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What are Criminal Records?

Criminal Records

What are Criminal Records?

Criminal Records are the recorded documentation illustrating an individual’s criminal history in the event that they have been convicted of criminal activity within a court of law. Criminal Records are kept on file within archives belonging to both law enforcement agencies, as well as judicial administrative institutions. The nature of the crime committed will dictate the applicable ‘statute of limitations’ with regard to the criminal records belonging to an individual.

The statute of limitations is a legal statute dictating the amount of time that criminal records are considered to be valid and accessible. Subsequent to the end of a particular statute of limitation with regard to criminal records, those criminal records must be destroyed. The following types of classification of criminal activity are amongst the most common with regard to the procurement of criminal records:

Juvenile Criminal Records

Juvenile criminal records are defined as reports detailing any or all criminal history committed by an individual classified as a legal minor or an individual lacking legal status of consensual adulthood. Depending on the nature of the crime in question, juvenile crimes are retained amongst the shortest duration of applicable statutes of limitations.


A misdemeanor is the classification of crime in which the typical duration of punitive incarceration is not to exceed one year. Criminal records associated with misdemeanors may typically retain shorter statutes of limitations.


A felony is a classification of a crime in which the typical duration of punitive incarceration exceeds one year. Supplemental classifications of felonies express that any crime not considered to be a misdemeanor is considered to be a felony by proxy. Felonies include crimes considered to be the most punishable, which typically retain longer statutes of limitations with regard to associated criminal records.

What is the Expungement of Criminal Records?

A Crime is defined as an act or activity that does not adhere to the legal protocol or standard of lawful behavior and conduct. Any expressed participation within criminal activity may result in not only punitive recourse, but also the development of criminal records. However, expungement is defined as the expressed, legal permission to remove the mention of a past criminal conviction from criminal records belonging to individuals convicted of criminal activity. If you need legal advice and assistance, contact criminal lawyers.

Upon the receipt of criminal expungement, the crime in question is stricken from an individual’s criminal record and that individual will not be legally-required to report or make mention of that criminal event upon questioning. Although expungements are neither considered to be guaranteed nor assumed, they are typically contingent on the severity of the initial crime committed in addition to the rehabilitation displayed on the part of the individual requesting criminal expungement.

Rehabilitation is the reshaping, modification, and improvement with regard to past behavior and demeanors presumed to be harmful, damaging, dangerous, or illegal. Upon the participation and subsequent completion of a rehabilitation program, the chances for expunged criminal records are considered to be increased.

The expungement of criminal records is not to be confused with acquittal or pardons. Expungement of criminal records retain the implicit acknowledgement that the crime was committed.

NEXT: What is a Criminal Background Check

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