How to Clear a Misdemeanor

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A misdemeanor is typically categorized as a minor criminal act that results in a significantly lesser punishment than a felony. While most misdemeanor crimes result in only minor or no jail time, they can have a long and aggravating effect on your record. This impact is most often seen when applying for a job that requires background information. In some cases, however, there may be a possibility of clearing your record by following a few steps.

Locate your State Bureau of Investigations contact information for background investigations. Complete necessary paperwork and submit the required payment for the service. Review the results of your background check to determine if you have a misdemeanor listed on your criminal history and the nature of the offense.

Hire an attorney. If you choose not to hire an attorney, research your state expungement laws. Determine if your specific charge and situation meet the eligibility requirements to receive an expungement. You will need to know the exact date the offense occurred and the disposition of the case.

Determine which court you are required to petition to clear the misdemeanor from your record. Call your local criminal court and ask which specific court office you need to petition. Obtain the proper forms required by the court. Complete all forms and return them to the appropriate court office.

Prepare to wait. Most court decisions can take months to conclude due to the court's case load and other extenuating circumstances. The court will consider your request based on the facts of the case and make a determination based on established guidelines. You will then be notified of the court's decision by mail.

Ask the court how long it will take for the misdemeanor to be cleared from your record. Allow for the appropriate amount of time to pass and have a second background check done to ensure the record has been removed. If the record is still listed, contact the court to ensure the expungement has been executed.


  • Attempting to file court petitions and motions without the advice of an attorney is not advised.


About the Author

Brittany Prock has worked as a freelance writer since 2009. She specializes in writing about diets and travel, and has been published online. Prock holds a Bachelor of Science in human services and a Master of Arts in elementary education from the University of Phoenix.

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