If you’re reading this post, you’re likely wondering whether it’s possible to expunge a drug possession conviction from your criminal record. This is understandable, considering the potential impacts a drug conviction can have on your life. The record can affect your ability to get a job, rent an apartment, and receive financial aid for college. It can also have an impact on your reputation and relationships.
Fortunately, depending on the circumstances, it might be possible to expunge a drug possession conviction from your record. But you will need an experienced expungement attorney to help you navigate the process and maximize your chances of success. Never take legal advice from someone who’s not a lawyer or a lawyer not licensed to practice law in the state where the drug offense occurred.
What is Expunging and How Can It Help You?
Expunging a criminal record means destroying or sealing the conviction from federal or state records. An expungement order directs the court to treat the criminal conviction as though it had never happened, clearing it from a defendant’s criminal record and the public record.
When a record is expunged, it is sealed from public view. This means that future employers, landlords, and other parties will not be able to access this information. However, most states allow prosecutors, law enforcement, and judges to use the record for future criminal charges or sentencing decisions. Some state licensing boards and employers may also request the court to open an expunged record when someone applies for a sensitive position, like working in a criminal justice agency, nursing home, or daycare.
Still, expunging a drug possession conviction from your record can open up a world of new opportunities and make it easier to move on with your life. You will no longer need to check off “yes” to questions about your criminal record on housing or employment applications. You’ll also enjoy the following:
- Employment Opportunities
- International Travel
- Volunteering in the Community
- Better Loan Terms
- Rental and Mortgage Applications
Eligibility Criteria to Expunge Drug Possession Conviction
In general, expungement is a complex process, and it’s not guaranteed that your drug possession conviction will be removed from your criminal record. Each state has different expungement laws, so it’s essential to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer before pursuing a record expungement.
Generally, expungement is only available if you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony drug possession. Your charges must meet specific criteria. For instance, most states require that:
- You have completed all of your court-ordered fines and sentences;
- You have not been convicted of a different crime within the same period;
- You did not receive a deferred sentence as part of your plea agreement.
You should also remember that some states may not allow for expungement if the drug conviction involved the sale, trafficking, or manufacturing of drugs.
Expungement Eligible Drug Crimes
Not all drug charges will be eligible for expungement. But most misdemeanor drug charges and almost all marijuana offenses are eligible. You can also expunge Class B and C felony charges for possession of all drugs, including Schedule 1 substances like:
- Bath Salts
How to get a Drug Charge Expungement
To request an expungement, you must usually file an expungement petition in the state court where your drug offense occurred. The petition usually has to be sent to the district attorney or prosecutor’s office as well because the court gives them a chance to respond with any objections or opposition. The court also allows you to submit any evidence or legal arguments in favor of expungement.
After filing the petition, the court will review the matter and decide whether to grant it. You may have to appear in court for a hearing on your expungement request. If the court grants your petition, it will issue an expungement order that officially removes the criminal conviction from your record. Hiring a lawyer from Graystar Legal who is experienced in criminal expungement law can significantly increase your chances of success.
How an Expungement Lawyer Can Help
An expungement lawyer can provide invaluable help in the petitioning process. It’s important to understand that a drug possession conviction is not automatically sealed or expunged. You must get an order from the court to make it official. An attorney can help you understand your state’s eligibility criteria, file the proper paperwork, and make a convincing argument for your expungement.
An experienced criminal defense lawyer can also help you understand what happens after an expungement. In most states, expungement does not erase the conviction from your record. It simply seals it so that no one can access it without a court order. An expungement lawyer can explain what areas of your life may still be affected by your criminal record and help you navigate any remaining restrictions.
If you have been convicted of a drug possession crime, you should consider exploring the possibility of expungement. With an experienced lawyer on your side, it’s possible to have your record sealed and move on with your life.
Frequently Asked Question
How long do you have to wait to expunge drug possession conviction?
The time you have to wait to pursue an expungement depends on the state in which you were convicted. Most states require a waiting period of two to five years before you can file a petition for expungement. You should consult a lawyer in your state to determine the timeframe for expungement.
Can all drug charges be expunged?
No, not all drug charges are eligible for expungement. Most misdemeanors and marijuana offenses are usually eligible for expungement, but some states may not allow for expungement if the drug conviction involved the sale, trafficking, or manufacturing of drugs.
Will an expungement erase my record?
No, expungement does not erase your record. In most states, it simply seals the conviction so that no one can access it without a court order. An expungement lawyer can explain what areas of your life may still be affected by your criminal record and help you navigate any remaining restrictions.