How do I get a criminal conviction expunged?

Updated November 22, 2016

If you have been convicted of a criminal offence, you may be able to expunge your record. Expungement means that the conviction will no longer appear on your criminal record. State laws and statutes differ, with some states allowing misdemeanours and felonies to be expunged, others allowing only misdemeanours, and still others not allowing any convictions to be expunged.

Research statutes to determine whether the state where you were convicted allows expungements for the offence for which you were convicted. State statutes can be found on court websites, at a law library or at a local library in the reference section.

Prepare a motion to expunge. Some states have forms available online or in the court offices. If a form is not available, title the motion the same as the original judgment of conviction, with the name of the court, names of the parties (the state and you) and the case number. Title the document "Motion to Expunge." In the motion, state what you were convicted of and when you were convicted, and briefly state why you feel you are entitled to have the conviction expunged.

Prepare an order. Title the order the same as the motion. In the body of the order, indicate that the court has received the motion to expunge and, after considering the motion, will either grant the motion or set if for a hearing. In some states, your right to have a conviction expunged is automatic, while in others it will require a hearing.

Attach a copy of the original judgment of conviction to the motion. File the motion with the clerk of the court where you were convicted. Send a copy to the prosecutor's office via certified mail.

Appear at the hearing if required. Answer all questions that the judge or the prosecutor asks you. Present any evidence that will help the judge grant your motion.

Things You'll Need

  • Copy of the original judgment of conviction
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About the Author

Renee Booker has been writing professionally since 2009 and was a practicing attorney for almost 10 years. She has had work published on Gadling, AOL's travel site. Booker holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Ohio State University and a Juris Doctorate from Indiana University School of Law.