How to Expunge a Disordely Conduct Charge

By Michael J. Scott

Disorderly conduct is typically defined as creating an unnecessary noise or disruption in a public place. It can range from a protest that gets out of hand to a large party that disturbs the neighbors. Luckily for people who find themselves on the receiving end of a disorderly conduct conviction, the crime is not often serious. As disorderly conduct is a misdemeanor in most states, having the conviction removed is usually a fairly simple process, provided you meet the eligibility requirements.

Make sure you are eligible. Expungement is not a matter of right. You have to meet certain eligibility requirements for your state. Typically it involves having no further criminal convictions within a certain time frame. The period can range from three years to 10 years in most states. Some states do not allow the expungement of any criminal conviction, even minor misdemeanors like disorderly conduct.

Request certified copies of your criminal record from your state's bureau of criminal identification. You will have to provide copies of your criminal history to any parties needing to approve your expungement, so request as many as you need.

Fill out the petition for expungement. To have your disorderly conduct charge expunged you will have to petition the convicting court in your state. Most states have an online form that you can download and fill out. The application is quite lengthy, and most states require it to be notarized.

Obtain the approval of the necessary parties. In some states getting an expungement is as simple as having the court sign off on it. Other states require a full hearing before the judge. In most states you must get the approval of both the convicting court and the prosecuting agency who handled the case. Neither the judge nor the prosecutor is obligated to agree to your expungement request. If they deny you, unfortunately you are out of luck.

File the expungement with your state's bureau of criminal identification. You will be required to pay a filing fee at the time you submit the completed application. The fee is typically around $100, but the costs vary by state. You will likely have to wait a few months before hearing back on the final approval. If your request is approved, your disorderly conduct charge or conviction will no longer appear on your record.

About the Author

Michael Scott is a freelance writer and professor of justice studies at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah, and is a former prosecutor. Scott has a J.D. from Emory University and is a member of the Utah State Bar. He has been freelancing since June 2009, and his articles have been published on eHow.com and Travels.com.

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