Having a criminal conviction not only leads to you suffering from criminal penalties, but you will also find it more difficult to find a job. This is even the case if you have been charged with a marijuana offense in a state that now has decriminalized marijuana. Because of the consequences of having a criminal conviction on your record, you will want to have your records expunged as soon as possible.
The Consequences of a Criminal Record
When you have a criminal record, your name and the crime you committed will be available to the public. If your charges were dismissed, this will be stated in the criminal record.
The Effects of Expungement
If your records are expunged, the public will not be able to see them. However, some authorities will be able to see them, such as the police and government agencies.
Some Criminal Records are Expunged Automatically
Depending on the state in which you reside, some crimes might be expunged automatically after a number of years. Violent crimes, crimes that lead to 10 years of prison time or more, and certain serious crimes such as human trafficking do not qualify for expungement. However, you will likely be qualified for marijuana expungement in most cases.
If you believe that you qualify for expungement, you will want to speak with an expungement attorney. The laws in each state are regularly changing. In some states, it doesn't matter how many misdemeanors you have. In other states, you may be able to have your records expunged if you have three or fewer felonies.
You Might Need to Expunge Your Criminal Record
Not all criminal records are automatically expunged. You may need to speak with an expungement attorney about the steps you will need to take to have your records expunged. If you were in possession of a small amount of marijuana and did not have the intent to distribute, you'll have the easiest time having your marijuana record expunged.
You will usually need to complete the terms of a diversion program or a stay of adjudication. If you complete these terms and do not commit a new crime for a year, you will be able to have your criminal records expunged.
Expungement Can Take Time
The process of expunging criminal records can take four to six months. If your crime caused harm to someone, that individual can submit a statement, but this is likely not to happen in marijuana possession cases. However, you will still want to speak with an attorney so you can complete the process in the right way.