Can You Seal Your Criminal Record While You’re Still in Prison?

Can You Seal Your Criminal Record While You’re Still in Prison?

In some cases, you can seal your criminal record. When you do, people in the general public won’t be able to see it. This can help you when apply for jobs and housing after prison.

Most people probably hope to seal their criminal records as soon as possible. You may not be able to do that while you’re in prison, but you can learn the process.

What is a criminal record?

A criminal record is your criminal history. Most of time, it is a document that contains all of your interactions with law enforcement. This includes arrests, parole violations, convictions and sentences. A criminal record may also have identifying information about you. It could include information such as height, weight and identifying marks like tattoos.

Even if a judge or jury finds you not guilty it can still show up on your criminal record. Your criminal record can be found by a number of people if they know where to look. However, there are times where you can protect yourself and your criminal record.

How can my criminal record be used against me?

Your criminal record can be used in several ways. Law enforcement may check your criminal record to see if you are connected to an unsolved case. Another way they can be used is by courts. Courts may look at your criminal record to decide your sentence if you are involved in another crime. People outside of law enforcement may also look at your criminal record. Schools, landlords and some employers may look at your history during background checks.

What does it mean to seal a criminal record?

Sealing your criminal record is one of the two ways to hide your record. If you seal your criminal record, it is not available to the public without a court order. Almost all states allow for someone to go through the process of trying to seal their record. This is different from expunging your record. When you expunge your record, you remove charges or convictions from the official record.

In some cases, you can seal your criminal record to keep others from seeing it.
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Can you seal your criminal record while in prison?

No. Usually you must have been out of prison for a certain amount of time. The state decides that amount of time before starting the sealing process.

For a juvenile, you either have to wait until you are 18 years old or until a few years have passed since the crime. For an adult, there is usually a waiting period of several years.

What are the other requirements to seal your criminal record?

It depends. Requirements vary from state to state. There are several factors that the courts will consider. One is how serious your crime was. Another is whether or not you were convicted of that crime. Your prior criminal history is also a factor.

The Takeaway:

You may not be able to seal your criminal record while you are in prison. However, you may be able to do this in the future. A sealed record can help when looking for a place to live, a new job or just peace of mind. Different states have different requirements and processes to seal you record.

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