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Does an expungement mean no one can see your record?

On Behalf of | Sep 22, 2021 | Expungements

If you have a criminal record, and especially a felony record, it can make it hard to live your life the way that you want to. You may struggle to get a job when the background check is done. You may get turned down for loans. You may find it harder to rent an apartment. The list goes on.

You want to move forward with your life, but you feel like your record holds you back. It’s not who you are anymore. You wish you weren’t judged on it, but you can’t change the fact that you are. Or can you?

You may consider expungement, which generally means clearing your record. If you do this and it is successful, does this mean that no one can ever see that record again?

The public will not see your record

Under New Mexico law, an expungement is defined as an act that removes your record “from access to the general public.” These are typically public records. Anyone who runs a background check can read what you were convicted of, and they can often even find arrest records for things that didn’t result in a conviction. If you have an expungement carried out, they will no longer find these records, and they’ll be sealed from the public. This may help you with things like getting a job or finding a place to live, which is what you’ve wanted all along.

That does not always mean that no one can see your record. It’s good to think of it as being sealed, rather than erased. It exists. It’s just locked away so that the average person cannot see it. The court, however, can still look into it. Certain government officials and law enforcement agencies may be able to read it. You don’t fully eliminate what happened, but you just restrict who will know about it.

Will this help your situation?

If you believe that an expungement may be the type of solution that you’re looking for, it is important to know exactly how it works and what legal steps to take.