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Arkansas expungement: Can I wipe my criminal record clean?

Most areas of the United States - including the state of Arkansas - provide a means for those convicted of certain crimes to expunge their criminal records as long as specific circumstances are present.

The advantages of the expungement process are clear: Those who qualify will not lose job and rental opportunities as a result of their criminal records. They may also qualify for certain education and student loan opportunities. Following expungement, for example, an individual can testify to a potential employer that he or she does not have a criminal conviction.

Exceptions to expungement

All this being said, there will be some scenarios in which the expunged criminal record will still "follow" the individual. In these cases, there may be nothing that you can do to keep your criminal past from view. Here are some of these situations:

When someone is convicted or accused of a subsequent criminal act: In some cases, an expunged criminal record may be used as evidence against a criminal defendant in the event that he or she is accused of another crime. It could also be used as a reason to issue a more severe punishment following the conviction of a subsequent crime.

When someone wants certain types of employment licenses: Government agencies might be able to use expunged criminal records when deciding an applicant's request for certain types of employment licenses. The laws that apply to these situations can vary.

When someone is participating in a deportation or immigration hearing: Immigration law judges can use expunged criminal records to make decisions about an immigrant's status in the country. Such records could factor against an immigrant who is trying to defend against a deportation.

Are you trying to get your criminal record expunged?

Unfortunately, not all criminal defendants will qualify for expungement. Therefore, important that you understand the Arkansas state laws that allow for expungement to determine if this helpful legal process applies to you. If expungement is possible, then you'll want to carefully and strategically organize your case in a way that maximizes your chances of success.

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