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melindamusil
01-21-2013, 01:44 AM
If you commit a crime and the records are later expunged, can those records be viewed or accessed by an FBI agent if you become a suspect in a crime?

What about sealed juvenile records?

If you're granted a pardon by a governor/president, does that "eliminate" your criminal record, or can people still see you were convicted of a crime?

(This would be in the United States.)

Trying to find something in a character's background that would create a "flag" on his record. Thankfully I've never been convicted of anything worse than a speeding ticket, so I have no experience with this!

jclarkdawe
01-21-2013, 04:04 AM
Criminal records are not expunged. They are annulled. Once you change to the correct word, you'll answer a lot of your questions.


If you commit a crime and the records are later expunged, can those records be viewed or accessed by an FBI agent if you become a suspect in a crime? Yep. Even if you're found not guilty, your arrest will pop up on the computer.

What about sealed juvenile records? Depends, and the details won't be as easily found. Probably a court order will be necessary to see the entire record.

If you're granted a pardon by a governor/president, does that "eliminate" your criminal record, or can people still see you were convicted of a crime? A pardon forgives you for the crime. It doesn't remove it. Depending upon the level of the pardon depends upon the level of how available is the information. Pardons come in several different flavors, from dropping a portion of the sentence to all of the sentence to a pardon from all the consequences of committing a crime.

(This would be in the United States.)

Trying to find something in a character's background that would create a "flag" on his record. Thankfully I've never been convicted of anything worse than a speeding ticket, so I have no experience with this! Any arrest will flag a record. Certain motor vehicle offenses will also. And once arrested, you are in the system.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

rosehips
01-21-2013, 04:05 AM
If you're granted a pardon by a governor/president, does that "eliminate" your criminal record, or can people still see you were convicted of a crime?

(This would be in the United States.)



Not sure about the first questions other than what I've seen on tv, so nothing reliable. But I can tell you that a pardon doesn't even erase a conviction. If you are convicted and sent to jail, and the president or another executive officer like a governor pardons you for the crime, they are, essentially, forgiving you. Not clearing you. So the record of the crime would still be there.

spottedgeckgo
01-21-2013, 08:24 PM
Certain things can be expunged, others cant. Knowing what crime your character committed would be helpful. If it involves firearms, check with the experts on www.thehighroad.org, there are lawyers there who are familiar with how the whole system works concerning firearms law.

i.e. If you are convicted of a felony, you lose your right to own a firearm forever (even though this is ex-post facto which the US constitution says is not how government is supposed to work), but you can through a long legal process regain your ability to own a firearm. The lawyers would know the exact process and wording better than I, so best to check with them.

Also, you may contact a lawyer who deals with the type of criminal law you are looking for, and many times they will fill you in on some details for no fee, depends on the lawyer and how much time they have that day.

melindamusil
01-21-2013, 11:46 PM
Criminal records are not expunged. They are annulled. Once you change to the correct word, you'll answer a lot of your questions.

Thanks! Like I said, I have very little experience with the criminal justice system, and I don't intend to change that!


Not sure about the first questions other than what I've seen on tv, so nothing reliable. But I can tell you that a pardon doesn't even erase a conviction. If you are convicted and sent to jail, and the president or another executive officer like a governor pardons you for the crime, they are, essentially, forgiving you. Not clearing you. So the record of the crime would still be there.
That's what I thought, too. Just want to make sure I'm not imagining things!


Certain things can be expunged, others cant. Knowing what crime your character committed would be helpful. If it involves firearms, check with the experts on www.thehighroad.org, there are lawyers there who are familiar with how the whole system works concerning firearms law.

I am actually undecided as to the "type of crime"... this was just an idea I had for a small plot point. I just need a way to get the criminal's name into the investigation for the crime, if that makes sense. Something that would cause the agents to give him a second look.

Mark Moore
01-22-2013, 12:20 AM
I read an article back in 2000 or 2001, written by a woman that had been arrested in the early 1980s for dropping her boyfriend off at a car wash on her way to the mall and for taking phone messages for him. The thing is he was dealing drugs, and, unknown to her, Michigan had recently passed a "get tough on crime" law that basically said she "should have known" about the crime. She didn't recognize most of her co-defendants, was not offered a deal for a reduced sentence in exchange for information, and was sentenced to 13 years in prison. Eventually, a lawyer happened to see her story in a newspaper and took up her defense pro bono. President Clinton pardoned her, but she had already served 11 years of her sentence. She said no one can call her a convicted felon again, but she also said (in regard to wanting to become a lawyer after getting her law degree in prison) law firms don't like to hire felons, so...I don't know.

ironmikezero
01-22-2013, 12:26 AM
As Jim said, your character need not have been convicted of any crime - merely arrested/charged, and subsequently released with charges dropped. Miss-identification, witness error, etc. can be the reason. Nonetheless, that arrest is in the system with the notation of charges dropped (but there is typically no further explanation). The point is that your character and all his identification info (fingerprints, etc.) are in the database and accessible by authorized LE personnel.