When a record is expunged in North Dakota, it will not be shown as existing when a background check is performed. Expunged records are obliterated, sealed, or destroyed according to North Dakota law. If a member of the general public performs a criminal records search, expunged records will not appear in the search.
The expunging of a record protects individuals from being unfairly misrepresented by a record that they may not deserve to have shared with the public. When a North Dakota court makes a decision to expunge a record, all depositories and electronic files containing information relating to the record must be sealed or deleted. It is important to destroy all identifiable information contained in DNA files obtained from a criminal record that has been expunged. Mug shots and fingerprints that are a part of an expunged record can no longer exist.
Not all agencies destroy expunged records. The court that declared the record expunged will still have the case on file. Also, the record can be opened for the purpose of a criminal investigation. If the person whose record was expunged is subject to a separate criminal trial, the expunged record may be opened. The court may use expunged records as a background check during a criminal trial but the public, such as employers, may not.
What Can be Expunged?
Records of conviction for one ounce or less of marijuana may be expunged in North Dakota. Hopeful employees who have been arrested for a small amount of marijuana will not have to worry about employers performing a background check and discovering the arrest. The court system does not want crimes to be punished unfairly, and a criminal records search for a minor crime should not prevent someone from being hired by an employer.
Records pertaining to cases that have been reversed or charges that have been dropped may be expunged. Any DNA or other identifiable information relating to a dismissed or dropped charge must be sealed or deleted by the agency in possession of it. A criminal records search may not show a picture or display physical measurements from an expunged record.
Who is Eligible for an Expungement?
● Someone convicted of being in possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. Person must have no other convictions and must wait two years from the completion of their trial.
● Any person whose record contains DNA information that has not resulted in a felony charge within one year.
● Any person whose case was dropped, dismissed, led to an acquittal, or a misdemeanor charge may be eligible for an expungement and the record will not be available in a background check.
● Any person whose charge did not require DNA information but still contains and does not result in a felony may be eligible for an expungement and removal from all criminal records searches.
How do you Expunge a Record in North Dakota?
Petitions to the court requesting an expungement and removal from all criminal records searches must be properly filled out and filed. The petition must come after the required two years since the completion of the trial. If granted, the court will notify all agencies in possession of information related to the expunged record. The record and all of its details will be removed from any possible background check searches