State laws govern procedure to expunge records and the laws vary from state to state. Each state lays down its own laws for what information can be expunged from records, who is eligible, and the process for expunging.
When statutory requirements to expunge a criminal record are met, the courts will allow a person to have his/her criminal record expunged. A person convicted of a crime can file a petition for expungement with the court. The courts may order expunging of the records only if it is proved that expungement is necessary for the furtherance of justice.
After the records are expunged, details of the offense, such as records of arrest, investigation, trial, detention, and conviction, will be sealed or eliminated from the state or federal repositories. However, in many states the records may not be completely sealed, and the expunged records will be available to law enforcement agencies. Records expunged may be opened if the person is charged with subsequent convictions or if conditions stipulated for expunging records are not complied with.
Expungements will be ordered by the courts based on the law of jurisdiction in which the record to be expunged was made. Records of less serious convictions are generally expunged. Often, grave offenses such as rape, offenses against minors can't be expunged. Many states also prohibit felony expungement. Convictions that can't be expunged include:
- Felonies committed on a person less than eighteen years of age
- First degree misdemeanors committed on a person under the age of eighteen years
- Offense of sexual battery
- Pornography or obscenity that involves a minor
- Corruption that involves a minor
- Offense of sexual imposition
Many states have laws that allow expunging criminal records of juvenile offenders charged with a crime. Record expungement seals the criminal history of delinquent acts of juveniles. The purpose of sealing juvenile records is to guard a juvenile offender from the negative impacts of criminal reports and arrest records. Expungement of criminal records allows a juvenile to lead a normal life on attaining maturity.
The expunged records cannot be accessed for making criminal history checks for general employment or licensing purposes. However, expunged records can be accessed for background checks for employment of law enforcement officers or jobs involving children or aged persons.
Apart from expungement of records, some states issue a Certificate of Rehabilitation (COR) to restore civil and political rights of persons convicted of crimes. A COR certifies that a person is currently complying with the laws and is showing good moral character.
Information on expunging and how to expunge are available on the US Legal Forms website. State-specific criminal record expunctions forms are also available on the US Legal Forms website.