How do I get a Criminal Record Expunged?

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  • Written By: D. Burke
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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Getting a criminal record expunged typically requires the offender to have some knowledge of regional statutes regarding expungement. Although the particular statutes for having a criminal record expunged vary by jurisdiction, there are some basic rules that commonly shape the expungement process. For instance, expungement of a criminal record typically requires a considerable amount of time to pass after the incident with no further record of criminal offense. Additionally, getting a criminal record expunged may require the offender to show need, such as for individuals who desire to vote, obtain a firearm to hunt or obtain employment in a specific field.

Understanding the nuances of regional statues for criminal record expungement is very important when it comes to having a criminal record expunged. Some jurisdictions may provide flexible and generous rules for expunging a criminal record while others may exclude the possibility of expungement in specific cases. Sex offender registries, which typically include crimes such as rape and sexual assault, are often one type of criminal record that many jurisdictions will not expunge. An individual seeking to have his criminal record expunged may find that working with a criminal defense attorney is necessary to provide him with the expertise needed for understanding the law and navigating the expungement process.


Having a criminal record expunged generally means removing an offense as if it did not occur. Even though expungement can provide an individual with pertinent benefits, there are some instances in which expungement may not provide an individual with a clean record. One example might include a case in which an individual is seeking employment in a government job that requires a security clearance. Background checks completed by government offices typically yield results that include expunged criminal records. In these instances a criminal past can be difficult to hide.

Individuals seeking to have a criminal record expunged may find that they are not able to acquire expungement. When this occurs, there are other options that can be considered. For example, many jurisdictions allow the individual to apply for a pardon. A pardon can often be provided during an offender's sentence, allowing for the release of the offender from prison. Another option for individuals who cannot acquire expungement may be to have their criminal records sealed. Sealing of criminal records commonly occurs in juvenile cases when the young offender does not engage in additional criminal acts.



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