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When you decide to get your record sealed or expunged, the whole process can become very confusing — very quickly.

The thing about getting your record expunged is that you’re deciding to do it. Charges haven’t necessarily been brought against you and you don’t have to defend yourself against a plaintiff, as you would with a DUI conviction, for instance.

As such, it might follow that you don’t need a criminal defense attorney to successfully expunge or seal your record.

However, given the complexity of expungement and the court-ordered process it follows, it really pays to have a criminal defense attorney in your court.

Consider the reasons below for working with an attorney as you embark on the process of record sealing.

For an experienced criminal defense attorney in New York, call The Law Office of Lisa Pelosi today.

Expunging and Record Sealing Are Different Things

There’s a fundamental difference between expungement and record sealing, and you have to understand the nuances to know how to achieve each option.

Record sealing essentially hides your criminal record from the public, but the criminal justice system still has access to this information. This means that law enforcement can still probe into your criminal record and learn about your past.

Expungement, on the other hand, involves removing a criminal charge from your record. In the eyes of the law, the conviction is erased. After expungement, you can apply for a job and not need to disclose any wrongdoing or arrest.

Because expungement is a more permanent order, it is usually more difficult to secure. It behooves you to work with a criminal defense attorney who knows not only the nuances of expungement, but who also understands the specific state protocols on the topic.

Each State is Different

Speaking of state protocols, each state’s procedure for expungement and record sealing can be drastically different.

If you want to get your record sealed in New York, for instance, you would want a criminal attorney who practices in New York and understands the procedures and loopholes related to New York state law.

Some jurisdictions require an applicant to deliver papers, while others might require an applicant to prepare an Order of Expungement to be signed by a judge. The last thing you want is for your completely legitimate application to be denied because of a procedural error.

Working with a criminal defense attorney is the safest way to ensure that you follow protocol and have a fair shot at getting your record sealed or expunged.

Lawyers Can Answer Your Questions

There are only so many online resources you can look at before all the talk of expungement gives you a headache. It’s far more advantageous to have an in-person resource to whom you can speak, ask questions, and hold accountable.

Instead of waking up with anxiety in the middle of the night worrying about whether you correctly signed and dated your expungement application, your criminal defense attorney can take care of all of this.

It’s about piece of mind just as much as expertise.

To work with a criminal defense attorney in New York, contact The Law Office of Lisa Pelosi today.