How To Get A Criminal Record Expunged: 5 Steps

By Subodh / August 19, 2013

Do you have a criminal record that is hampering your ability to find a job and lead an otherwise stable life? If so you are not alone. Many people have criminal records for crimes committed when they were young or in a different place in their lives where their decision making was flawed for different reasons. Having matured however does not get rid of the record and it can be a real problem for you in any situation where a background check is done. However there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

It is possible to have a criminal record expunged under the right circumstances. Doing so helps avoid embarrassing questions in job interviews and trying to cover awkward information when a background check is run. Moreover, expunging your record will prevent you from being denied housing or work opportunities, thus allowing for a better life for you and your children. To be eligible for having your record expunged, you must not have any felony convictions within the five years after being arrested; you must not have been arrested for multiple offenses and you can not have been arrested for sex related crimes.

The Requirements To Have Your Criminal Records Expunged

Before you can have your criminal record expunged, you need to meet the necessary requirements indicated by the law in the state that you live. These requirements limit the procedure to arrests that did not result in convictions or acquittals after a trial. This also includes successful appeals of convictions and pardons. However, cases that resulted in deferred adjudication, which is a special probation given to first time offenders, do not qualify for expunction. These are the essential requirements aside from not being arrested for multiple offenses, not being arrested for a sex related crime and not having any felony convictions in the immediate five years preceding your arrest.

Criminal Record

Step By Step Guidelines For How To Expunge Your Criminal Records

To be able to have your criminal records expunged, you have to follow these steps.

Step 1 – Secure A Court Form

The first step in the expunction process requires you to secure a copy of the ‘Petition To Clear Record’ and ‘Order To Clear Record’ court forms at the court clerk’s office in the county you had been arrested in. Online forms are also available from legal services organizations.

Step 2 – Prepare The ‘Petition To Clear Record’ Form And Fingerprint Record

After securing the “Petition To Clear Record” form you need to fill in your personal information including information about your arrest that you wish to have cleared. List all the agencies that also have a record of your arrest and then check the box that describes the basis for your petition. Once you have completed the form, have it signed at a notary and make several copies. You will also have to submit a record of your fingerprints, so prepare them according to the proper procedure indicated by the court for expunction cases.

Step 3 – File The ‘Petition To Clear Record’ Form And Fingerprint Records

Bring the completed forms and records to the clerk’s office in the county where you were arrested and have them filed there. Have the clerk stamp the filing information containing the case number and date on the copies of the petition, but make sure that you keep at least a copy or two for your own records. Have a copy sent to the district attorney’s office by certified mail with a requested return receipt. You will then be notified by mail about your hearing date.

Step 4 – Prepare The ‘Order To Clear Record’ Form

Prepare the ‘Petition To Clear Record’ form by filling in the necessary information as you prepare for your hearing day. Bring the form with you on your hearing day for the judge to complete the form once your petition has been granted. Do not forget to bring your proof of mailing the petition to the district attorney’s office in case it is needed.

Step 5 – Attend Your Hearing

Do not neglect to attend your hearing as your attendance is mandatory to have your petition granted. This may seem obvious but some people forget to write the date in their calendar and miss the hearing as a result.

Although you may have done things in the past that were stupid, immature or down right illegal, you do not necessarily have to suffer for the rest of your life by having a criminal record hang over your head and impede your opportunities.  If you qualify for getting your criminal record expunged, follow the steps above and begin looking forward to starting your life on a clean slate. Getting your record expunged is the only way to improve your opportunities in life whether they be work, house or personally related.