Why a Letter over a Form?
Whenever a person is arrested, in most states, the arrest goes on record, called arrest records. This allows the public, employers, and landlords to view these records at will when requested from the BCA or other law enforcement agencies.
Those that have been arrested but were not charged with the crime or if the case was dismissed before a formal complaint was filed, have a different avenue to follow. These individuals have the option of requesting that the "identifying parts" of their records of arrest be returned and the arrest records be sealed by the law enforcement agency.
This kind of expungement must be done via a letter written to the agencies - the police department, city attorney, county sheriff, and the BCA - that hold the records of arrest. Eligibility for this kind of expungement includes not having a felony conviction or gross misdemeanor with ten years prior to the arrest. Other rules are included and follow that all charges be dismissed prior to determining probably cause or that the prosecution declined in filing any charges and a grand jury did not return the indictment. The final rule includes that an individual did not participate in a diversion program after the arrest was made.
Those that qualify for relief under certain state jurisdiction are allowed to write letters to the record holders of their information. In these cases expungement does not require a hearing and a petition. Nevertheless those who have charges filled and dismissed for lacking probable cause, a different petition must be ordered for the sealing of court records.
Kind of Expungement
Unlike an expungement form that must be filed out in detail, an expungement letter can vary in content; however the letter must be formally written. A letter of expungement does not fall under a non-court process for expungement of any arrest record. Because these letters contain personal information, it is advisable to keep copies of each letter written. Each letter should be sent by Certified Mail-Return Receipt Requested so that the sender knows when and if the letters were received by the addressees.
What is in an Expungement Letter?
Because many people find that it is difficult to rent homes and acquire employment because of past criminal records, many choose to expungement their records many years later. This typically happens anywhere from five to ten or more years after the arrest.
An expungement letter must show that the individual in question is now a responsible member of society for many years - thus why expungement letters are written so many years later. These letters are written to a judge, a district attorney, and the signing probation officer of the final disposition in the case. These letters must explain the case of the arrest and the changes that have occurred to correct the actions. These can include staying out of trouble and trying to help others. See also: