How to Petition the Court for an Expungement

By Cindi Pearce
Some convictions can be expunged, while others cannot.

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When an individual asks a court to expunge his records this means to annihilate or erase a record, such as a criminal conviction. Depending on the state that you live in, this may or may not be possible. Each state has its own rules regarding expungement.

Consider that in some states before petitioning the court for expungement that you have to meet certain requisites, which qualify you for, or exclude you from, expungement. Those requirements may include that you are a first time offender and the case that you desire erased is that first time offense. A case cannot be considered for expungement, or successfully expunged, until the time frame designated by the revised code regarding that case in that state has expired.

Note that you cannot file for expungement if the offense that you were convicted of was violent, explains Erasecriminalrecord.com. If serving time is involved, this must be completed before you can petition for expungement. If you were convicted on the grounds of guilty by reason of sanity, if you have been treated and have recovered this gives you the right to seek expungement.

Determine where your criminal record is (in what court, in what state and in what county) and contact the clerk of courts. You will be required to fill out forms, explains Kinseylaw.com. You will need to know your case number; the date of your conviction; the code and section numbers that you were convicted of violating; the verdict, including whether you entered a plea and what that plea was; time spent on probation; fines or restitution that you were ordered to pay; time served and where; when released from prison and whether you were on parole. You can get your criminal records from your attorney or your parole or probation officer or from the court papers that you received at the time you were served.

Request a petition from the clerk of courts and complete the petition. File it with the clerk of courts in the county where you were convicted. Note that only one conviction can be dismissed at a time. If you have more than one conviction you may not be eligible for expungement but you can try. You will have to file a petition for each conviction. You may have to pay a fee.

Note that a hearing is set, which you will attend. If you can afford an attorney, take one. The judge will make a determination on your request at that time. Any time that an expungement request is made, a hearing must be held.

About the Author

Cindi Pearce is a graduate of Ohio University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in journalism. She completed both the undergraduate and graduate courses offered by the Institute of Children’s Literature. Pearce has been writing professionally for over 30 years.

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