How Do You Expunge Your Criminal Records?

expunge-criminal-records Credit: Education Images/UIG/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

Criminal records can be expunged by first determining if the record is eligible for expungement and completing the necessary paperwork, according to Nolo. If a criminal record can be expunged, the individual may not need the help of an attorney. A fee often must be paid for record expungement.

Depending on the jurisdiction, only certain types of records may be eligible for expungement, such as minor convictions and arrests, notes Nolo. An individual may have to wait until he's served his sentence and terms of probation before he can apply for expungement. There are times where an expunged record can still show up on the databases of some licensing boards and police departments.

The best type of expungement is a Certificate of Actual Innocence, which proves the original criminal record should not exist, states Nolo. The criminal charges may have been dropped or the individual may have been found not guilty. In either case, the individual was proven innocent of the crime.

Records involving drug charges and juvenile cases are usually easier to have expunged, according to Nolo. A juvenile record can be expunged once the individual reaches the age of 18. A drug offender can enter a diversion program after which he can have his record expunged upon completion of the program.