Law School Discussion

Misdemeanor - Expunged question???

Re: Misdemeanor - Expunged question???
« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2009, 02:00:46 PM »
Expunged does not equal erased.  In most states (maybe all?), expunged records remain sealed and cannot be reopened for any reason unless you are charged with the same crime (or one much worse, such as murder).  The record is not destroyed.  We handle 10-20 expungements a month and advise our clients similarly every time.  The purpose of expungement is not to delete a record, but rather to prevent a record from affecting job/loan applications.  If you had a larceny expunged and were later arrested and charged with larceny, your record would be unsealed and likely used by the prosecution to either show a pattern of illegality and/or increase the punishment.
You'll learn about it in law school.
It is important to discuss this with your dean.  You will not be in trouble, as this is a standard speech given to students entering law school.  The reason you should report it has nothing to do with your status as a student.  Rather, it is part of the character and fitness portion of your bar license.  Failure to report an expunged misdemeanor can result in denial of your license.  The reason your dean said this to students is to simply avoid that possibility.  He can ammend your file to reflect the expunged misdemeanor, thus avoiding a terrible situation later.  It happens all the time, which is why your dean told your class about it.  Often, students fear reprisal or denial of admission so they omit expunged records and/or misunderstand the application to law school.  Most law schools ask you to list any and all tickets, violations, convictions, etc. EVEN if they have been expunged.  Many students, upon the advice of their lawyers, omit expunged records.  This JUST happened at the firm I am working at.  The attorney handling called the law school to ask about it and they explained that it was to avoid the appearance of dishonesty when the C&F part of the licensing comes around.
Go talk to the dean and explain the expungement.  You won't be dismissed from school.  In fact, you'll be saving yourself future problems.  It is essential that you do this sooner rather than later so it can be understood to be an error rather than an example of intentionally misleading behavior.
Best of luck! 

Re: Misdemeanor - Expunged question???
« Reply #11 on: July 15, 2009, 08:39:57 AM »
IANAL, yet, :) but I was under the impression that expunged meant just that.  Legally it never happened.  If you were convicted of murder, but later had your record expunged, you could legally answer "No" to the question, "Have you ever been convicted of murder?".

Is this wrong?

YES that's wrong!!  I used to work in a private investigator's office doing background checks.  Even if you're simply applying for a job, the background check will find it.  It generally remains in the computer, and it certainly remains in the hard file.  It will ALWAYS be there.  Even if you weren't asked specifically about expunged convictions, you need to disclose.  I would tell the school NOW.  At least you can still say that your attorney advised you not to disclose it, but when the dean asked about it, you felt the need to disclose.  It WILL show up when you take the bar, and then you'll be screwed for not disclosing.  The lie is always worse than the crime.

Re: Misdemeanor - Expunged question???
« Reply #12 on: July 15, 2009, 10:31:23 AM »
A decent explanation is here:

"If a record has been sealed or expunged, you may not be able to obtain it. Sometimes, evidence of the criminal conduct will remain part of the public record. For example, even if a conviction is expunged or the court record was sealed, there may be a public arrest record associated with the event which gave rise to the prosecution, and there may also be a record of the fact that a criminal charge was filed even though its resolution is not publicly available."

"When a criminal record is "expunged", in most senses the record is treated as if it does not exist. There are limits to expungement - for example, some states maintain separate registries for people who have been convicted of child abuse or sex offenses, and the expungement of a criminal record may not affect those registries. Also, for some subsequent purposes such as applying for a job which requires a government security clearance, the odds are very high that the employer will discover the full criminal history so it may be best to admit having an expunged conviction when applying for such a job."

Re: Misdemeanor - Expunged question???
« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2009, 05:08:29 AM »
ex·punge    (k-spnj) KEY 

ex·punged , ex·pung·ing , ex·pung·es
To erase or strike out: "I have corrected some factual slips, expunged some repetitions" (Kenneth Tynan).
To eliminate completely; annihilate. See Synonyms at erase

It seems as if the legislatures of some states have changed their expungement laws to the point where that word doesn't mean what it means anymore ;)

Re: Misdemeanor - Expunged question???
« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2009, 12:12:54 PM »
A word having different meanings and uses?

Shocking!   :o

Re: Misdemeanor - Expunged question???
« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2009, 02:24:44 PM »
A word having different meanings and uses?

Shocking!   :o

There is no alternative meaning to the word "expunge" which means "only partly expunge".  I understand what other posters have said, but it seems that in their zeal to keep tabs on their citizens, states have created exceptions to their expungement laws which have made a joke of the term.

Fine.  I'm not here to debate that, but I disagree with your cavalier assessment.  Please cite from a dictionary a different definition of the word "expunge" which meets the criteria.

Re: Misdemeanor - Expunged question???
« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2009, 03:46:31 PM »

"Expungement is often equated to the sealing or destroying of legal records. Each state offers its own definition of expungement, based on different rules and laws. Generally, expungement can be viewed as the process to "remove from general review" the records pertaining to a case. But the records may not completely "disappear" and may still be available to law enforcement."

"With limited exception, you may thereafter truthfully state that you were never arrested, charged, or accused of a crime. In the eyes of the law, the entire incident never occurred. In most respects, a sealing or expungement restores you to the status you occupied before being arrested or charged.
You should be aware that the federal government need not honor the expungement, nor does an expungement of a conviction necessarily relieve a person from having to disclose it in an application for public office or on some professional license applications."