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Does expungement actually help?

On Behalf of | Jul 26, 2023 | Criminal Defense

If you have ever been arrested or charged with a crime in Hawaii, at some point, you will wonder how it affects your future. Hawaii law allows some people to expunge their arrest records, which means removing them from public view and access. Expungement can help you move on from your past and start fresh.

Who qualifies?

Expungement is only available for certain types of arrests and under certain circumstances. You may qualify for expungement if you were arrested or charged with a crime and not convicted. However, you cannot have forfeited bail for a felony, misdemeanor charge, petty misdemeanor or violation charge within 5 years of the arrest or citation.

You also may not qualify if you made prosecution impossible, or you were involuntarily hospitalized or acquitted due to a physical or mental disease, disorder or defect. You also may not qualify if you received a deferred acceptance of guilty plea or nolo contendere plea within 1 year of the discharge and dismissal of the charge (4 years for prostitution).

What are the benefits?

Expunging your arrest record can have many benefits for your personal and professional life. It can improve your chances of finding employment. Many employers conduct background checks on potential employees and may reject applicants with criminal records. Expunging your record can prevent employers from seeing your arrest information and give you a better chance of getting hired.

Enhancing your educational opportunities

Some colleges and universities may require applicants to disclose their criminal history and may deny admission to those with criminal records. Expunging your record can help you avoid disclosing your arrest information and can allow you to pursue higher education.

Securing housing

Some landlords may also conduct background checks on prospective tenants and may refuse to rent to those with criminal records. Expunging your record can help you find a suitable place to live without facing discrimination.

Getting back to normal

Some civil rights, such as the right to vote, serve on a jury or own a firearm, may be suspended or revoked due to a criminal conviction. And, it can increase your self-esteem. Having a criminal record can cause you to feel ashamed, embarrassed or stigmatized. Expunging your record can help you regain your civil rights and overcome these negative feelings and boost your confidence and self-worth.