An expungement removes a criminal offense from your record for most purposes—making it easier to get a job, housing or access to education. Hawaii’s expungement laws permit the removal of some juvenile and adult criminal records from state databases, with limitations.
In Hawaii, juvenile records are automatically sealed. A sealed record is not publicly available without a court order. Additionally, some juvenile records may be expunged once you become 21 years old. You are eligible for expungement if your arrest or criminal charges did not result in a conviction.
Juvenile expungements must be requested in writing. The Family Court will review your request and either approve or deny the expungement. If you need help with the juvenile expungement process, consider contacting a criminal defense lawyer.
The Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center handles all adult expungements. In Hawaii, you may expunge:
- Most adult felony and misdemeanor arrest records and criminal charges that did not result in a conviction,
- Convictions for first-time, drug-related offenses, and
- Convictions for DUI while under the age of 21.
However, you cannot expunge:
- Pending charges,
- Most convictions (other than first-time drug offenses and DUI’s before the age of 21),
- Charges where you acquitted due to insanity or mental incapacity, and
- Pardoned convictions.
If you need help determining your eligibility for an adult expungement, consider contacting a criminal defense lawyer.
There are also waiting periods for certain types of cases. For example:
- If you made a Deferred Acceptance of Guilty or No Contest plea, you may request an expungement one year after its dismissal.
- If you faced prostitution charges and made a Deferred Acceptance of Guilty or No Contest plea, you must wait four years after its dismissal.
After these waiting periods, you may file for expungement.
To request expungement, you must file a form with the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center. The form varies, depending on your claim. You may require an:
- Expungement of Non-Conviction Arrest Records Application,
- Expungement of Arrest Records Conviction for Driving Under the Influence, Under the Age of Twenty-One, or
- Expungement of Arrest Records for First-Time Drug Conviction.
You must also attach specific court documents if you are trying to expunge a DUI or first-time drug conviction.
Once your request is filed, the Criminal Justice Data Center will review your request and either grant or deny your expungement. Typically, you will receive a response from the Criminal Justice Data Center within four months of filing.
The filing fee for a first-time adult expungement is $35. Additional expungement applications cost $50. (These charges include a non-refundable $10 administrative fee.) If you hire an expungement or criminal defense lawyer, you may also be charged for attorney fees and other costs.
If the Criminal Justice Data Center grants your petition, you may lawfully state that the expunged criminal record does not exist. When most employers search your Hawaii criminal record, the charges will not be present. Expunged records will still be available to law enforcement agencies.
However, an expungement in Hawaii does not result in the destruction of your court records. You may file a separate request to seal your court records (making them unavailable without a court order). If you need help sealing your court records, contact an experienced lawyer.
To completely seal your criminal records, you may need to file multiple requests with the Criminal Justice Data Center and the courts. A criminal lawyer or expungement lawyer can help guide you through the expungement and sealing process. Additionally, a lawyer can speak on your behalf during any necessary court hearings and give you the best chance of expunging your record.