The Expungement Center is dedicated to helping Americans everywhere understand their rights about their public records. We publish helpful information about record sealing and record expungement for states where it is available.

Clearing a criminal record is fairly straight-forward but not without its hassles. To execute this action, it does not require the involvement of an attorney, which can cost an obscene amount of money on top of the court or filing fees that will already be assessed. In some cases, an individual with a felony charge that requests to have their record expunged or sealed from the public may need to appear in court. In order to be eligible to apply for these motions, there is a certain amount of time that must pass depending on state laws. In addition, all criminal courts should have the forms for motion expungement, seal, and pardon, which are accessible to the public. Our expungement kits explain all of the eligibility requirements and forms needed to complete the process in each state.

Clear Criminal Records with Sealing

Upon an arrest, individuals will have their information available through several mediums including the internet. Within this information, their charges will be stated, bond, and any other pertinent information. To put a halt to this action, one may petition to have their record sealed, a motion that keeps information hidden from the public but does not eliminate the record. Although one’s information will still be on their file, no one will be able to have access to it unless they have a court order to do so. Not only will adults be able to seal their criminal information but juveniles will be able to do this as well. In order for a juvenile’s record to be sealed, they would have to be 18 years of age or 5 years have to have passed as well as the completion of any penalty or probation. If parking or traffic violations were involved in the charge, it cannot be sealed. For an adult, only one conviction or multiple convictions that were from the same charge that would be allowed. If the charge pertained to the involvement of children, sex, elderly or drugs, the request to have it sealed cannot be granted—this usually pertains to those who have first and second degree felonies.

Clear Criminal Records with Expungment

The expungement of a criminal record is often misconstrued with having their information sealed; believing that the two motions are the same when in fact, they have several differences depending on the state the crime was committed in. Expungement allows for the record to be destroyed, not just sealed. No one will be able to access their information even if they had the authority to do so. The only information that the police department or any other authority figure will be able to obtain is the past involvement with the police. An employer would be able to ascertain this information as well. Not everyone is eligible to request this action; it is dependent upon the persons’ charge. Some jurisdiction may be opposed to the notion of allowing those to censor their criminal information if they have a felony. Those who have a felony that resulted in life imprisonment, than they are not eligible. It is important to check with the county criminal court to uncover their requirements as well as eligibility. Once the petition has been completed and accepted, that person will no longer have to say to an employer that they were once convicted of a criminal offense. They will be able to do this honestly and truthfully without any penalties.

Clear Criminal Records with Pardons

Petitioning for a pardon is for those who were charged with a crime and want forgiveness for it from the state. In no way, shape or form that one’s criminal history is erased once they have been granted a pardon. It is simply to let others know that the individual have been forgiven and released as a result. There are two types of pardons, which are presidential (federal) pardon and Governor’s pardon. In order to receive a federal pardon, it will have to be received by the president of the United States, and one does not have to apply in order for this action to take place. In order for it to be approved, the individual would have needed to show good behavior upon conviction. The only reason why one would apply for a governor’s pardon is if their crime was opposed by the state. An application will have to be sent, the following is needed: three letters of recommendation, a properly filled out application, and a replica of the individuals arrest information. Those who are incarcerated may take advantage of this opportunity as well. If they are granted the pardon, then they will be released back into society without any restrictions. For instance, when in inmate is released from prison, they are usually placed on probation or some other penalty. Those who were released as a result of a pardon will not have to fret over having limitations. Also, the convictions that were placed on the persons’ file will remain and their criminal information will be viewable to the public. If anyone were to ask if they were ever convicted of a criminal offense, they are obligated to say “yes”.

Having a criminal record can impede an individual from moving forward with their life after they have had the misfortunes of being arrested. It can be extremely difficult to find an employer that would be willing to hire an ex-convict or an employer that would be willing to offer that person a promotion—success at the work place can be very limited. Erasing or withholding ones’ history has many benefits as it will allow the individual to have a fresh start in life. If applying for a loan, many banks will condemn a loan to those who have had previous encounters with the law. If they expressed disapproval of a loan, then that can conclude that the individual will not be able to purchase a new vehicle, a new home, start a new business, or any other plans that they may have. Obliterating the past will permit an individual to live freely without any restrictions. They may also partake in starting a family through adoption, which agencies request a criminal background check. Also, the satisfaction of having a peace of mind; there is nothing more gratifying than being able to have the many options that were not available prior to one’s conviction.