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Common Misconceptions Concerning Criminal Record Sealing

Many of the people that I speak with concerning criminal record sealing believe that sealing their record is unnecessary because their charge was reduced or even dismissed in connection with a plea deal.  They tell me there is no reason to seal their proceeding because it was dismissed and there is therefore nothing to seal, or that there is no reason to seal their proceeding because the charge/conviction was reduced to an insignificant offense (e.g.,disturbing the peace or reckless driving). This mentality is flawed.

First, sealing your criminal record allows you to lawfully deny that the event even occurred.  This means you can lawfully answer no on a job application asking you whether you have been criminally convicted or even arrested in the past.  Obviously, advising a potential employer that you have no criminal record is far superior to disclosing a disturbing the peace conviction. Such a disclosure would only lead to more questions.

Next, when you seal your criminal record, you are not just sealing the ultimate conviction or disposition of the charge. All records connected to the event get sealed as well. This means the Criminal Complaint, which lists the initial charges, gets sealed; the police reports, which provide detailed descriptions of the event, get sealed; and all papers filed with the Court, which may reveal that your reduction or dismissal was based on a technicality, get sealed.  Once sealed, all proceedings recounted in the record concerning your criminal event are sealed are deemed never to have occurred.

You do not want to allow embarrassing or disparaging records to remain part of the public record. It is always in your best interest to seal your criminal proceeding.  If you have any questions or concerns about sealing your criminal record, contact The Hayes Law Firm to schedule a free and confidential consultation.