How to File an Expungement Form

By John Yargo

Expunging an old criminal record can bring tremendous relief. Usually, you cannot expunge a record that has more than one offense, but it's possible to expunge a single misdemeanor or even a felony. Some states require that your case is heard by the judge who made the original decision. Fill out the form, which varies from state to state, to apply for expungement.

How to File an Expungement Form

Contact the court clerk in the county in which you were convicted. Ask the court clerk for an expungement application. Often, this will come in one of two application types: an order to seal records (for cases in which there was no conviction) or an order concerning sealing of records (for cases that resulted in a conviction). State law determines what form the expungement application will take.

Procure an FD-258 or a state-issued (for instance, RI-8) fingerprint card with your fingerprints on them. Your local police department usually will comply with such a request. The application will specify whether you need one or two pairs of fingerprints.

Fill out the form accurately, providing relevant dates for convictions and crimes, required signatures and all relevant addresses (at the time of conviction and at present). All information should be scrupulously checked, as a mistake will get your application delayed or rejected in processing. Questions on the form will include how and where you are employed, your personal references and your history of community involvement. Make your request in a tone likely to elicit sympathy, but don't be maudlin.

Leave the appropriate pages blank. Every application has a place for the clerk or judge to mark her decision; if this page or section is tampered with, your application might be automatically rejected.

In your application, include information about how you have addressed whatever problem you might have had that led to your legal trouble. If you have completed anger management classes or attend group therapy, mention that. Any respectable forms of community involvement speak well of your character.

Convert the necessary fees into a cashier's check. In some states, you can apply for a fee waiver if necessary.

Photocopy the application for your own records. Mail the original to the clerk's office. If you can, attend the hearing with all proper documentation to make your case.

References

About the Author

John Yargo is a sports writer, living in Orlando, Fla. His work regularly appears in the "Jackson Free Press," and he has published articles on theater, fiction and art history. He has also received a master's degree in English.

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