Preliminary Hearing

What is a Redaction?

I asked my lawyer if I could get an expungement for an old case, and he told me no but that I could get a redaction. What does that mean? What is a redaction?

A redaction is an identical filing to an expungement except only the charges that are expungement eligible are removed from your record. The rest remain.

A redaction isn’t for everyone, but for someone charged with a very serious crime who was found not guilty of all of the serious charges and guilty of only some very minor charges, a redaction can be a very useful tool when applying for job. Here is a great example of when a redaction is appropriate.

Client is arrested for date rape. He is not arrested on the scene, but rather two weeks later at his home. At the time of the arrest the police search him incident to the arrest and find Marijuana in his pants pocket. When he is taken to the station for booking he declines to give a statement and asks for a lawyer immediately (smart guy; good decisions). The district attorney’s office charges him with all of the following charges:

  • Rape
  • IDSI
  • Aggravated Indecent Assault
  • Aggravated Assault
  • Simple Assault
  • Recklessly Endangering Another Person
  • Indecent Assault
  • Harassment
  • Possession of a Small Amount of Marijuana

He hires a lawyer and fights the case. The entire time up to trial, client tells his lawyer he did not have sex of any kind with the “victim” on the night in question and he was just there to try to get back with her again. It is about 15th time he was at her house that month and he never had any sexual contact with her any of those 15 times. Right after the jury is selected and before the opening statements are given, the district attorney tells his lawyer that the woman recanted and told her that really she never thought the case would get this far. She just wants the defendant to leave her alone. The district attorney offers one count of summary harassment and one count of ungraded misdemeanor small amount of marijuana. The client takes it and pleads guilty.

The client is a nurse. He wants to switch jobs, but he worry that someone will see this arrest and not hire him because of the nature of the charges. Rape is a scary word to employers. He is not expungement eligible because of the conviction. The client can get a redaction.

In the redaction, the court would order all of the charges expunged except for the Harassment and Marijuana. The state police would be order to remove the remaining charges from the criminal history. In this example, the redaction is a great idea.

Brian J. Zeiger, Esquire, is an experienced and successful criminal defense and civil rights attorney. He is a seasoned trial lawyer with significant experience before juries and judges. Brian understands civil rights cases, including Taser, Wrongful Death, Excessive Force, Police Brutality, Police Misconduct, Malicious Prosecution, Monell Claims, Sexual Assault, Prisoner’s Rights, Time Credit, Medical Malpractice, and Medical Indifference.