How To Get a Criminal Record Removed

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Removing a Criminal Record

A criminal record can stand in your way. It can stop you from getting a job, traveling to Canada, and it can even stop you from volunteering at your child’s school. Fortunately, in some cases, it’s possible to get a criminal record removed. Here is how you can expunge a criminal record.

Determine If You Qualify To Remove Your Criminal Record

The rules for expunging a criminal record are different in every state, but there are some commonalities. Generally, the number of convictions you have and the type of convictions are what determine your eligibility. For example, a theft offense usually qualifies, but sexual offenses almost never qualify.

Most states never expunge Traffic Offenses. Each state has their own rules, and most of them disqualify driving offenses and offenses where a victim suffered serious physical harm. You might be able to expunge one or two misdemeanors or one felony, but usually nothing more than that.

Application To Remove Your Criminal Record

The next step for how to get a criminal record removed is to prepare a petition or an application for expungement. Most of the time, this means preparing a court document. You might need to make your own petition, or your state might have a form. You also need to get your fingerprints taken. You’ll need a certified copy of the convictions that you’re trying to have expunged.

File The Application To Have Your Criminal Record Removed

When you’re trying to have a criminal record removed, you need to file your gathered documents in the proper court. This might be the court that processed the original criminal case, or it might be a higher court. You’ll have to pay a filing fee. The court gives you a court date, and you proceed to the next step for how to get a criminal record removed.

Send in Notice To All Interested Parties

Next, you have to send notices to anyone who might be interested in the proceeding. This might include the local district attorney or prosecutor, the state’s attorney general, the state police and local police agencies. The police might research your criminal record to make sure that you qualify to expunge criminal record.

Gather Letters of Support

You’re asking the judge to make your criminal conviction non-public. Most states allow the judge to act with discretion. That means they don’t have to agree to expunge criminal record if they don’t want to.

You need to be able to tell the court why they should grant your petition, not just how to remove criminal record. One thing that really helps is to have support letters from friends, family, clergy and even employers. They should speak to the changes that you’ve made in your life and how you’re a positive member of society.

Attend Your Court Record Hearing

Finally, your court day arrives. Wear a professional, businesslike outfit. Be prepared with a polite statement for the judge about how you’ve worked to become a community contributor. Tell them about employment, volunteering or contributions to family that you’ve been involved with in the last few years. Thank them for taking the time to review your petition, and politely ask them to grant it.

The state’s attorney has the option to appear at the hearing. They might agree with your petition, or they might oppose it. If there’s a victim in your case, the court might listen to the victim give a statement.

Send a Copy of Your Criminal Record Removal to The Relevant Agencies

If the court grants your petition, you need to send a copy of the expungement to the correct agency. In many states, this is the state police. Then, your criminal conviction should become nonpublic, and you’ve succeeded in how to remove criminal record.

How To Get a Criminal Record Removed

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Responses to “How To Get a Criminal Record Removed

  1. D.a
    Told me that my record is now clean 4 years ago havnt had any look finding job for 3 years found out my record still has the charges omg it employer finally told me why he couldn\’t hire me because of record. I\’m starving to death. What should be done.


    1. Brenda, you will need to contact the courthouse clerk where you were sentenced. You can inquire with them on the procedures to getting your criminal record removed from your criminal history. Since it was a felony this can be challenging and we cannot offer you any legal advise as we are not lawyers or affiliated with any court of law. Another option on, ” How to Get a Criminal Record Removed “, is to contact a lawyer and have them make the proper inquiries for you

  3. I live in Florida and I have 4 charges on my record that have been dismissed before trial and now say abandoned on my record. I am apply for nursing school and I do not want this to affect me. 1 charge was from a false police report from one ex boyfriend and 3 other charges was from another ex boyfriend of false police reports. I never had to attend court for any of them and they was all dismissed. But when I read it says that I can only get 1 record expunged per lifetime. Please help! Is this true?!

    1. Your best course of action would be to consult legal counsel about this issue. Unfortunately we do not have an affiliation with any court system or law enforcement agency. You should consult a legal professional about this matter.

  4. one should have no problem getting a job , loan , or getting into school if its not sealed right? thats what i understood. or finding a place to live?

    1. Tim,

      If your criminal record is sealed then this should help with the circumstances you mentioned however it depends on a lot of things. Each state handles how a record is sealed a little differently so you will want to run your criminal record and inquire with the courts or relevant law enforcement authorities to verify this.

    1. Darleen,

      Depending on the state you live in and the nature of the criminal record you can get them sealed. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be able to get a passport as these criminal records are still on file, just not accessible by the public. If you can give us some more insights, such as what state and county you live and the type of criminal record you have, we can do some research on how to get your criminal record sealed, removed or expunged.

      How To Get Criminal Records Sealed

      You might be able to get your criminal record sealed if this is your first offense and depending on the nature of the criminal record. Typically first and second degree felonies can’t be sealed. If your crime is minor misdemeanor then you stand a good chance of getting this record sealed if it’s your first offense. There is usually a waiting period, sometimes years, until you’ll be eligible to have your criminal record sealed. You should contact your local county courthouse clerk for more information.

      Reasons For Sealing a Criminal Record

      • Employment
      • Getting a Job
      • Getting a Loan
      • Finding a Place to Live
      • Applying to College

Author: SQAdmin
Last Updated: November 17, 2020

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