How to improve the chances of receiving expungement?
Interviewer: Is there anything that the applicant can do to improve their chances of receiving that expungement?
Adam Hunt: Obviously, being prepared would be the first best option.Second of all, it would be possible to ask for a continuance if you didn’t know what an alleged victim was going to do. You have no idea what their response will be.Sometimes you don’t have an opportunity to contact them because they’ve moved but the court obviously has the resources to contact them.You would continue with, if the other person is going to object and then bring in people that would testify, that this has gone on long enough and this person deserves this opportunity.Obviously, employers, clergymen, and things like that would testify that this person’s either changed or circumstances have changed.
Interviewer: What comes to my mind is a domestic violence dispute; would that be the same for a theft charge as well?Would they be stubborn to that point?
Adam Hunt: It’s always going to vary based on that crime but I think if it’s something that hurt somebody personally versus maybe just the loss of an item. Being physically assaulted however, even if it was just the assault crime, is a little more personal on that level, but then again, even with a theft or a burglary you’re still looking at the fact that maybe something personal was stolen, like maybe it was grandmother’s wedding ring or something.
Interviewer: If a person did voluntary stuff in between the time, could that be something that someone could present to a judge and say, “Hey, look, this whole time also I’ve been donating to this charity and I’m going to continue to do so.” Could that be seen as a positive thing? Could that help their case at all?
Adam Hunt: That would help. Obviously they’re going to look at everything that has changed – how the individual’s life has changed, what new good or bad things have transpired since then. They’ll look at anything that would be conceivable in the interest of helping the client have their record sealed.
Interviewer: What do you think is the percentage of the time that someone’s going to be able to be granted an expungement if they were in that situation where the alleged victim decided that they wanted to go ahead and contest it? In your experience, what is it?
Adam Hunt: A lot of it depends on the court and a lot of it depends on a ton of variables: the judge, the nature of the crime, or even what mood the judge is in that day.
Interviewer: Would you say it happens most of the time?If that victim contested, do you think that person’s still going to be granted an expungement most of the time?
Adam Hunt: A lot of it is just going to be based on what the time passage is. That’s probably one of the biggest factors.The other is what has the individual done since then? Have they been compliant?Have they fulfilled all the terms, if they were on probation? What have they done since then?There are a lot of factors but more than likely they’re going to want to grant it.Again, if it was something that was horrendous, that might sway a judge so that he doesn’t seal it.Most of the time expungements aren’t contested.
Interviewer: Sometimes I feel that an expungement could be someone’s race for time when it comes to something that’s job related.
Adam Hunt: A lot of times it is. A lot of times it comes down to the fact that they were denied a job previously and then they realize that whatever’s on their record is going to be an issue. So they need the expungement so that when an employer performs a background check that doesn’t show up the next time.
By Adam Hunt