Expungement Guide

Application for Expungement

Applying for an Expungment
Each state has different laws and application processes for expungment. Check your local laws before beginning the process. Some states do not offer expungment to those with multiple criminal convictions. In any state, you will be required to have been discharged of your sentence for a period of time, without any further criminal incidents, before you can apply. Be prepared for a long and tedious process. Expungment generally does not happen quickly, nor is it an easy process.

Many also choose to apply for pardons instead of expungement. Pardons are an executive action which can lift any long-lasting effects of the conviction. The process for applying for pardons also varies from state to state. If your state has a more generous expungment law, try to get your record expunged first. If the expungment law in your jurisdiction is strict, you may wish to apply for a pardon.

Another option is to "seal" a criminal record. Sealing a criminal record typically only happens with juveniles. In some states, juvenile records are sealed automatically. In other states, the juvenile needs to stay out of trouble for a number of years into adulthood before the record is sealed. Generally, adult criminal records are not sealed.

If you are looking to get an expungment of your criminal record, remember that it is possible. Check with the state where you were convicted and discover the laws associated with expungment. Be prepared for a long process, but keep in mind that it is possible to have your criminal record expunged once you have shown sufficient rehabilitation.

Getting Your Criminal Record Expunged
Expungment of a criminal record basically means that the record does not exist. If you apply, and receive permission, to have your criminal record expunged, your record will be treated as if it does not exist. There are some limits to receiving an expungment, depending on the state where you live and the laws associated with the state. However, getting your criminal record expunged is possible.

When Will Records Not Be Expunged
There are some records that will not be permanently expunged. For example, some states keep separate registries for child abuse and sexual offenses. Depending on the laws of the state, it may not be possible to get your record expunged if you have sexual charges.

If you are applying for a government job, or a job that needs government security clearance, it's likely that the employer will discover the full criminal record, even if you believe your record has been expunged. If you are looking for a government job, it's best to admit your expunged conviction when you apply for the job.

Why Get an Expungment
People apply for expungment for many different reasons. Some apply for expungment simply because they are embarrassed. This is likely the case if you've made a one-time mistake and have a clean record other than the one offense.

Some apply for expungment in order to vote again or to hold a firearm - the restrictions that accompany a felony can be really difficult to deal with.. Always, expungment is obtained by carefully examining individual's needs and level of rehabilitation. Expungments are handled on a state level and are typically issued by the court where the conviction was obtained.