Posted on: 23 June 2021Share
The last several years have seen dramatic changes in the legal landscape when it comes to marijuana. While not all states have chosen to legalize marijuana use or possession, even many of the states that have chosen not to legalize cannabis have passed some type of legislation calling for either decriminalization or reduced sentencing guidelines regarding marijuana-related offenses. In many cases, this legislation is not only helping individuals to avoid the stigma of a criminal background as it relates to current or future marijuana charges, but to past offenses as well. This is because many states now offer individuals the opportunity to have their records expunged.
What Does It Mean To Have Your Record Expunged?
Having your record expunged essentially means that your legal records will be sealed and will no longer be accessible as part of the public record. For most purposes, it will be as though your conviction never took place. However, it is important to understand that sealing a record does not mean it is erased. Even an expunged record can be accessed under very specific circumstances. For instance, an expunged record may still be disclosed when applying for a job in law enforcement or when applying to purchase a firearm.
What Are The Benefits Of Expungement?
There are many benefits associated with having your record expunged even if you have already completed your sentence for the charges in question. For example, when applying for employment, you will typically be asked whether or not you have ever been convicted of a crime. Assuming you have not been convicted of other crimes, having your marijuana conviction expunged will allow you to legally answer no to this question when filling out job applications in the future.
Expungement will also prevent your conviction from showing up on a standard background check. This can help you to more easily secure housing and employment opportunities.
How Can An Expungement Attorney Help?
Each state has its own requirements for expunging marijuana-related convictions. While some states are offering automatic expungement of certain offenses, others will require you to petition the court directly in order to get your record sealed. Hiring an expungement attorney will allow you to determine exactly what steps you must take in order to have your conviction vacated and ensure that you do not miss out on the benefits that this legal process has to offer.
Hiring an attorney can also prove quite beneficial if you are still serving any type of sentence associated with a marijuana conviction. This includes sentences of probation or parole. In most cases, these attorneys will be able to assist you in not only seeking to have your record expunged but also to have your sentence either vacated or reduced as well.