Expungement Guide

Alaska Expungement

In the state of Alaska when an expungement is granted it does not mean that the prior criminal conviction is destroyed; it is simply erased from public viewing. Expungement refers to clearing an individualís criminal record by sealing the conviction. But why is expungement important? Having a criminal history record sealed can help a person obtain specific licenses and a majority of jobs. Licensing agencies and employment services will do background checks on applications, so having records erased is very beneficial and has huge social impacts. Alaskan law reminds individuals that expungement is not a right but rather a favor granted by the court.

Expungement Petitioning
A written request must be submitted to the head of the agency responsible for maintaining past convictions and current offender information. This request will ask the agency to seal specific information in regards to an arrest or a conviction. The head of the agency has the final administrative decision of whether or not to grant the request. Just because a petition has been filed does not mean it will be granted. If the paperwork was not filed correctly or it is not in the favor of society, then the petition will be denied.

Sealed Information
The amount of information to be sealed depends on the case or cases at hand, which can be various items. This information can be legally accessed after sealing for a number of reasons. These include record management purposes, such as auditing; criminal justice employment purposes; research and statistic purposes; review by the subject of the record; usage as authorized by statute of court order; and when necessary in preventing imminent harm to another person.

Alaskan law states that the court shall keep all criminal records, and when charged minors reach the age of eighteen, records will automatically be sealed. All records can be unsealed and made available for probable cause.

Expungement Eligibility
In the state of Alaska only those who have cases of mistaken identity, identity theft, or another similar mistakes are eligible for expungement. Other procedures for record removal are available; which includes pardoning. Misdemeanors are only expunged in Alaska if a mistake was made or a pardon has been granted by the governor. Felonies are under the same governed law where expungement is only possible through a mistake in the case or through governor pardoning.

Driving under the influence convictions are only to be sealed upon mistake or through pardoning or reversal under warrant. Even as the cases of mistaken identity and fraud are eligible for expungement, the governor always has pardoning power. A pardon from the governor has the same affects as a petition for record sealing: criminal history records will be sealed from public viewing. A pardon also sets aside the conviction and makes it as if the conviction never occurred. However if further convictions arise, expunged or pardoned convictions will most often acts as priors. This can lead to more serious sentencing, especially if the crime is the same as the previously expunged or pardoned conviction.

See also:
Alaska Felony External link (opens in new window)
Alaska Gun Laws External link (opens in new window)
Alaska Bankruptcy External link (opens in new window)