Table of Contents:
- How to Expunge Your Record in Florida
- How to Expunge Your Record in Georgia
- How to Expunge your California criminal record
- How to Expunge My Criminal Record in North Carolina
- How to Expunge a Criminal Record in Illinois
- How to Get a Criminal Record Expunged in Indiana
- How to Get a Criminal Charge Expunged From Your Record in New Mexico
- How to Expunge Your Criminal Record in South Carolina
- How to Expunge a Criminal Record in Iowa
- How to Expunge Your Ohio Criminal Record
- How to Expunge Criminal Records in Texas
- How to Expunge Criminal Records in Maryland
- How to Get a Criminal Record Expunged in Oregon
How to Expunge Your Record in Florida
Determine your eligibility. In order to have your record sealed or expunged you must meet certain requirements. Your case must be closed, you must never have had a record sealed or expunged in the past, you must never have been convicted of a crime, and you must not be on parole or probation. If you meet those requirements, you can complete the application process.
Apply for a Certificate of Eligibility. Obtain the application from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and complete it as accurately as possible. The form asks for your personal information, and information about the charge(s).
Have the application notarized. Visit a notary public and have them notarize your form. They will require that you sign the form in front of them, and then they will notarize it. Most notaries charge a nominal fee.
Complete a fingerprint form. Attached to the application is a fingerprint form, which requires that you provide fingerprints. This must accompany your application.
Obtain a certified copy of the disposition in your case. This can be done by contacting the clerk of court in the county that you were charged in and providing them with information regarding your case.
Mail your application packet. The packet should include your application, your fingerprint form, the certified copy of your disposition, and a $75.00 fee to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The application must be mailed to: Florida Department of Law Enforcement ATTN: Expunge/Seal Section P.O. Box 1489 Tallahassee, Florida 32302-1489
If ordered, appear in court. Sometimes expungements are granted without a court appearance, which means that once you mail your application packet there is nothing left for you to do. However, in some cases the judge will grant a court date, and require your presence in court.
Georgia law permits the sealing of criminal records in limited circumstances, notably if you were found not guilty of the offense or your case was dismissed. Sealing your record from public view is no longer called expungement in Georgia. The process is now known as record restriction, which means that eligible records on your official criminal history report are restricted from public view and are only accessible to law enforcement for criminal justice purposes. Whether you can have your record restricted depends on when you were arrested and how your case was resolved. In Georgia, criminal records are maintained by the Georgia Crime Information Center.
Check if Your Case Is Eligible for Restriction
Felony and most misdemeanor convictions cannot be restricted from your record. Generally, you can restrict charges that were dismissed without being referred to the state prosecutor, and not guilty verdicts, unless there are compelling reasons why the court should not restrict your records, for example, evidence of jury tampering. Georgia law does not allow for the sealing of an entire criminal history. You must apply separately for each eligible arrest.
Arrests That Occurred Before July 1, 2013
By Georgia law, acquittals and dismissals that occurred before July 1, 2013 can be dismissed via the arresting law enforcement agency in the county where the charge originated. Visit the arresting agency and ask for an application to restrict your record. Fill out section one of the application and file it with the arresting agency. The maximum filing fee is $50.
Within 30 days, the agency must send your request to the prosecuting attorney's office to confirm that your case qualifies for restriction. The attorney's office has 90 days to approve or deny the request. The whole process should take no longer than 150 days. If your application is successful, send the approval to GCIC with a $25 money order. GCIC will restrict the charge from your record.
Arrests That Occurred After July 1, 2013
If you were arrested after July 1, 2013, you don't have to apply for restriction or pay a fee. Instead, the arrest automatically will be restricted when the court clerk enters the acquittal or dismissal into the GCIC database.
Restriction by Court Order
Other types of cases may be eligible for restriction by order of the superior court. These include:
- cases that are suspended indefinitely, known as dead docket cases: If the state has not moved forward with the prosecution after 12 months, you can ask the court to restrict the record.
- minor misdemeanor convictions that occurred before the age of 21: You must have maintained a clear record in the five years after the charge.
- felony charges: You were cleared of the felony but convicted of an unrelated misdemeanor.
To restrict these records, file petition in the superior court in the county where the record is located. Find sample petition documents at the Georgia Justice Project's website. Depending on the circumstances, you may be asked to attend a hearing within 90 days of filing the petition or the court may simply order that the record be restricted without a hearing.
Obtain and review the paperwork relating to your criminal record. At the time of your conviction, copies of documents relating to your conviction should have been provided to you; if you can't locate them, you should be able to obtain them from your attorney if you retained one while your case was open. If not, call or write the clerk's office at the California Superior Court where you were convicted to make arrangements to get copies of your criminal record.
