Automatic Criminal Record Expungement: A Technology that Reached Many States

August 16, 2022

An average of 70 million people in the United States have a criminal record. Regardless of their qualifications, many of these people cannot find proper employment. They might only have one misdemeanor or small arrest, but that violation on their record can make them seem unreliable in the eyes of employers.

As a result, the United States introduced a technology called automatic criminal record expungement. As of April, last year, at least 11 states have begun using this system, with more and more states taking measures to apply this as well. This would mean that many of the people overshadowed by certain felonies could have their slate cleaned.

The Ease of Automation

Criminal record expungement has been around for quite some time. However, it has been discovered that many of the people eligible to have their records cleared simply do not apply. The reason is likely because the system is complicated and costly, which is why around 90% of the eligible people do not apply to have their criminal convictions expunged.

According to Albuquerque expungement attorneys, for example, only 181 people applied to have their criminal records expunged – although technically, around 600,000 of those records could be cleared. They just choose not to, simply because the process is much too complicated than they believe is worth.

Now, numerous states are trying to make it much easier for these people to get a second chance by making the entire process automatic. This way, they could have their criminal records expunged without having to take other complicated actions.

These efforts are gaining more and more movement due to the labor shortage that left many businesses without eligible workers. People with the necessary skills would be automatically rejected from the job, simply because they had a stain on their criminal record. To solve this problem, many states have removed the bureaucracy factor so that the residents of the United States could find their American dream.

Different Opinions of the Bill

Many supporters of the bill say that this is a necessary step in order to help people get back to work. Many have a record simply because of a misdemeanor – an isolated incident that caused them to have a permanent black mark on their record. Now, those people cannot find a job or even get a mortgage, mainly because their stained record represents them as a danger.

There are also critics going against the bill, saying that sealing these records may prove a threat to public safety. However, the general higher-up opinions say that every person needs a place to live and that people browsing the housing market should be given a second chance.

Housing providers need to know whether someone went to prison for a horrible act or not, which would deem them a public safety for the entire neighborhood. However, many also believe that if someone got in trouble for possessing marijuana or other similar drugs 20 years ago, this shouldn’t matter now.

The system aims to improve racial equity and reduce discrimination. As people of color are often impacted by the justice system, more and more states wish to make sure that they are given the opportunities that they deserve.

Many of those people did not even commit serious offenses – but because they were of a different color, they were pushed into discriminatory situations that they could not control. A clean record could help them find the opportunities that they need.

An Algorithm to Clear Criminal Records

Data showed that finding eligible people and clearing their criminal records by hand can take a lot of time, creating a code that can analyze court files and find the ones that could be expunged.

Needless to say, not every criminal record can be expunged. For instance, those involving a violent crime or a serious offense, especially a recent one, will be discarded. However, minor offenses such as a DUI, personal drug possession, or throwing a punch during a bar fight may be expunged.

Once the eligible people have been selected, the software will begin to automatically fill out the paperwork. This way, thousands of people with criminal offenses will be identified and have their records expunged within a couple of minutes.

The Bottom Line

The automatic expungement of criminal records may serve as hope for millions of people with a record. And now that they no longer have to go through complicated steps, they can simply clean their record stains and move on to the next chapter of their lives.


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