Can Federal Convictions be Expunged?

 Posted on January 24, 2020 in Federal Crimes

Illionois defense attorney,  Illinois criminal defense lawyerHaving a federal conviction on your record is a very serious matter. In addition to meaning that you may have to serve time in prison, it can also mean that you may not be able to find a job, find a place to live, or even obtain a school loan once your punishment is over. Even after serving probation, you may still find trouble securing all the opportunities you once did. Many people experience this after they have served their time and want to carry on with their lives as they once did. So, after you have served your sentence, can your federal conviction be expunged?

When Federal Convictions Can Be Expunged

To get a federal expungement means to make it as though the conviction never existed. Your criminal record is essentially thrown out, and no one can look up your arrest or conviction in public records. However, most federal offenses are not eligible for expungement. Under 18 U.S.C. 3607(c), only individuals convicted of a minor offense under the Controlled Substances Act can have their record expunged. This is a very narrow category of offenses, which unfortunately means that most people convicted of a federal offense do not qualify for expungement.

Federal Pardons

When a person does not qualify for an expungement, they may still be eligible for a federal pardon. A pardon is different than an expungement because the conviction still appears on your federal criminal record. This means that if you are applying for a job, you cannot deny that you have a criminal record. For individuals still serving time though, that sentence immediately comes to an end after a pardon is granted. A pardon also has other benefits, such as allowing someone to leave the country, which they may not have been able to do prior to obtaining their pardon.

Sadly, federal pardons are not granted that often. The President must sign off on them and no matter who is in the office at the time, that does not happen often. It is important to also note that anyone wishing to obtain a federal pardon must wait at least five years from the date of their conviction before applying for a pardon. You must also state explicitly within your application why you are applying for the pardon, and include any evidence that could help your case.

An Illinois Federal Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help with Your Pardon

If you have been convicted of a federal offense, it is important that you understand there are still options available. Along with pardons, you may also be eligible for an expungement. At the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel, our skilled Chicago federal criminal defense attorney can help. Attorney Garfinkel can help you with your application and give you the best chance of a successful outcome. When you are interested in obtaining a pardon or expungement, call us at 312-629-0669 or contact us online. We offer free consultations so call us today so we can start reviewing your case.


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