It can be especially tough to find a job with a criminal record looming in your past, but not all crimes have to stay with a person for his entire life. Having a criminal record expunged can help those looking for a fresh start in life receive the break they've been longing for. The process of having a criminal record expunged is lengthy; but the benefits of having a clean criminal record far outweigh the inconvenience of the process involved.
- Skill level:
Gather all the vital information. The information needed to begin the process includes the date of the arrest, the offence you were arrested for, the original summons, warrant, complaint number or indictment. Also needed are the dates of the disposition or the date of the plea of "not guilty," as well as the specific punishment rendered by the court.
Fill out the forms. There are six forms that need to be filled out and filed for criminal record expungement. The forms include the following: 1) Request for Police Records, 2) Petition for Expungement, 3) Order for Hearing, 4) Expungement Order, 5) Cover Letter and 6) Proof of Notice.
File the forms and have them served to the proper destinations. Three copies should be made of the Petition for Expungement, the Order for Hearing, and the proposed Expungement Order. Once the forms have been filed, you will receive copies of the forms mentioned above with docket numbers stamped on them, and they will be marked as filed.
Make seven copies of each of the three forms mentioned in Step 3. The seven copies should be mailed to the following government agencies via certified mail: The Attorney General, the Superintendent of State Police-Expungement Unit, the County Prosecutor, the Court Clerk, the Chief of Police where the offence was committed, the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the state where the offence took place, and the warden of any institution where the person in question was incarcerated. The county probation office should be notified if the case involved a conditional discharge or pretrial intervention.
Wait for your hearing to be set. Not all jurisdictions require attendance, but it would be in your best interested to attend, arrive early and be well dressed. If there is no opposition presented against the expungement, your record will more than likely be cleared by the judge. If there is an opposition, most likely from a law enforcement officer, the judge will hear his side of the story and then make the final decision.
Receive a copy of the expungement order; this is signed by the judge and stamped as filed by the court. Make copies of this form and mail it to the government agencies listed in Step 4, plus the records division of any institution where you were incarcerated, as well as the identification bureau where the arrest was made.
Tips and warnings
- Make sure all of the forms are filled out with the proper information and are truthful in regards to facts about the arrest and the punishment rendered.
- Follow all steps. If one step is not completed properly, the expungement will more than likely be denied.
- Be aware that expungement may not be available in your state or for certain offences. Expungement may also be limited to only those convictions that are reversed. Contact an experienced criminal attorney for more information on the process of criminal expungement in your state.
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