Find out whether or not your record is eligible to be expunged; not all misdemeanors or felonies are eligible to be erased in California. To be eligible, you must have either successfully completed probation or been granted an early release from probation by the court. Additionally, you must have fully paid any court-mandated fines associated with your conviction and you can't be charged with or convicted of any other crimes.
Contact the court to ask for an early release from probation, if necessary. Do this by filling out a PC 1203.3 petition form, and filing it with the court clerk, along with a letter stating why you deserve to be released from probation early. The PC 1203.3 form can be downloaded from California's official courts website (courtinfo.ca.gov) or obtained from any state Superior Court clerk's office.
Fill out and submit to the court a Form CR-180, or Petition for Dismissal, if you've finished probation or have been granted an early release from it. Return the form, with any other supporting documentation, to the Superior Court where you were convicted.
Testify before a judge, if necessary. Depending on the judge, Superior Court branch and type of crime committed, you may be required to stand before a judge and tell why you deserve to have your California criminal record expunged. If you file your paperwork and receive a notice in the mail to appear before a judge, show up at the appointed time and date given to you and state your case.
Expunging a criminal record in North Carolina is relatively rare because only three categories of offenses qualify. To expunge your record, complete the state's petition, provide certain documents, pay a filing fee and wait several months for a response. A criminal expunction, also known as expungement, can clear previous run-ins with the law, as it destroys your criminal record through court order.
Petition and Order of Expunction Form
North Carolina's form for requesting and granting an expunction is called a "Petition and Order of Expunction." The two-page application must first be filled out by the petitioner seeking expungement. The rest of the document is completed by government officials upon a full review of the application, supporting documents, records and other findings. The petition requires the following information from you:
- Identity: Full name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, driver's license number, race, sex, and age at time of the offense
- Name and address of attorney, if applicable
- Name and address of arresting agency and any other agencies that were involved. Attach a list of additional agencies if there were more than three.
Offense information: File numbers, arrest dates, description of the offense, date of the offense, disposition
the court's final determination, and disposition date.
You must also select from a list of certifications regarding your offense and sign the petition.
Affidavits Affirm Your Good Standing
You must attach affidavits to the petition. The affidavits must be notarized and must state:
- You are of good moral character since your offense, and have had no convictions other than traffic citations.
- You do not owe restitution to any victims or have any outstanding civil judgments.
Two persons unrelated to you and unrelated to one another must provide affidavits stating that you are of good moral character in the North Carolina community where you reside.
Serving the District Attorney
You must serve the petition and supporting documents on the district attorney's office of the North Carolina court where the charge occurred. An assistant to the district attorney signs the middle portion of the first page of the petition to acknowledge it has been served. The district attorney has 10 days to file an objection.
Filing With the Clerk of Courts
The North Carolina county in which you file may require you to attach a certified copy of your criminal record at the time of the petition's filing with the clerk of courts. Filing costs $175 and is payable to the clerk at the time you file. You may not have to pay the fee if you qualify for a waiver due to indigent status. If you receive food stamps, Social Security Income, or certain other benefits, you may qualify for the waiver.
Determine if the person is eligible to petition for his criminal record to be expunged. Refer to the short list found in the description or the detailed list provided by the Illinois attorney general.
Download the "Petition to Expunge" and "Order to Expunge" forms from the Illinois Office of the Appellate Defender website.
Fill out the entire "Petition to Expunge" form, but only the first two pages of the "Order to Expunge" form.
Attach proof of a recent drug test (taken within the last 30 days), if the petition concerns a felony first offender drug or Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC) probation case. Remember, felonies may only be expunged if the case was dismissed or the person was declared not guilty.
Notarize the signature on the "Petition to Expunge" form.
Make one copy of the "Order to Expunge" form and six copies of the "Petition to Expunge" form.
Take the original forms to the county where the arrest was made and file them with the local circuit clerk. The clerk also needs the names and addresses of the following entities: the state's attorney of the county the forms are filed in, the Illinois State Police, Bureau of Identification, 260 N. Chicago St., Joliet, IL 60431-1342, the arresting authority, and the chief legal officer of the branch of local government which made the arrest.
Keep two of the "Petition to Expunge" copies and the copy of the "Order to Expunge" form. The other four copies will be sent to the entities listed in the previous step.
Wait up to a maximum of 60 days to see if one of the previously mentioned entities files an objection to the petition.
Attend court if ordered to do so. Not all petitions will require a hearing for the judge to render a decision.
Pay any associated fees if the petition is granted. Some counties will require certain fees to be paid. These generally include mailing fees and/or certification fees. All counties require a fee to have the record officially expunged. Certain counties will request this fee be paid upon filing while others make the request after the petition is granted.
