Getting an expungement for a felony is no easy feat, as it is rare and usually limited to only a few types of felony crimes. To check if your felony has been expunged, contact the court, the state attorney or prosecutor's office, and the law enforcement agency that handled your felony case. If you do not hear from any of these sources within the response time allotted by the rules in your state or municipality, you may need to seek legal help. The expungement process and timelines vary by locality, but it typically takes several months from the time of the request before you can check whether an expungement has been granted.
Certification and Order Vs. Actual Expungement
An expungement usually requires that you first obtain a certification and order. If the expungement certification and order are granted, it indicates that your felony and application for expungement tentatively complies with the rules in your jurisdiction. The certification and order are not the same as having your record expunged; they merely indicate that you can move forward with the expungement process, usually by filing a petition or motion for expungement with the court.
The law enforcement agencies involved with your felony case, including parole and probation offices, review your request for an expungement. Depending on the expungement process in your jurisdiction, the court ultimately decides whether your felony will be expunged. If granted, the agencies have a certain amount of time, such as 30, 60 or 90 days, to expunge your record.
Checking on a Certification
To check on the status of a certification of compliance or an order, visit the court or state website you used to submit your request. States or municipalities that allow you to apply online often also allow you to check your status online. You can also check the status by writing to, or visiting in person, the office that accepted your request for a certification or petition for felony expungement.
Following Through With the Expungement
If you received notification that your expungement was granted by the court but you need to check if law enforcement agencies have complied with the order to expunge your felony case, you must check directly with each agency. An agency may object to expunging the record or may not be legally bound to expunge your felony. For example, if a state court grants your expungement request, but your felony record was sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation – a federal agency –the FBI may not have to follow the state-issued order to destroy your felony record. In this case, you may need to obtain legal representation to get law enforcement agencies to expunge your felony.
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