If you have a nonviolent criminal past and find it difficult to land a job or rent an apartment, you might feel stuck and held back by your past.
An expungement seals a person’s criminal record so that certain eligible crimes are no longer part of their record. The expunged crime will no longer appear in a criminal record search. In most circumstances, you no longer have to disclose the arrest.
What misdemeanors are eligible for expungement?
Dismissed, remanded or non-adjudicated misdemeanors and misdemeanors without convictions are eligible for expungement. Expungement is also possible for some first offense convictions. Traffic violations do not qualify for expungement.
When are felonies eligible for expungement?
Similar to misdemeanors, dismissed, remanded and non-adjudicated felonies may be eligible for expungement if there was no conviction. Additionally, you may be eligible if you committed a nonviolent felony before age 18.
Are felony convictions eligible for expungement?
First offense convictions for the following felonies are also eligible for expungement under certain circumstances:
- Bad checks offenses
- Possession of a controlled substance
- False pretense
- Suspicious mischief
- Felony shoplifting
You must have been a first offender and completed all terms outlined by the court at least five years ago to be eligible for expungement of these felonies.
An arrest for a criminal charge, even if later dropped, will appear on your criminal record. Having a criminal record is often a barrier to moving forward in life with things like employment and education. With your record expunged, future potential employers, schools, landlords and neighbors will not learn about your past arrest even if they search your criminal record legally.