Home Expungements

Expungements

Expungement

Idaho Expungement Laws

Idaho Expungement Laws

Once arrested or convicted of a crime there is an open file that exists with all details pertaining to the incident that took place in a person's life. This information is easily accessible to anyone that wants to run a background check on you, and if a record is found, it can cause a significant amount of setbacks. Trying to effectively bring closure to setbacks like this can seem far-fetched and is usually unheard of to many people. 

However, within each State, there are laws made for people who go through situations like this. Expungement laws exist to help people bring a remedy to these types of problems. In the State of Idaho, when you expunge your record,  the record pertaining to any previous criminal charges is destroyed. When your record is destroyed, it can no longer be viewed by the general public.

By law, when Idaho expunges your file, they destroy DNA records, photos of juveniles, fingerprints, and anything else pertaining to criminal histories. The drawback to this benefit is that there are certain conditions under which a person needs to fall to be eligible.

In the case of juveniles, if any juvenile is taken into custody, they have the right to request expungements of their mug shots and fingerprints. The court however, may not expunge a conviction to a juvenile for certain crimes. Some of them include: aggravated battery, armed robbery, arson, injury to a child, or murder of degree. 

People judged as a juvenile may petition expungement of their records five years after they have finished reporting to their court’s jurisdiction. They can also petition five years after their release from a juvenile corrections facility.

In adult cases, any person who was arrested but not charged within one year of the arrest and having been acquitted of all charges may petition a judge for their arrest record to be expunged. If a DNA profile was included into a database but the case was dismissed, then a person can also send a written request for expungement.

When a person is convicted, it is extremely important that they completely fulfill the requirements of their probation. Any violation of probation compromises their opportunity for expungement. Expungements also do not provide relief for multiple offenders. In many cases, if, in the future, a person is tried for a similar crime, his or her punishment would be enhanced. 

A person with an existing arrest or conviction should be interested in looking into his or her criminal past and consider exploring expungement. Most professional attorneys charge a one-time fee and are filled with knowledge about these laws. It is advised that you seek the assistance of an attorney to pre-determine the eligibility of your case.

The entire process usually takes 6-8 months and upon completion can provide a new lease on life.  Life can be a series of constant hurdles. No one wants a previous arrest or conviction stemming from their past coming back to haunt them. Contact Idaho lawyers to consult your case.

 

Illinois Expungement Laws

Illinois Expungement Laws

Under Illinois law, certain criminal records can be removed through a process of expungement. This can only happen if an individual is eligible to do so, usually depending on the nature of the crime. For this to happen, that individual must petition the court to have those records removed from public access, otherwise the record remains public.

A court evaluates the petition by determining if the harm from the criminal record to the individual exceeds the harm to the public from destroying the record. If a judge decides to grant the petition, there are one of two possible outcomes: the judge may decide to have the record expunged or sealed.

If a judge decides to seal the criminal record, then the only ones with access to the record are law enforcement officials. The general public will usually not have access and it will be vacant from any public listings. One the other hand, the judge may grant an expungement. This means that the record is erased as if it had never existed. This involves returning all physical documents to the petitioner, including fingerprint documents, police reports and photographs that were created during the arrest. In addition, the court clerk erases all known records, including physical and electronic records.

The Illinois law on expungement states that in order to expunge a criminal record, one or more of the following must be true:

● The defendant has been found not guilty of the crime;

● The defendant was released in terms other than conviction;

● There was no finding of probable cause;

● The case was nolle prosequi, meaning that the State's Attorney dismissed the case;

● A conviction or sentence placed on the defendant was later set aside by the court;

● The Governor of Illinois issued a pardon on the defendant;

● The defendant has been ordered supervision and two years passed after completion of the supervision;

● The case involved one of the following and five years has passed since completion of supervision:

● Uninsured motor vehicle

● Suspended registration

● Having false insurance

● Reckless driving

● Retail theft

● Possession of marijuana and other controlled substances.

There are some cases which are not qualified for Illinois expungement. These include:

● A defendant is found guilty;

● The defendant is given probation;

● The defendant is given a sentence of supervision or conviction for a sexual offense against a minor;

● The defendant is given conditional discharge;

● The defendant is given a DUI supervision

Indiana Expungement Laws

Indiana Expungement Laws

Criminal court records are generally made available to anybody in the public who requests to view them. This allows anybody to discover if someone has been arrested, what they were arrested for, and if they have been charged with or convicted of the crime.