Obtain a copy of your criminal history from the Indiana State Police repository of criminal records, which maintains very limited information for public searches. Searches can be conducted at the Indiana State Police web site at http://www.in.gov/ai/appfiles/isp-lch/.
Visit the police department that arrested you in the past and the court that handled your case or would have handled your case before the charges were dropped. Ask for all documents containing your name. They will probably have much more information than the state repository, but it's important to make sure you are aware of all documents that are out there before you petition the court for expungement.
Submit an expungement petition to the court drafted by an attorney with experience in criminal record sealing and expungement who will most likely cite Indiana case law where someone's criminal record was expunged in similar circumstances. Copies of the petition will be sent to all of the involved agencies, which can respond with a notice of opposition as to why the records should not be expunged. The court can review if the state's provisions for expungement apply to your case and grant or deny your request immediately, or it can schedule a hearing to review more information.
Gather existing information you have on your arrest or criminal records. Check you own files for old copies of police reports, court dispositions or any correspondence with police and courts. You'll need the date (or at least the year of the arrest and estimated month), the arresting police agency and the location of the incident.
Contact the arresting police agency. Provide the information you recall or were able to gather. Based on that, officers may be able to provide copies of their original report as well as any details of the incident and resulting police and/or court action that you could not recall. There is a chance that the police agency does not have the record, but that does not mean it does not exist somewhere else.
Visit the criminal court that handled the case, or the one that would have had jurisdiction over the community where the crime or alleged crime took place. Even if the charges were dropped before the case went to court, you want to verify if any record of the incident or arrest exists in the court files.
Call the New Mexico Department of Public Safety Law Enforcement Records Bureau at 505-827-9181 and request a petition to expunge arrest information. Petitions must be initially requested in that manner and cannot be obtained on its website. Provide details on the alleged incident, the arrest or charge and how the case was resolved. Let the agency know where arrest records exist if you have that information. But even if you don't know if records exist, the same request for expungement should be made.
Find out if you are eligible. Specific guidelines exist regarding record expungement eligibility. Contact a lawyer, county clerk or law enforcement official for more details.
Prepare a proposed order. The order must be typed and follow guidelines set by the South Carolina court system. For proper formatting, have your order prepared by a legal professional.
Submit your order to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division for verification. As of November 2010, you will need to pay a $25 filing fee, payable by money order.
Obtain the signature of the solicitor or deputy solicitor on your order.
Obtain the approval and signature of a Circuit Court judge on your order.
File the original, signed order at the Office of the Clerk of Court. Pay a $250 filing fee, payable by money order.
Obtain certified copies of your order from the Office of the Clerk of Court.
Deliver certified copies of your order to legal agencies including legal teams and law enforcement.
Only minor alcohol-related convictions and deferred judgments can be expunged from an Iowa criminal record. A deferred judgment is where the court allows you to successfully complete a probationary period in lieu of serving a jail sentence. You can also petition the court to have dismissals or acquittals of old criminal cases removed from your record. Expunging a case means that the public will no longer be able to see it in the public records. The record does not disappear completely, however, since the court, prosecutors and law enforcement officials are still able to access the information in certain circumstances.
Expunging Alcohol-Related Offenses
If you were convicted of being intoxicated in public, you can petition the court that handed down the conviction to expunge your record after two years have passed since the conviction. You must not have received any other convictions in the meantime, except minor traffic violations. Minors convicted for consuming or possessing alcohol under the legal age can apply for expungement after the same two-year period has passed.
Expunging Completed Deferred Judgments
Another basis for seeking expungement is where the outcome of your case was a deferred judgment and you were put on probation. If the deferred judgment occurred after July 1, 2013, and you’ve successfully completed your probation, you don’t need to do anything. The record will automatically be sealed from public view. For older deferred judgments, you’ll need to petition the court for expungement.
Expunging Dismissals and Acquittals
Since January 1, 2016, the Iowa courts will expunge cases that resulted in either a dismissal or a not-guilty verdict. The new law applies to all crimes except for simple misdemeanor traffic charges, even if they occurred before January 1, 2016. This means that you can file a petition to have your record expunged even if the case was heard before the new law came into effect. To qualify, you must have paid all court fees and fines ordered by the court as part of your original case. You’ll also need to wait a minimum of 180 days from the acquittal or dismissal before filing a petition for expungement.
Filing for Expungement
Whatever type of record you want expunged, the first step is to draft a legal pleading known as a petition. There’s no specific form of this petition in Iowa, but you can use a template instead of starting from scratch. The University of Iowa has produced some helpful tools which you can find on their website at legal.studentlife.uiowa.edu/resources. Include the case number, trial date and conviction so the court can identify your case, then simply request that your criminal record be expunged. Sign and date the petition and file it with the county courthouse. The judge will review the petition and either grant the expungement without a hearing or ask that you appear in court. If you meet the criteria and the district attorney's office doesn't object, the court will usually enter the order expunging the record.
