How do you get criminal records sealed and expunged?


Quick Answer

Almost all states permit the sealing or the expungement of certain criminal records, states Nolo. However, check with your state for exact details on its specific process. Generally, the process starts by filing a petition for expungement at the local court. Occasionally, an attorney is needed.

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Full Answer

It is important to determine whether the crime you want expunged meets the requirements of the state. A few states are very strict and rarely expunge any criminal record. The majority do as long as you meet the following requirements that involve: how long ago the crime was committed, the severity of the crime, whether you have met the penalties and obligations incurred by the crime, and if you have multiple crimes. It is much more likely to get a first and only offense expunged rather than multiple offenses, according to Nolo. Multiple offenses present more difficulty and often require use of an attorney, and they still may be denied. Certain crimes, such as sex offenses and violent crimes, are rarely able to be expunged. Be prepared to pay a fee when you file the paperwork with the court, as this amount usually ranges between $50 and $100. Many cities offer downloadable expungement documents on their websites.

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