Overland Park Expungement Attorney
Attempting to get a conviction cleared from your criminal record?
When someone is convicted of a crime, that person not only has to deal with harsh penalties, but the individual also has to deal with that conviction being visible on his or her criminal record for years to come. Having a criminal record can have harmful effects on various areas of an individual's. For example, when a person with a previous arrest or conviction applies for jobs or for housing, background checks will show that the applicant has a criminal record. Many employers and landlords aren't willing to take chances on individuals with these kinds of records, even if there are reasonable explanations behind them.
In some cases, it is possible to get a previous arrest or conviction expunged, meaning the record is sealed and made unavailable in state and federal repositories. While the records will still be available in certain limited circumstances, the public will generally not be able to see that an arrest or conviction occurred once the expungement is completed. There are many factors that can determine whether or not a person can be eligible for this process. Since expungement can become very complex, it is very important that those trying to complete the process obtain legal counsel to assist them. At Gigstad Law Office, LLC, an Overland Park criminal defense attorney is ready to assist those who are trying remove arrests and convictions from their records.
How the Expungement Process Works
After a person petitions to have a criminal record expunged, he or she will receive a court date for a petition hearing. The prosecuting attorney and arresting law enforcement agency related to that person's case will be notified of the hearing, according to Kansas Statutes Annotated §12-4516 (2009). Individuals who have "relevant information about the petitioner" are allowed to testify at the hearing.
A petitioner can have his or her record expunged if the court finds the following:
- The individual has not received a felony conviction over the previous two years and there are not similar proceedings presently pending.
- The individual has demonstrated circumstances and behavior that warrant expungement.
- The expungement will not place the public at risk.
Once the expungement is successfully granted, state and federal criminal justice agencies will be notified and it will be as if the arrest, conviction or diversion agreement never occurred. (A diversion agreement refers to agreed terms regarding diversion programs that are usually given to defendants in lieu of further criminal proceedings). There are certain circumstances, though, in which the defendant's previous criminal records are required to be disclosed. For example, a court will have access to the previous record for sentencing purposes if a new conviction occurs. Additionally, the petitioner will be required to disclose the arrest or conviction when applying for certain jobs, such as a detective for a private detective agency or security personnel for a private patrol operator. An attorney can also help individuals determine various other situations in which disclosures are required.
Kansas law provides some general guidelines for the expungement process, as defined under K.S.A. §12-4515 (a)-(c) (2009). Under the law, an individual can usually petition for the expungement of an arrest or conviction if three or more years have passed since the person either satisfied his or her sentence, or since the individual was discharged from probation, parole or a suspended sentence. Diversion agreements also have a similar timeframe—three years must have passed since the diversion agreement's terms were fulfilled, according to Kansas law.
There are certain crimes, however, that will require a longer waiting period of five years. These are just a few of the crimes that apply:
- vehicular manslaughter
- driving when one's privileges to operate a vehicle have been cancelled, suspended or revoked
- any felony crime in which a motor vehicle was used to commit the offense
- Failure to stop and provide required duties after being involved in a car accident
Individuals whose crimes related to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI) are required to wait 10 years before filing for expungement. Those who have received convictions or diversion agreements for the offense of driving a commercial motor vehicle while under the influence are not eligible for expungement.
Working with a Skilled Lawyer
If you want to learn about your options for getting a previous arrest or conviction expunged, do not hesitate to contact Gigstad Law Office, LLC. We can evaluate your case and help you determine whether you qualify for the process, as well as how to successfully achieve your goal. Having an attorney by your side can help you ensure that you are taking the correct steps and giving yourself the best chance of a successful expungement. Call our office today so we can assist you!