Effect of Expungement
Once the court expunges your record, members of the public will no longer be able to see it, and the record won’t show up on regular background checks such as those carried out by employers and landlords. The expunged record doesn’t disappear completely, however – it gets placed on a private list. Law enforcement, court staff, the department of corrections and the county attorney’s office can see this list, and the expunged conviction can impact your sentence if you’re convicted of a new crime.
Getting Your Record Expunged
Fill out an application for expungement and submit it to the clerk's office of the court in which you were convicted. You will need to include a $110 fee (as of 2010) as well as a copy of your order of conviction. Make three copies of your completed application, and be sure to also have the probation office fill out its part of the application before submission.
The court will review your application for expungement. Submitting your application will prompt the court to set a hearing date (usually about six weeks later) as well as forwarding your request to the prosecutor from your original case. The court will check your criminal record to confirm that you are a first-time offender and have no pending charges. It will also weigh any objections filed by the prosecutor.
Meet with a probation officer. You must complete this requirement before your expungement hearing.
Attend the expungement hearing. You will be expected to talk about how you've changed. The judge must be convinced that you have learned from your mistake. The prosecutor will have a final opportunity to object to your record being expunged.
If successful, the court will order all official records deleted. This is usually completed with five weeks from the judge's order.
Get a copy of the court form "Petition to Clear Record" from the court clerk's office in the county where you were arrested. Also get a copy of the court form "Order to Clear Record." You may also find the forms online from a legal services organization, such as Texas Law Help. You will also need to submit a record of your fingerprints, so you should also ask the clerk the procedure used by the court for fingerprinting in expunction cases.
Prepare the Petition to Clear Record by filling in your identifying information in the appropriate blank spaces, including the information regarding your arrest that you want cleared. You will also have to list on the form all agencies that have a record of your arrest and check the box describing the basis for your petition. After completing the form, sign it in front of a notary. You should make several copies.
File your petition and fingerprints at the clerk's office in the county where you were arrested. Request that the clerk stamp the court filing information (case number and date) on several of the copies of the petition you made. Keep at least one copy for your records. Send one copy by certified mail, return receipt requested, to the district attorney's office. The court will notify you by mail of the hearing date for your petition.
Prepare for the hearing on your petition by filling in as much information as you can on the Order to Clear Record. You must take this form with you to the hearing so that the judge can complete the order after granting your petition. You should also bring to the hearing your proof of mailing the petition to the district attorney's office, in case there is any question that it was done.
Attend the hearing on your petition, which is mandatory in order to have your petition granted.
Obtain a petition for "Expungement of Police and Court Records" and the "General Waiver and Release" form at any district or circuit court. You can also find these forms online at mdcourts.gov.
Fill out the forms properly. In order to do this, you must have the case number, the date you were arrested, the law enforcement agency that arrested you, the official offense(s) by which you were charged, and the date the case was completed.
File the forms and give a copy to the state's attorney and each law enforcement agency mentioned in the petition. Also, be sure to file the paperwork at the court in which you were originally summoned. Finally, pay the fees associated with filing the paperwork. A decision on your request should take approximately 90 days from the date you file the paperwork. If your application is found acceptable, your records will be expunged and you will no longer have the crime on your record.
Have your fingerprints taken. This can be done for a nominal fee by any Oregon police agency, and you will be given an official fingerprint card that is signed by wherever you get your fingerprints taken. Be sure the fingerprint card notes that these prints are being taken for the purpose of an expunction application.
Fill out the three necessary forms (see Resources). The first form is a Motion to Set Aside Conviction and Seal Records of Arrest. The one-page form only requires your name, signature, date of birth and mailing address. The second form is an Affidavit in Support of Motion to Set Aside Conviction and Seal Records of Arrest. This two-page document requires you to detail your past conviction and makes you vow that you meet the requirements for expunction, and it must be signed in front of a notary. The third form is an Order to Set Aside Conviction and Seal Records of Arrest. This form is filled out in advance so that if your application is approved by the courts, the order for expunction just has to be completed and signed by the judge.
File your paperwork. Mail or take in person your three forms and fingerprint card to your county’s circuit court. You will also have to pay $330 in fees to submit the application.
Attend the hearing if there is one. After your application for expunction is submitted, a copy is sent to the district attorney who handled your initial conviction, and the prosecutor is given the opportunity to object to your expunction application. If there is an objection, a court hearing will be sent for you and the prosecutor to argue your sides in front of a judge, who will then decide whether to expunge the conviction.
Wait for the records to be expunged. After the judge signs the expunction order, it will be entered into the record by the court clerk. The court records will be sealed and removed from public access, and all state law enforcement agencies will be sent a copy of the expunction order.