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Why should someone get their criminal record expunged?

You've probably heard at some time or another that your criminal record can follow you throughout your life. Take for example applying for a new job. If you've been convicted of a crime, you have to tell your would-be employer about this, which could jeopardize your chances of getting employed. It's for this and other reasons that many people consider criminal convictions to be a stain on someone's life -- one which may seem impossible to erase.

Thankfully though, some convictions can be dismissed from your criminal record. Called an expungement, a person may petition the courts to get crimes removed from their record. If a person meets all requirements, which can be found on the California Courts webpage, a judge may dismiss criminal convictions obtained here in California.

But why should someone get their criminal record expunged, you may ask? There are a lot of good reasons why a person should consider looking into expungements. For starters, as you may have gathered from our conversation above, getting your record expunged can help with employment efforts because it effectively restores a person's record to a pre-conviction standing, meaning an employer cannot use the conviction against the person who is applying.

Have you considered adopting a child? If you have a conviction on your record, you may not be allowed to adopt a child here in California because of the criminal background checks that adoption agencies are required to conduct here in our state.

Last but not least, expunging your record could give you piece of mind, helping you to get your fresh start and allowing you to work towards the better life you want for yourself.

If you're like a lot of our Alameda County readers though, you may not have an extensive legal background, which means you're probably unfamiliar with the process of getting your record expunged. You may not even know what you need to present to the courts in order to get your criminal convictions dismissed. Because there is a lot at stake, you may want to seek the help of a skilled criminal defense attorney who knows the laws that apply to your situation and can help you through the expungement process successfully.

Source: Childwelfare.gov, "Criminal Background Checks for Prospective Foster and Adoptive Parents," August 2011, Accessed May 13, 2015

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