How to Delete Public Records

By Lawrence Gould

Public records are legal documents that are available and open for the public to access and read. Although the process varies from state to state, the removal of such records can be quite difficult. Some states remove them after an allotted amount of time; but others, depending on the type of record, may keep them indefinitely. It is ultimately your responsiblity to determine your particular state's policy before proceeding and to know the basic set of skills required to aid in recording removal.

Determine whether the record is public. Not all information is public, for example, births are recorded and input permanently by the state and cannot be altered or deleted. Other public records such as marriages and divorce are input into a state's database and other than a credit report, require advice and assistance from a legal professional for removal.

Other public records such as those filed in a bankruptcy and for crimes committed, have life spans. With some exceptions---including felony records--- most of these files can be deleted.

If your criminal public record is a misdemeanor, ranging from a traffic ticket to a driving under the influence charge, you need to contact your local courthouse (or the courthouse of the county in which you were convicted of the crime). Be prepared to provide a document number for them to access the file. Typically in most states, if you only have one misdemeanor on file, it can be expunged. If you have multiple charges, they will have to remain on record for a life span, depending on state, of up to 7 years.

In order to have the record expunged, you must have completed the case in its entirety as well as performed any court-required therapy or community service.

If you are trying to delete a public record that is a felony, the rules change. In most states, unless proved innocent, a felony cannot be expungeed and must remain on public record for the maximum of, in some states, forever. You can appeal to have your record expunged, but unless you have had a retrial or new evidence has arisen, the chances are slim.

If you are trying to delete a bankruptcy from public records, you cannot unless the life span of the document has passed. According to the Federal Trade Commission, a bankruptcy must be kept in public records for 10 years. Be aware when your bankruptcy life span is over and stay in touch with the credit bureaus for prompt removal.

About the Author

Having conducted therapy for several years, Lawrence Gould decided to try his hand at writing in 2009. He has been published on Starpulse.com and various other websites and worked as a journalist at "TCpalm Newspaper" out of Vero Beach, Fla. Gould possesses a master's degree in psychology, a minor in English as well as extensive study in addiction.

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