Understanding your or a close one’s criminal record, prior offenses, and verdicts or ‘expungement’ in various environments reinforces the likelihood or potential to have such ‘closed’ records re-opened, explored, and even used against an individual.
There are, indeed, quite a substantial amount of various alternative situations which will not serve you well in terms of re-offending or specialized discovery of prior-offenses.
Why Re-Offenders Don’t Win
Generally speaking, offenders should be forewarned that re-offenses and finding themselves back in court again by no means guarantees them protection or ‘immunity’ from prior offenses that are similar in nature, or might be used in general to drop the credibility of said offender and determine the most adequate penalties or charges—regardless of expungement or ‘seal’.
In fact, someone that has re-committed even a misdemeanor for the second time (especially when of similar nature), should not find comfort or expect to obtain refuge in the fact that their first or previous offend was expunged.
Specifically, individuals that have previously committed an offense in similar nature may easily find themselves facing a now felony offense for being a repeat offender. Also, individuals that have found themselves under a “Three Strike Rule” per the state in which they’ve committed an offense should equally not anticipate any type of protection or immunity from facing a secondary, or final strike in the nature in which they’ve committed their crimes.
Individuals, even if unbeknown or neglected by them, typically have already agreed with a signature to such realities, regardless of if they acknowledge or accept them later on. Often, programs oriented around expungement or sealing a record come specifically with such stipulations, as to prevent offenders from abusing not only their community or communities, but also the legal—and in turn, potential incarceration system.
Offenders should expect minimal leniency and flexibility, and likewise not anticipate any further expungement or sealing process offers.
Who Can Know?
Outside of understandably entities such as the military and government, believe it or not, even Law and Medical professional review boards have the capability of viewing expunged or otherwise “sealed” criminal (no matter how petty) offense records. With this in mind, it’s significant you consider your future career path carefully, as such prior offenses can still deter or lead to a lack of opportunities in certain career fields. Often overlooked, parole officers and the prison system itself is especially one of few government entities that can view through request expunged records, at least adult-offenses. This leads to a questionable relationship and accessibility to your juvenile expunged record vs. adult, which is a dynamic for an entirely different topic, article, and argument.
While such entities, and NGO’s, can view prior offenses, sealed or not, this does not always lead to a guaranteed rejection. In fact, like with the military, it’s highly recommended that you are honest, forthright with any criminal history, especially when it’s specifically requesting data or information regarding your prior offenses, specifically those that fall under the ‘umbrella’ of expunged or sealed records, no matter how petty, or ‘insignificant’ you may feel that they are.
Most government entities or agencies that are seeking out information regarding such offenses should be appreciated for their purpose. That is, as they are more or less doing ‘integrity’ checks of such individuals, to determine whether or not or what likelihood they are to potentially re-commit the same offense.
Most importantly, what the nature of the crime was, and how such activity or activities might cause a future threat, integrity-vulnerability, or demonstrate a personality with a ‘criminal mind’ that an organization or business is not otherwise interested in entertaining, or taking the ‘risk’ of hiring.
Being a Witness with a Record
Believe it or not, individuals that have had prior criminal convictions or histories expunged or sealed, specifically during their adult life and file, can quite easily have such records used against them in a court of law, even if they’re not specifically the defendant in question. While such a practice might be considered as unethical or ‘unfair’, it’s the reality of the power of the courts system, and it’s ability, as well as some prosecutors and attorneys, to view your total criminal history—even that which is meant to be classified as ‘inaccessible’ or inaccessible to the public.
Throughout history there have been, although few, cases in which individuals have sought out the opportunity to sue news reporting agencies, as they attempted or successfully publicized information of offense(s) that were supposed to be otherwise private or inaccessible to such individuals. Likewise, as obviously insider-jobs are typically involved with such access to gaining such data ‘on the inside’, it’s not to say that some legal entities cannot legitimately access such data on their own, given the right administrative authorizes or power—and of course, purpose.
Ultimately, how “safe’ your prior convictions or history is comes down to the environment or ‘ballfield’ in which you’re facing possible exposure. If not anything, staying out of trouble, naturally, winds up being your best bet and the most desirable route for those seeking to remain ‘off the grid’, or away from the public-eye.