Sealing and Expungement
Greenville, Spartanburg, South Carolina
The sealing and expungement of records is the process of removing them from general review and treating them as if they no longer exist. The defense attorneys of the Dick James Law Firm know the laws and processes regarding the sealing and expungement of records in the Greenville, South Carolina area.
The Sealing of Records
The practice of sealing, or in some cases, destroying court records that would otherwise be accessible to the public prevents anyone from viewing the records without obtaining a court order to do so. The modern processes and resulting protection provided varies between criminal and civil cases and depends on the jurisdiction.
In general, records that have been sealed pertain to a particular court case. In some states, once the record is sealed, it is ordered to be destroyed. Once this has taken place, the contents are not acknowledged and are considered to never have existed.
Reasons for Sealing Records
There are five different reasons that records are commonly sealed. These include:
- Closed adoption birth records
- Juvenile criminal records
- Witness protection cases
- Trade secret cases
- State secret cases
Expungement of Records
The expungement of records is a process in which criminal records are treated as if they do not exist. Expungement options vary from state to state, but all jurisdictions allow the expungement of most juvenile offense records.
When the expungement of a record has been approved, all official records relating to the arrest, trial, guilty judgment, indictment, dismissal or discharge are destroyed. In a case where a conviction has been reversed, set aside or vacated, the person’s DNA samples and records may also be destroyed.
In some cases, juvenile records are automatically expunged when the youth reaches adulthood. Depending on the location, this may only occur if the juvenile has refrained from further criminal actions for a certain period of time after reaching adulthood. In some locations, the former juvenile must file a motion to have the records expunged.
Use of Sealed or Expunged Records
Once a record has been expunged, it has not necessarily disappeared from the court system. It is possible for a juvenile record to be used in a proceeding against you once you have become an adult.
If records exist that show past charges against you for criminal activity, you should find out what your rights and options are by contacting the Greenville criminal attorneys at the Dick James Law Firm. We represent clients in the sealing and expungement of records in Spartanburg and Greenville, South Carolina.