It’s no secret that being addicted to a substance begins to take control at some point. The addict gets past the point of recreational use and moves into the category of abuse. Before long, he moves swiftly and quietly into the realm of addiction. Once a person is addicted to (insert substance here,) he will do anything to quench that craving. The addiction has such a hold that the person will demolish relationships, often hurting the ones closest to him the most. An addict will do anything to extinguish the fire that burns in him until reaches the next fix. Addicts and alcoholics live for chasing the fix. Inevitably, legal issues arise and that pristine criminal history is now blemished for life.
Fast forward to today. That same person completed detox and rehab. He has been able to remain drug and alcohol free. He has made a fresh start and is ready to transition into society by getting a job and a place to live. However, with a felony on his criminal record, this has proven to be impossible. Felonies related to drug and alcohol addiction are often removed (expunged) from criminal histories if they are eligible and if the person goes through the somewhat easy legal process.
This is for informational purposes only. It is in no way meant to be legal advice. Further, each state has its own set of requirements for expungement. Check with your attorney or your courthouse for details.
The ability to remove a felony from your record is there for people who are likely to have no continued issues with arrests and/or convictions. These people are usually first time offenders, people under the age of 18 at the time of conviction, people whose convictions were in regards to a drug offense, and for people that have already served their sentence. The ideal candidate for expungement is usually someone who got into legal trouble because of their addiction, but they successfully completed a treatment program and are now ready to move on with a fresh start. Having a conviction on their criminal record will impede their efforts at a healthy life. Many employers won’t hire someone unless their record is clean and many landlords will not rent to someone without a clean record. In most of these cases, the court understands that you are unlikely to get into more legal trouble and will remove the mark from your record. Go to your state’s court website to find out the specific steps you need to take in order to have your record clean again.
One last note: There is a difference between getting your record expunged and having your record sealed. It will help to know the difference. A sealed record will have an indication that a conviction took place but no details will be available to the public. However, having your record expunged will remove the conviction completely from the public’s eye view. This is more of a clean slate as opposed to your slate being more private instead.