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Criminal Record Expungement Expunction Sealing NonDisclosure The Difference Between Them

If you meet certain criteria as established by the jurisdiction in which you live you may be eligible to erase or hide your criminal background.Different jurisdictions use different words to describe roughly the same legal remedy. That is, a mechanism by which you can erase, or at least tidy up, your criminal background. The words most often seen to describe this in state law are: "Expungement" "Expunction" "Sealing" and "Non-Disclosure." I have placed these words in rank order according to how often I see them used.

The words "Expungement" and "Expunction" according to Black's legal dictionary mean roughly the same thing: "To destroy; blot out; obliterate; erase; efface designedly; strike out wholly. The act of physically destroying information ? including criminal records ? in files, computers, or other depositories.".Black's legal dictionary provides that the "sealing" of criminal records on the other hand refers to: "statutes in some states that permit a persons criminal record to be sealed and thereafter such records cannot be examined except by court order or by designated officials.

Such statutes commonly refer to juvenile offenders."."Non-disclosure" as is applied to criminal records refers to a court order directing that criminal records NOT be disclosed except by further court order.While each of these words has a "dictionary" meaning, that does not necessarily mean that they carry that meaning in your jurisdiction. That is to say, different states may define the same words differently.

This means that "expungement" in your state could mean the same as "Non-disclosure" in a bordering jurisdiction.Here's the lesson: if you want to know exactly what these words mean in a particular state you must look to the specific statutory definition of the word in that jurisdiction.There may even be a problem with that, however.

There is a possibility that the legislature of that jurisdiction did not define the word. In this event, the next step is to find case law (law as it relates to a particular fact pattern written by judges) defining it. Many times case law will define what the words mean in that particular state.So why is all of this important?.Remedies (the legal way to clean up a criminal record), procedures and effects of those remedies will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and the foundations of these differences are based on the definition used in a particular state.

In other words, you don't know what a remedy provides until you first know the definition of the remedy.For example, some jurisdictions will with a valid expungement order deem the criminal arrest to have never happened . Others will use the expungement order to mean that the arrest will not be publicly disclosed but that other law enforcement officials can still find it and use it e.

g. to show a prior conviction, etc.Thus, don't assume the meaning of the word or the ramifications of the remedy until you first research what they are in your jurisdiction. Armed with that knowledge you'll be better able to make an informed decision in dealing with your criminal record.

.Daniel Hall is a Texas licensed attorney and is the author of "The Ultimate Guide to Second Chances: Legal Ways to Erase or Hide Your Criminal Background" Get free bonuses and learn more at http://www.


By: Daniel Hall

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