They say a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, and this is never truer than when taking steps to have your rights restored. Pursuing a felony expungement should be undertaken as soon as possible because laws and circumstances can change without notice. Simply put, we should act quickly when working toward arrest or conviction expungement because none of us really know what may go wrong if we delay. Here are just a few of the more common reasons why people say they wish they had pursued expungement sooner.
Limit the Reach of Your Conviction
One of the reasons for conviction expungement is to minimize the number of people who can access the information for purposes of employment. It is important to remember that a set aside does not rewrite history. A set aside does not rewrite history; it is not forgiveness for the perpetration of a crime. The information still exists on relevant computer databases, and if an employer should find out about a conviction, they can still use it against you, even after it has been set aside. Therefore, the sooner you can clear up your criminal record through legal expungement once eligible, the less likely that conviction will one day come up on an employer’s computer screen.
Clean up your Record in Case you Become Ineligible
All criminal defense and expungement attorneys have stories of clients who fared poorly in court because of a previous conviction that hadn’t been cleared up. If a person should be arraigned on new criminal charges before previous charges have been expunged, those former convictions are no longer eligible for expungement and can now be used against a defendant at sentencing by establishing a pattern of criminal behavior. No one intends to have new charges brought against them, but as anyone who has been through the criminal justice system can attest, innocent people are accused and convicted of crimes more often than people think.
If a conviction is eligible for an expungement or a set aside, the changing of certain laws or regulations can nullify that eligibility. There are numerous examples of people who would once have been qualified for rights restoration appeals, but found themselves unable to clean up criminal records to a changing of relevant laws. As recently as 2018, changes in a reduction statute rendered people who have actually been sent to prison ineligible for rights restoration in the state of Oregon.
When laws change, it can affect rights restoration opportunities as well. Set aside laws can change to exclude people who once may have been eligible and the fact that the crime may have been eligible at the time of conviction is irrelevant. The criminal defense attorneys at Lohrke Law urge people to pursue conviction expungement or set aside as soon as they are eligible. If you have any questions, call Lohrke Law for a phone consultation with an expungement expert who will determine eligibility and pricing.