How to Remove a Criminal Record from Your Background

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A criminal record is used by lenders or potential employers to assess a person's trustworthiness. It includes a record of all arrests and convictions. Most criminal records include pending charges, dismissed charges and non-expunged criminal and traffic offenses such as drunk driving and speeding. Past criminal records can make it difficult to get loans, jobs and approved background checks.

Retrieve a copy of your criminal record. Different criminal records exist at the local, state and federal levels. Most local police departments provide criminal records for a fee. Go to state police departments to receive a statewide criminal report. Consult with the FBI to obtain a federal criminal record.

Identify expungeable offenses in your state. Some crimes cannot be removed from a criminal record. For example, criminal records in most jurisdictions can only be removed if there are no convictions for a designated amount of time. Most sex offenses cannot be removed even if a person were not convicted. Consult with a lawyer to verify that your criminal record can be removed.

Read More: What Goes on a Criminal Record?

Begin the expungement process. Retrieve an expungement petition from your county Clerk of Court. Fill in the required information. Notarize the application. Deliver the paperwork along with a copy of your criminal record. Submit it to the court clerk. In most states, a hearing is required before a judge, who will set a tentative date.

Wait for your expungement to be approved. Removing a criminal record is a process that could take months for final approval. Most applicants whose criminal records qualify for dismissal and who meet all requirements are usually granted removal of their criminal record.


About the Author

Based in Dallas, Kelly Taylor has been writing freelance articles since 2000. Her articles have appeared in "Town Talk" magazine, "Advocate" newspaper, and "Stash Magazine." She holds a Master of Arts in English from Louisiana State University.

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  • Legal Law Justice image by Stacey Alexander from