How to Fix Your Criminal Background

By Andrea Austin

To fix or expunge your criminal background, you must first contact the courts in that state and file a petition or motion giving a reason why such a request should be granted. For the courts to hear the issue, you must first have completed the entire term of the sentence handed down by the courts. An expungement only removes the offense from public eye, but law-enforcement agencies as well as courts and other governmental agencies will still have access to the record in its entirety.

How To Fix Your Criminal Background

Contact an attorney to represent you. Expungement cases must be filed with the proper paperwork, and it is better to have an attorney represent you through the process to ensure it is done correctly. If you cannot afford an attorney, many locales have Legal Aid offices that can provide advice and help.

Complete the form yourself if you cannot afford an attorney or cannot find assistance with Legal Aid. If the forms are not completed correctly, your motion to expunge will be denied. Visit your local police department to have your fingerprints taken. Collect two sets of prints if you are an adult. Juveniles need to provide only one set to the courts.

Visit the court house and obtain a certified copy of the judgments against you. If you are an adult, you will need only one copy of the judgment rendered against you, but juveniles also need a copy of what is called an Order of Disposition.

Contact the courts for the proper amount and file the paperwork along with the court fees and application. The filing fee varies from state to state. If you cannot afford the costs of filing, ask the courts for a fee waiver that may help curb the costs or eliminate them.

Complete an Application to Set Aside Conviction if you are an adult. Juveniles will need to complete a form entitled Application to Set Aside Adjudication. These are attached to the packet that you are submitting into court. These forms must be notarized before filing.

Photocopy at least five copies of the application itself and four copies of the document Certified Copy of your Judgment Sentence (for juveniles it is called certified Order of Disposition). These must be mailed or hand-delivered to the court clerk. The clerk will complete the section Notice of Hearing on your original application and return four copies of the application to you after date-stamping them. This section is important as it houses all the information you need, including the date when your case will heard by the judges. Mail copies of the fingerprint card, any fees needed and the application along with a copy Judgment of Sentence or Order of Disposition to the local police department.

Send the same packet certified mail to the state attorney general's office and the prosecutors office in the county where you were incarcerated.

Complete the Proof of Service and return it to court.

Complete the Draft Order on the application to Set Aside Conviction and make several extra copies.Go to court on the date entered on the application by the clerk and clearly answer any questions presented by the judge. If the courts grant your request, send one copy of the orders to the state police records division to have on file and keep a copy in your possession at all times.

About the Author

Andrea Austin, a freelance writer for 23 years, has an M.A. in English, B.A. in Biology and A.A. in humanities. Austin has published articles in "Entertainment Weekly," Associated Content, Ezine Articles and online for Hostile Magazine. She maintains several blogs, including her own, for Solar Entertainment Music Group.

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