Indiana is one of the many states that gives the option to some who are eligible to expunge the criminal records. Some records may also be "sealed", though "expungement" and "sealing" have two separate meanings. When a criminal record is expunged, the record is destroyed as if the crime never took place and does not show up on a criminal records search. Sealing means that the criminal record is hidden and protected from the public.

During an expungement in Indiana, some records may still be accessed by Indiana law in enforcement officials or for civil use, though in an adult arrest records will be delivered to the individual and/or the fingerprint, photographs and arrest records will be destroyed. 

Not all criminal records can be expunged. Only a select few of cases can be eligible for expungement:

● When an individual is arrested, though no charges are placed against him or her;

● Criminal charges are dropped because of a mistaken identity, no offense was committed, or if there is no probable cause.

When an individual would like to petition a court to have their arrest record expunged from a criminal records search, he or she must file a petition at the court in which the arrest was handled. The petition for Indiana expungement must have the following components:

         ● Date of arrest;

         ● The charge;

         ● The name of the arresting officer;

         ● Other information such as the case number or court case number;

         ● The date of the petitioner's birth and social security number.

When an Indiana expungement is granted, the law enforcement agency that handled the petition will deliver all fingerprints, photographs and arrest records to the petitioner or have them destroyed within 30 days. No record of the arrest is to be retained in any criminal record database or law enforcement information library. Only a small record of the arrest may remain in a police blotter entry.

Iowa Expungement Laws

Iowa Expungement Laws

Expungement is a process by which a person's criminal record is taken out of public records if an individual is eligible to do so. The eligibility of successfully expunging a criminal record in Iowa largely depends on the nature of the crime. The process involves filling out expungement forms to petition the court which first arrested the individual. The court then evaluates the petition to determine if there is any reason that the public may be harmed from taking the criminal record away from public reach.

If the court decides that destroying the criminal record will pose no harm, the expungement is granted. In some cases, the judge may decide to seal the record instead of expunging it. This means that the record is not destroyed, but rather "sealed" from public view.

When is a Person Likely to Receive a Successful Iowa Expungement?

An individual who has an arrest record is most likely to receive a successful Iowa expungement if he or she was arrested in Iowa, though charges were dropped, judgment was deferred, or if the individual was found innocent of the crime. In Iowa, even if a criminal arrest record is expunged, the State will still maintain the fingerprint data that was gathered from the individual.

Iowa, in particular, allows for the expungement of public intoxication convictions with the condition that the individual does not have a prior conviction. The person will have to wait two years before applying. A case involving physical intent to harm or injure another person will not be eligible for Iowa expungement.

What Does Expungement Involve in Iowa?

According to Iowa law, the criminal history data in computer mediums will not include the arrest data or adjudication data once a person has been acquitted or dismissed of all charges. This does not include fingerprints, however, as they are still maintained in the automated fingerprint identification system when the rest of the criminal data history is expunged from public records

Alabama Expungement Laws

Alabama Expungement Laws

Arrest records and criminal records can be the cause of discrimination in one's pursuit of becoming a more productive and law abiding member of society. Criminal records have a way of following somebody. Criminal records are not private in the least. Arrest records could affect one's ability to get an education, get a special license or permit, or get a job. Arrest records can even affect one's credit score, damaging one's chances of securing a loan. 

In Alabama arrest records can record events up to 35 years prior and a court's ruling of not guilty may not result in the expungement of such records.

Arrest records of individuals are open to anyone who seeks such information about someone's arrest records. This information can lead to discrimination of all sorts despite one's efforts to reform one's ways. Alabama sees the dispersal of this information as critical to public well-being. Thus, employers reserve the right to make employment decisions based on this information for the greater good. 

This information can unreasonably and unfairly damage the reputation of individuals in some cases. Therefore, Alabama expungement law considers the damaging effects of arrest records.

Alabama expungement law does not proscribe for the erasure of arrest warrants for a specific period of time. They are basically permanent. There are exceptions to this rule in circumstances in which an individual is judged to be innocent of a crime. The arrest and conviction records are not expunged automatically as a result of an innocent verdict. There is no automatic expungement of convicted juvenile offenses upon reaching 18 years of age.

