While almost all states allow the expungement of certain criminal records, the process by which this is done varies from state to state, Nolo reports. Usually, the process starts by filing a petition for expungement with the court.
When considering an expungement, defendants should find out whether the crime meets the requirement as outlined in state law, Nolo advises. A few states have strict requirements and rarely allow the expungement of a criminal record, while others ask that defendants meet requirements such as the time frame as to how long ago the crime was committed, the severity of the crime, and whether the defendant has met the obligations and penalties imposed by the crime. It's more likely to get a first offense expunged rather that multiple violations, reports Nolo. Certain crimes such as violent crimes are rarely expunged. Most states require a fee when filing paperwork, and many courts offer downloadable forms available on their respective websites.