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.