Expunge your Records – Felonies and Misdemeanors

The expunge definition is recorded as erasing or removing criminal records from the public domain. In other words, expunging a criminal record can provide an opportunity, or better said, a solution to a problem many people in this country face.

Usually, smaller crimes like a misdemeanor can be expunged. A misdemeanor is a lesser crime, which is punishable by paying a fine and/or serving a jail term that can range from six months to a year. These crimes fall under the jurisdiction of the municipal, police or justice courts. The crimes listed under this category are theft, assault and battery charges, drunk driving (without injuring others), public intoxication, traffic violations, and causing nuisance in public like loitering or disturbing the peace.  However there are other crimes in this category, which can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor. The District Attorney or DA uses his discretion in such cases to apply either of the charges against a suspect. Such a decision is dependent on the nature and seriousness of the crime.

So, what does it mean to expunge misdemeanor? Expunging a misdemeanor entails complete removal of your case records, which means that it won’t be visible to the public. To be eligible for expungement of a crime, you have to file a written request for expunging the records at the local county or state court.  You will be granted an expungement depending on the seriousness of your misdemeanor but again, the laws differ from one state to another.

So, how to expunge a misdemeanor? There are some common procedures followed in every state or county where you can get your records expunged:

  • • Complete a waiting period, which could be anywhere between one to three years after your jail term or after paying a fine
  • • There are a permissible number of prior charges, mentioned by every state or county jurisdiction to expunge a misdemeanor
  • • It is important to complete a full term of the original sentence
  • • Make sure that you have no proceedings that are pending
  • • Last, but not the least, make sure that you do not commit any crime in your probation period.

What is an expunge felony?

Just like an expunge misdemeanor, an expunge felony is a crime that entails the erasing of charges from one’s criminal records. But, expunging a felony is far more challenging than a misdemeanor because of the seriousness of the charges involved. The expungement of a felony is the legal procedure by which charges of felonies are permanently deleted from a criminal record.  By doing this, it gives permission to a person for officially declaring that the crime never took place. This means the crime has never taken place.  The procedure is known by different names in every state.

Steps to expunge a felony

  • File a request

Just like a misdemeanor, you need to apply for the expungement of a felony.  Then you need to submit a written request in a court to see if you are eligible for clearing criminal records.  There is a fee charged to file an application.

  • Completing a sentence 

To get a felony expunged, every fine and incarceration term must be completed successfully before applying for expungement

  • A waiting period

There are states that have set a particular time period before an expungement request is filed.  The time duration can vary between five to ten years after the term is completed.

  • A probation period

It is important to complete this time period in which no crime has been committed. There are a few states that will not allow the expungement of a record until a probation has been granted.

Laws to expunge felonies and misdemeanors vary from one state to another.  While some states do not permit individuals charged with a felony to expunge their records, while in some states only some felonies can be expunged.  A federal felony is considered quite serious on a crime scale as compared to other crimes like a misdemeanor. This type of felony cannot be expunged, although there may be some exceptions made where the applicant who is requesting an expungement, may be granted a pardon, though only under limited circumstances.

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