An expungement does not “erase” a criminal record. Rather, if you are granted an expungement, that means that law enforcement agencies are required to keep your record private except for certain limited situations. For example, if you become involved in criminal proceedings again, past records can be used to determine things like eligibility for supervisory treatment or diversion programs, authorizing pre-trial release, generating pre-sentence reports, and/or sentencing for your new case. Your past record can also be used if you apply for certain types of jobs, such as law enforcement or with the courts.
However, getting your record expunged can absolutely give you a fresh start in many situations. It is a technical process with a lot of rules, so retaining an attorney with experience in obtaining the necessary information and drafting the expungement paperwork can be extremely helpful in getting your record expunged as quickly as possible.