If you have an offense on your criminal record, the records of the offense will remain on your record and in public view until you actively have the offense expunged. The expungement process may vary from state to state, so it is important to first determine your eligibility before beginning the expungement process. Once you determine your eligibility, you will begin the expungement process by filing a petition with the court that oversaw your conviction hearing.
How to file a petition to expunge an offense and related case from your criminal records:
- Complete the petition for criminal record expungement along with the general waiver and release form. In order to complete the petition as required, you will need information pertaining to your arrest and the related case such as the date of your arrest, the name of the arresting agency, and the kind of offense that you were arrested or convicted. You will also need to provide the final disposition and correlating court date.
- The filing fees vary depending on the county and courthouse. If you have multiple offenses, you may need to pay a separate fee per charge.
- The length of the expunging process from filing the petition to the verdict – granted or denied – may vary depending on the county and the number of charges you wish to expunge. Courts operate on a first-come, first-serve basis. The sooner you file your petition with the court, the sooner your case will be heard.
- Most importantly, the length of the expungement process depends on whether or not your petition and other court related documents are properly filed, and also on whether the District Attorney objects to your petition for expungement. If for any reason there is an objection to your petition for expungement, a court hearing will be scheduled where both you-the petitioner- and the District Attorney can present your cases and evidence to the judge. Ultimately, the judge makes the final ruling to grant or deny your petition for expungement.
Who has access to your criminal records after expungement?
Though expungements in most states allow you to legally deny the occurrence of the expunged offense to most people, there are still some instances in which certain employers and agencies are allowed to view your criminal record:
- The Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Agencies: Criminal justice and law enforcement agencies that may be able to see your criminal records may include police departments, probation departments, prosecutors, parole courts, correction officials as well as defense attorneys for future petitions. These agencies and officials are usually given access to your criminal record as a means to verify the accuracy of your criminal history record.
- Potential Employers:Potential employers can view your criminal records by contacting public agencies such as federal and state government agencies via fingerprint requests or court record requests. The potential employers that may be allowed to view your criminal records may include employers within the following fields: agencies involving child adoption or education, hospitals, schools, banks, museums, school transit companies and brokerage houses.
- Occupational Licensing Agencies:Occupational Licensing Agencies are all agencies that issue professional licenses.
The expungement process is complex and time sensitive, so it is vital to first establish your eligibility for expungement prior to filing the petition with the court. If you are eligibility for an expungement and you have satiated the mandatory waiting period, it is vital that you have as much information about the arrest and case related to your offense as possible. By accurately filing court documents and by understanding the expungement processes, you will better your chances of having your petition for expungement granted.