A criminal record contains a person’s criminal history. It is generally used by potential employers, lenders etc. to assess his or her trustworthiness. Criminal records may also include traffic offenses such as speeding and drunk-driving unless the records are expunged.
Expungement is the process of legally destroying, obliterating or striking out records or information in files, computers and other depositories relating to criminal charges. In the United States, the law relating to expungement of criminal records varies by states. Many types of offenses may be expunged, ranging from parking fines to felonies. In general, once sealed or expunged, all records of an arrest and/or subsequent court case are removed from the public record, and the individual may legally deny or fail to acknowledge ever having been arrested for or charged with any crime which has been expunged. However, when applying for a state professional license or job that is considered a public office or high security (e.g. security guard, law enforcement, or related to national security), the person may have to confess about having an expunged conviction.
The law relating to expungement varies from state to state. The law of expungement for the various states in the U.S. can be found under the following links.