Common Misconceptions About Expungement
Interviewer: What would you say are some of the most common misconceptions about expungement?
Adam Hunt: I think one of the first is that if there are multiple charges or multiple convictions that those things cannot be expunged.That would be the most common misconception.The other one is that anything can be expunged, which is not the case.
Interviewer: How many expungements can someone have?
Adam Hunt: It’s going to vary. It’s going to be a combination of how many charges and what the nature of the charges was again. It’s going to depend on whether they were felonies. You could theoretically have a hundred charges expunged or a thousand charged expunged depending on if it was a single event, like part of a single transaction of events. If a person got hit with receiving stolen property a million times, they can have that theoretically expunged if it all happened at the same time. They’re going to look at, first of all, what the crime was, and if it was a felony or a misdemeanor. Then they’re going to look at how many events there were.
Expunge-able & Non-Expunge-able Charges
Interviewer: if someone had a DUI charge, would they at any point be able to get it expunged?
Adam Hunt: Not on a DUI. No, they would not.
Interviewer: What about a misdemeanor drug crime conviction?
Adam Hunt: Misdemeanor drug charges would be expunge-able.
Interviewer: What are some other examples of crimes that could be expunged?
Adam Hunt: One of the most common is probably theft. One of the reasons is because once you’re convicted of theft, most times you’re never ever going to be even allowed to be a nurse because they’re not going to trust you with a patient and the patient’s items. Another typical one would be a domestic violence because it prohibits them from owning a firearm or even serving in the military.
Interviewer: Someone can have a domestic violence conviction, but if they have a DUI they’re unable to get it expunged?
Adam Hunt: It gets a little more complicated. Again, you’re looking at several different things that could be done.One of them might be you might have to withdraw that plea if you know that it would be possible in that court and then maybe the prosecutor would amend that charge. OVIs or DUIs just aren’t one of the ones that you typically see anybody wanting to amend just because it’s probably been overplayed, but it’s been treated as a serious issue and they really clamp down on those things and just don’t let you have that opportunity.
Interviewer: When you work with a client from the get-go, and they say,“Look, this is something that I really want to avoid. This is the reason that I’m hiring a lawyer;my goal is to get this expunged,” will that make a different determination of how you’re going to handle the case? Are there certain circumstances where you would have to accept a plea or something?
Adam Hunt: There are certain circumstances where I can say you might have to try and withdraw whatever plea they may have entered into.Typically the most common scenario is that someone may have pled to something and entered into a plea agreement for something that may be can’t be expunged. Even if it can, first of all, it just might cause them headaches so you might have to withdraw that plea and then amend it.Typically that’s past that one year statute of limitations that we have to go past to get the expungement, and then you file the expungement after that part is granted.
Interviewer: For DUIs, if someone was never convicted but they still have something on a record showing an arrest and all that, could you get that expunged at the very least?
Adam Hunt: An arrest is not an expunge-able issue; it’s only convictions that the court can seal.
Interviewer: What about with traffic crimes? Let’s say someone just has a bunch of different traffic infractions. Could those be expunged?
Adam Hunt: Most traffic violations can’t and in all honesty, there really shouldn’t be a need to. The biggest issue people almost always have are the OVI or the DUI issues and those are the ones that are prohibited but I can’t think of an issue why somebody would need something traffic-related expunged but if there were, obviously, they could be handled.
The biggest reason why most people call me at least on traffic related issues are if they’re out of state, they drove through, they had an accident or they were cited for something, and then that’s not necessarily expungement-related but there are ways to operate so they don’t have to show up for court and can have that resolved and get a more favorable result than driving all the way back to Ohio and trying to fight it.
Interviewer: What do you think are the most common crimes that people have the ability to have expunged?
Adam Hunt: I really couldn’t think of a single crime but I would say one of the most detrimental is typically theft. Possession charges, even on the felony level or federal possession, of cocaine or heroin, probably are one of the most common just because they’re one of the most common charges.
By Adam Hunt