Record Expunging Process

Where You Need a Lawyer:

(This may not be the same place you live)

At No Cost! 

 What is the Record Expunging Process?

For some eligible past offenders, the record expungement procedure can be available. This covers those who have fulfilled their probationary requirements, paid off any court fines, and completed their sentence.

The record expunging procedure enables the person to have any prior convictions erased from their criminal history, giving them a fresh start. Record expungement is routine for DUI arrests and lower misdemeanor convictions.

How Do I Expunge My Criminal Record?

Having a criminal record cleared up is not a constitutional right. State law governs the situation. It is only moderately accessible in the states where it is available. People who want their records deleted must fulfill requirements and adhere to specific steps. As it is a privilege, most jurisdictions only permit expungement if the person with the record can demonstrate that they have completed their rehabilitation and reintegrated into society.

Generally speaking, not all crimes are eligible for expungement. It’s not accessible in every situation. Instead, it is typically only accessible under certain conditions.

If a specified time has passed after a person’s conviction and they have already completed serving their term, certain states let them have their criminal record expunged.

There are restrictions on what can be cleared or sealed in practically every state that permits expungement. In most cases, expungement is not an option for significant or violent crimes. Additionally, expungement does not remove a requirement to register as a sex offender if imposed due to a conviction.

Is the Record-Erasure Procedure Automatic?

The option to have your record expunged is not automatically available. Most of the time, to have their record wiped, the person must submit a special request to the court. Additionally, they must provide proof that they are eligible for expungement.

Record expungement is typically only possible once a specified amount of time has passed after the person’s most recent conviction. This normally occurs five to ten years after the conviction, on average. The convictions cannot be removed from the person’s record before that point.

What Distinguishes Record Sealing from Expungement?

The primary distinction between record sealing and expungement is that if records are sealed, criminal records “still remain.” The documents and records are still present; employers and others cannot access them. When a person becomes 18 years old, their juvenile criminal records are often sealed as part of routine procedures (though they can sometimes still be accessed via court order).

Comparatively, expungement involves the real elimination or erasure of criminal charges and arrest records, making it appear like they never happened. It could be more challenging to have some charges dismissed than others. For instance, petty charges are typically easier to have dismissed than felonies.

State laws on sealing and expunging criminal records can differ significantly. The sort of offense involved might frequently affect eligibility for such processes.

Qualifications for Record Expunction or Sealing

State laws differ regarding who is eligible for record sealing, but generally speaking, the process goes as follows:

  • Write to the court where the conviction happened and request that the record be sealed.
  • The original sentence had to be completed.
  • There are no current charges against the person.
  • The candidate must demonstrate that all probationary conditions have been met.

The person will frequently seek an expungement in the same court where the prosecution occurs. If they want to delete several records, they typically need to file separate petitions; the petition for expungement is typically only valid for one case at a time. After reviewing the petition, the court will decide if they qualify. Sometimes, individual courts will have their own record sealing or expungement processes.

Can Misdemeanors Be Removed from a Criminal Record?

Commonly, misdemeanor crimes are regarded as less serious offenses that are penalized by a term of less than one year in a county jail (as opposed to a prison institution) or some monetary fines. Most misdemeanors can, in general, be removed from a person’s record.

Traffic offenses, particularly first-time DUI or drunk driving charges; other non-violent crimes; simple theft-related offenses; trespassing and vandalism; and resisting arrest are some examples of misdemeanor convictions that are frequently wiped out.

Misdemeanor expungements can aid in expunging a person’s criminal history. The restoration of lost gun ownership privileges or the exclusion from punishments involving registration on a list of sex offenders are two examples of penalties that it cannot restore.

Can a Felony Be Expunged from Your Criminal Record?

Generally, felonies are more serious offenses subject to longer prison sentences (rather than county jail facilities) and larger penalties or fees. It is generally more difficult to have felony charges dismissed than most misdemeanor offenses. Only specific felonies are eligible for expungement in some states, and some states do not permit the expungement of felonies.

According to a general rule of thumb, a person’s chances of having a felony removed from their record decrease as it becomes more serious. Longer sentences and larger fines are related to more serious offenses than less serious crimes.

Typically, non-violent misdemeanors like drug possession are more likely to qualify for expungement than more serious felonies. Felonies with victims under 18, sexual offenses including rape or sexual assault, and other more serious crimes are often ineligible for expungement.

Finally, federal crime convictions typically cannot be sealed. However, the criminal may occasionally be awarded a pardon with a conviction for a federal felony (though this usually happens under very limited circumstances).

Informational Material Regarding Record Sealing or Expungement

It is crucial to remember that:

  • Expunction is not possible for a lot of felonies.
  • Record sealing is not permitted for almost all sexual offenses.
  • Typically, juvenile offenses or misdemeanors are eligible for expungement.

In some places, the original sealed conviction may still be utilized to increase the harshness of a subsequent sentence, even when records are sealed.

What Takes Place if I Have My Criminal Record Expunged?

A person who has had their conviction erased can typically lawfully claim they were never found guilty of a crime in practically any circumstance. A person can legally respond that they have never been convicted of a crime if asked about it when applying for a job.

However, there are exceptions to this rule because some jobs demand that applicants disclose all convictions, even those that have been expunged. These positions could require child care, specific government positions, or something similar.

Do Juvenile Records Have an Automatic Seal?

No, after a youngster is 18, their juvenile records aren’t usually instantly sealed. A person qualifies for record expungement when they attain the age of majority in most states. To have their juvenile record sealed, they would still need to submit a request to the court and go through the record expunging procedure.

Do I Need Legal Counsel to Assist with the Record-Clearing Procedure?

Evidence and eligibility documentation is required for the record expungement procedure. For help with record expungement, you might need to employ an expungement attorney in your area. Through the expungement procedure, a lawyer can assist you and ensure that state laws are being followed to safeguard your rights.

Your lawyer can also represent you if you have to appear in court formally. Lastly, they can keep you updated if there are changes or developments that might affect the outcome of your claim.

Save Time and Money - Speak With a Lawyer Right Away

  • Buy one 30-minute consultation call or subscribe for unlimited calls
  • Subscription includes access to unlimited consultation calls at a reduced price
  • Receive quick expert feedback or review your DIY legal documents
  • Have peace of mind without a long wait or industry standard retainer
  • Get the right guidance - Schedule a call with a lawyer today!

16 people have successfully posted their cases

Find a Lawyer