Compared to many states, Alaska’s criminal records laws are very conservative. While most juvenile records remain confidential, adults cannot expunge their criminal record. However, adults may seal their records under some circumstances. Expungement indicates that the records have been destroyed, whereas sealing a record only makes the conviction unavailable for viewing by the general public.
Sealing a Criminal Record for Adults
In order to seal an Alaskan criminal record, you must have evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that the charges were based on mistaken identity or false accusation. This makes it difficult to seal most arrest records and convictions.
In Alaska, even if a charge is dismissed or a suspended conviction is set aside, it will remain on your criminal record (however, your criminal record will report the dismissal or the set aside conviction). If your record is sealed, the charges and convictions will be hidden from the public.
If you qualify for record sealing, you must submit a Request to Seal Criminal Justice Record by mail. The Alaska Department of Public Safety will evaluate your claim and issue a decision (You may have the right to appeal a denied Request to Seal).
If you are ineligible for record sealing, you may apply for a pardon with the Alaska Board of Parole. While a pardon does not remove a conviction from your criminal record, it can help prove your rehabilitation to prospective employers. Currently, Alaska’s pardon or clemency program is being revised. If you have questions about a pardon or clemency application, contact a criminal lawyer.
What if There Is an Error in my Criminal Record?
If your criminal record contains inaccurate information (either due to administrative error or identity theft), you may request a correction. You may submit either a Request to Correct Criminal Justice Information or Request to Seal Criminal Justice Record along with supporting evidence and information.
Who Can Access Sealed Records in Alaska?
If your Request to Seal is approved, you may deny the existence of the sealed information. In other words, you do not have to disclose the sealed arrest, charges, conviction, or sentence to most (but not all) employers.
Sealed criminal records are still available for:
- Criminal justice employment purposes,
- Research and statistical purposes, or
- When necessary to prevent imminent harm to another person.
- Additionally, sealed records are available when permitted by law or court order.
Consulting an Attorney
Since it is very difficult to seal criminal records in Alaska, it is important to hire a criminal lawyer when you face charges or prosecution. Additionally, a criminal lawyer can help guide you through the record sealing process. A lawyer can help you present a strong case and give you the best chance of sealing your criminal record.