What is an Annulment of a Criminal Arrest or Conviction?
Annulment is a court-guided process in which the legal record of a person’s arrest or conviction is sealed from public view, or in some cases the records are physically destroyed. The annulment process involves filing a written application and sometimes a hearing in front of a judge.
A person generally gets one opportunity to request an annulment. Some violent crimes and offenses involving children, among others, cannot be annulled.
Annulment gives the beneficiary a fresh start. The annuled arrest or conviction does not need to be disclosed in instances such as filling out an application for a job or an apartment. In addition, private investigators, creditors, educational institutions, employers, and others won’t find any information about your arrest or conviction. It’s as if the incident never happened.
Annulment does not necessarily completely wipe out record of an arrest or conviction. Government agencies, including law enforcement and the criminal courts, may still have access to it. This scenario might crop up for crimes committed after the annulment, for immigration/deportation proceedings, or when the person with the annulled arrest or conviction applies for a professional license (e.g., medical or law).
Annulments can be denied if certain criteria aren’t met, for instance, the time period an individual needs to wait between the arrest or conviction and the annulment, or if the individual has not completed the sentence.
If you want to expunge an arrest or conviction from your criminal record, contact a criminal attorney to assist you with the process.