might qualify for expungement to remove your arrest records. If you do, your criminal background check will come up clean. 

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