Expungement of a felony is not as difficult as you would think. There is no doubt that the felony record will harm your reputation, but there are legal procedures to get a felony expunged. Once you follow them, you can get your records erased.
On a crime scale, a felony is considered most severe among all crimes. You may even be tried by a federal court for your crimes. There are possibilities that you might be kept at a prison facility outside your state, depending on the crime you committed.
Something as serious as threatening to kill someone or assaulting a person physically using a dangerous weapon could leave you cooling your heels in a prison for nearly a year or even life. This means that getting a felony expunged depends on the time duration between your previous crime and the date of petitioning for a felony expungement.
In order to get a felony record expungement, you need to first check your state laws and how they deal with various crimes. It is a good idea to just visit your court house or consult the website of your state or county to have a look at the list of crimes that can be expunged. The procedures to get a felony expunged from record are different in every state. There are some states that might let you expunge your traffic violations and even DUI records, but not all states are lenient. Some places might have stricter laws regarding even a minor violation such as shoplifting or a major one like vandalizing public property and causing public disturbance in a drunken state.
Before all this, check if your crime comes under federal or state laws.
A federal felony is classified as a crime done by a perpetrator against the government within federal boundaries or committed in one state or more. Such crimes can be punishable by death or earn the convict a life sentence. Each of the above crimes, if committed on federal grounds, can lead to long-term convictions.
It is not easy to get a federal felony expunged. The only way to get such a felony expunged is to apply for a presidential pardon. In such case, the federal court brings the convict to trial and pronounces the verdict. But there is an important condition here. A person convicted of a federal crime, who is applying for the presidential pardon, needs to wait for at least five years after his last conviction.
There are some felonies that can be classified under federal crimes:
- Robbing a bank
- Frauds in mails
- Peddling of drugs and ammunition
- Committing crimes against children
- Sexual crimes
- White-collar crimes such as financial frauds
- Illegal immigration (outside and inside the country)
- Flesh trade
The following documents need to be submitted while applying for a presidential pardon:
- Personal details
These include your full name, your residing state, exact home address, current phone number, a Social Security Number, date/place of birth
- Details of citizenship
This should mention whether you are a naturalized citizen along with details on where you were naturalized.
- Conviction records
Types of plea, court name, the crime and its exact details, date when you were convicted, jail term, and the appeal made to expunge the records.
- Biographical and family details
Information on all family members and relatives
- Residence details
Exact address of the places where you lived
- Job details
Give details on wherever you have worked earlier and a history of your employment.
- Previous criminal records
List out all the previous crimes and details of where you were convicted or charged.
- Financial information
Mention the exact name of your bank and submit a record of all your bank statements.
- Military records (if any)
Mention this in case you have served the army.
- Reason to seek Presidential pardon
Write a letter stating valid reasons to get a pardon from the President. This can include proof of a reformed life. For instance, if you are applying for a job or want to further your education.
There is a form to fill out a personal oath stating that the information and documents that you have provided along with the application for pardon, are all true. This is followed by your signature proving the same.
- Up to 3 character certificates
Last, but not least, provide at least three affidavits or undertakings from your acquaintances, neighbors, family members or friends who know you well, accompanied by their complete contact details.
Do not forget that it doesn’t take long for these records to be made public by local law enforcement bodies. So before you get embarrassed by your own felony records, make sure you get them expunged!