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Removing the scarlet letter: when record sealing makes sense

It's one matter for a person to be criminally sentenced following conviction for an unlawful offense and to dutifully comply with all the imposed conditions.

It's quite another when the criminal charges resulting in a conviction continue to haunt that individual for many years following a sentence discharge.

Most people flatly know that a conviction carries a stigma and can result in penalties that last long after a person has atoned for a criminal offense and simply wants to live life in a meaningful and productive fashion.

A criminal record can bar an individual from seeking certain job opportunities. It can subtly -- or even overtly -- slam the door on employment that seems both suitable and obtainable, and it can result in comparatively lowered pay for a lifetime.

Criminal expungement and record sealing can serve as catalysts in select instances allowing for the removal of a post-conviction stigma that unfairly punishes an ex-offender in California or elsewhere.

As noted in a recent Bloomberg article discussing that subject matter, it is both rational and fair to provide many Americans with the second chance afforded by expungement or sealing, especially those "whose crimes were nonviolent and committed long ago."

Indeed, a reform movement of sorts seems evident in many states across the country, driven by commonplace logic and a public acknowledgment that equity demands sealing or expunging in many cases.

It especially seems an imperative to assist prior offenders whose convictions were one-time-only affairs committed without violence. Many drug offenses fit that bill, as do a number of misdemeanors generally.

A California resident seeking information on record sealing or expungement might reasonably want to contact a proven criminal defense attorney who has demonstrated experience helping clients mitigate the effects of extant criminal records.

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