Expungement vs. Sealing Records

Posted by Wayne Housley | Feb 27, 2017 | 0 Comments

If you have been convicted of a criminal offense, forever after, when faced with any application for basically anything, including employment, renting a home, or applying for any loan, you will be required to check “yes” on the blank that asks, “Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offense?” You will be barred from some professional careers in occupations that require a license.

When any individual, business or prospective employer runs a background check, your criminal record will be revealed. This is true even if you were just arrested and never charged with an offense, or charges were later dismissed. Misdemeanors also show up in background checks.

There may be a way out. Depending on the nature of your offense, you may have your criminal record expunged or your records sealed. Expungement attorney, William Wayne Housley will review your case to determine if you meet the qualifications for one of these remedies.

Expungement: What it Means

If your petition to the court requesting expungement is granted, under Mississippi law, your record will be destroyed. You can legally answer “No” to any question that asks if you have been convicted of a criminal offense. The information is removed from the public records so any entity doing a background check on you will not discover your criminal history.

There are exceptions to the rule. If you apply for the military, for a professional license, or employment with law enforcement, you are required to admit to the felony conviction, but you also provide information that it was expunged.

Eligibility for Expungement

There are certain eligibility criteria that must be met in order for a criminal record to be expunged. Some of the criteria are:

  • You have a record of only one conviction
  • You have led a productive life since the offense
  • You committed a misdemeanor
  • You have no prior convictions
  • Your offense was for drunk driving, but the charges were dropped or dismissed
  • Your conviction was not for any crime of violence or drug trafficking

Under Mississippi law, there are only six felony offenses that may be expunged:

  • Bad check offenses
  • False pretenses
  • Larceny
  • Malicious Mischief
  • Possession of a controlled substance.
  • Shoplifting

When your record is expunged, it disappears. It is as though it never existed.

Sealing Records

If your petition to seal your record is granted, none of the file will be destroyed, but it will be removed from the public record. The information will not be revealed during a routine background request. The only way your record can be unsealed is by a court order.


You must petition the parole board for a pardon. The board members will investigate your claim and send its recommendations to the governor. It must be at least seven years since the conviction. If you have not committed any other offense and show remorse for your involvement in the offense of conviction, you at least have a chance of being pardoned.

Although a pardon does not expunge your record, it may result in the restoration of some rights, like the right to bear arms, to serve in law enforcement, and to practice law.

If you want to pursue expungement of your record, sealing of your criminal record, or a pardon, contact expungement attorney William Wayne Housley. He has the knowledge and experience you need. Contact him today.

About the Author

Wayne Housley

Commitment to your cause is my primary concern as an attorney. I have been litigating cases for almost twenty-five years and have tried criminal cases that range from speeding tickets to capital murder and family law cases ranging from temporary custody to divorce cases. Allow my experience to work for you.


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William Housley has an in-depth understanding of the complex legal practices in Mississippi. With unmatched skill, he will investigate and represent your case - whether it is in the realm of criminal law, family law or DUI defense.

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