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.

An expungement is the elimination or concealment of arrest and conviction documents. Expunged records allow the incident to be treated as if the event never occurred. It can only be granted by a judge. Every state has its own definitions and laws concerning these proceedings but in general it refers to the process of removing the documents from view. In some cases, they may still be accessible to law enforcement officers, judges over seeing subsequent criminal cases, and corrections facilities to which the person may later be sentenced. In addition, when applying for a state professional license, a position that entails holding public office or high security, any withholding information regarding arrests or criminal convictions can lead to being denied a security clearance.

Having arrests and convictions removed can eliminate problematic issues that arise during pre-employment background checks. It may open the door to getting a better job, a promotion or even make a difference in holding onto your job. It has been estimated that the income of those who have a history of criminal activity is reduce by 10 to 20 percent as a result. In the long run, the cost of having this information show up on a background check is greater than the expungement costs. Most applications for housing or apartment rentals also include a background check. Removing those blemishes from your file may allow you to secure a better home and increase your standard of living. Your chances are also improved of being accepted to professional organizations when you have a clean start. They too, perform a background check prior to extending an invitation. The personal satisfaction gained from having criminal offenses removed is also very rewarding.

There are many benefits associated with having criminal offenses eliminated. It can help you in obtaining certain types of credit such as student loans. Some professional licenses and certificates also require a clean background check. Those who have been convicted of felony offenses lose some of their important rights as a citizen such as the right to carry a firearm or the right to vote. Clearing your criminal background can reinstate your right to vote. It can also allow you to legally own and carry a firearm, a tremendous benefit for those who enjoy hunting or marksmanship as a sport.

One of the most common questions asked is: how much does expungement cost. The cost of expungeing your record can vary depending on the state you live in and the fees that are charged. The cost usually includes jurisdictional court costs and other incidental fees. The majority of the expungement cost is usually from attorney’s fees. For this reason, it is not usually beneficial for individuals to seek expungement help from lawyers. It is true that the expungement process can be confusing but it does not have to be expensive. Our expunge kits are affordable and provide the guidance needed in order to complete the process as quick as possible and without the stressful confusion. EXPUNGEMENT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE EXPENSIVE. With that being said, there is an eligibility process that must be payed attention to.

Not all criminal convictions can be removed and multiple offenses will hurt your chances, however, the circumstances and how major the crime is will also play a role. In addition, one incident that results in multiple convictions may also disqualify you from having it removed. This too, varies from state to state as some will treat it as only one case. Minor offenses such as trespassing or disorderly conduct are relatively simple to have removed especially if enough time has lapsed and the have been no repeated incidences. There are certain crimes that will remain on your file permanently. Crimes of a serious nature such as those involving sexual assault, sexual battery, murder or manslaughter cannot be removed in any state. Nearly all violent crimes, such as aggravated assault, whether misdemeanors or felonies, will also remain in your file permanently. Crimes that involve children are also impossible to remove. For example, a conviction of sexual assault or one related to child pornography will remain in your file for life. Some states even keep separate registries for those who have been convicted of crimes against children and the expungement process will not affect them.

The eligibility to have documents pertaining to an arrest, conviction or detention removed, also depends on the laws of the jurisdiction in which the documents were rendered. The requirements usually include a waiting period between the time of the incident and its removal. There can be no additional occurrences between the initial incident and the time it is removed. Depending on the state, there will be only a certain number of prior incidents allowed. The nature of the offense cannot be deemed to be too serious. If a sentence was handed down, it must be completely served. If the petitioner was required to serve probation, it must be completed with no violations. Additionally, there can be no pending proceedings. It is highly probable that if the incident did not result in a conviction it will be removed with little difficulty. For example, if you were charged with a crime and found innocent, the judge will readily grant the removal. In some states, if you were found innocent of a crime you were charged with, you may also request a Certificate of innocence when having the incident removed from your record. This provides an official statement of your innocence and proves that the initial document should never have been instated.