How to expunge a shoplifting charge from your permanent record

Updated February 21, 2017

A conviction of shoplifting can become a part of your permanent record and affect your ability to gain employment or credit. However, in many cases shoplifting charges can be expunged, which clears the charge from your criminal record. The expungement process can be lengthy and cost money, but a clean permanent record is often worth it. Here's how to expunge a shoplifting charge.

Courts decide whether to expunge the record of a conviction based on behavior and conduct after the conviction and after the completion of any parole or probation you are assigned. You must demonstrate that you are attempting to live without crime and that your shoplifting incident is behind you.

Hire an attorney who specializes in criminal law to help you expunge your shoplifting charge. Alternatively, you can hire an expungement service to assist you.

Be aware that arrests for shoplifting without convictions can also affect your ability to get a job or affect your credit standing. These arrests can be expunged as well.

Expunging a misdemeanor shoplifting charge takes approximately 3 to 6 weeks, and a felony shoplifting charge can take 4 to 8 weeks to remove from your permanent record. Misdemeanors are easier to expunge than felonies.

State law varies regarding the types of crimes that can be expunged as well as the methods to go about expunging them. Check your state's requirements for expunging a record to find out if you are eligible.

Contact the Criminal Records Division of your state Justice Department and get a copy of your criminal record to ensure that your shoplifting charge has been removed.

Contact a civil rights group like the ACLU for more information regarding the rights granted by an expungement (see Resources below).


Once you have a conviction expunged, you can legally claim that you have never been convicted of a crime when filling out job applications or credit checks.


Costs associated with the process of expunging a record include lawyer's fees, court fees and a fee for the expungement itself.

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