The formerly accused criminal must make the proper motions with an attorney to have the records expunged. Generally, candidates for expungement of criminal records are disqualified if previous expungements were performed. In Alabama expungement law, all felony convictions are not expungeable. If a previous conviction was expunged from an individual's criminal record, the expunged record could still be used against the individual to increase the severity of a judge's sentence. 

Expungement in Alabama generally erases records for viewing of prospective employers, credit bureaus, and licensing agencies. The criminal acts of kidnapping, arson, extortion, first degree assault, forcible rape, sale of controlled substances, and homicide are not available for expungement under Alabama law.

Under Alabama expungement law, it is up to the district attorney to have criminal records expunged. The following factors are considered by the Alabama district attorney:

●  If the record caused the individual undue hardship in the ability of the individual to become reformed. 

●  The victim of the crime expressed a wish to discontinue the prosecution of a convicted criminal.

●  The age and case of the defendant at the time of trial.

●  The seriousness of the crime committed and its impact on the rest of the community.

●  If the offender is mentally disabled.

●  If the offender has family problems and cannot support his or herself alone.

●  The offender's innocence in the criminal matter is determined by evidence from the original trial or later appeal.

Once one's criminal records are expunged, it is then legal to state that the individual has not been convicted of a crime. If the normal means of legal expungement of criminal records are not viable, it is possible to appeal to the Governor of Alabama for clemency

Alaska Expungement Laws

Alaska Expungement Laws

A State's expungement laws reveal much about that State's attitudes towards the ability of the criminal justice system to reform criminals. Criminal records can be extremely damaging to an individual's ability to get a loan, a job, or an education. Criminal records are kept to give repeat offenders harsher sentences. Records are also kept as a matter of informing the public of potential public safety threats.

The disclosure of criminal records to creditors, employers, and the public are a security measure to protect all law abiding citizens from those who are more likely to commit a crime. Statistic show that convicted criminals are more likely to be repeat offenders. This may be due to one's inability to leave the past and have their records expunged. The law must have some common ground between the safety of the public and ability of a person to reform one's ways. Alaska law on expungement are among the most difficult states in which to expunge one's criminal records.

Alaska's expungement laws are very simple because the State of Alaska has no law to expunge criminal records. Adult and juvenile defendants can only apply to have their records sealed. Having one's records sealed is defined as having limited availability of criminal records. Generally, sealed records are only for a judge's eyes when sentencing a repeat offender.

The only circumstances in which a person's records may be sealed is when it can be proven, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant had been falsely accused of a crime or was convicted by mistaken identity. Applications to have criminal records sealed are processed and handled by local and State law enforcement. 

The only other instance in which the Alaska Government would seal a convicted criminal's records is when a court of law determined that the individual to be innocent after discovery of evidence that casts doubt upon the guilt of the accused. 

The appellant, the person applying to have his or her criminal records sealed, bears the burden of providing the evidence that proves that the criminal conviction or accusation against the defendant is based on false grounds beyond a reasonable doubt. If the motion to seal criminal records is granted by the proper authorities, the person then legally reserves the right to deny the existence of the prior allegations or convictions against the individual in question.

Criminal records in Alaska are essentially permanent if an individual is found guilty of a crime and it cannot be proven otherwise. One's criminal background may be solicited by anyone interested in attaining such information. Such information could be critically damaging to one's chances of getting credit, or a job, or an education. 

Based on Alaska's expungement laws, Alaska caters to a more conservative approach on the justice system. It could be inferred based on the type of legislation the State has that the people of Alaska do not believe in one's ability to reform after being convicted of a crime.

Arizona Expungement Laws

Arizona Expungement Laws

Since September 11, 2001, the amount of companies requiring criminal background checks as a step in their job application process has increased dramatically. Today, most companies, financial institutions, and licensing bureaus perform criminal background checks to ensure the trustworthiness of a particular person. If one's criminal background check should have blemishes, it could be severely damaging to one's chances of getting ahead in society. Therefore, expungement law is becoming an increasingly important sub-field of criminal law today.

Arizona expungement attorneys can help an individual apply to have their criminal records erased or sealed.  Arizona's equivalent to expungement law is described as "setting aside" one's criminal records. This means that someone's criminal records still legally exist but are not available to all.

After an Arizona resident has "set aside" his or her records of arrest and convictions, the records are essentially expunged in most cases. The most common case in which one's "set aside" records remain to be considered is in a court of law. This ensures that repeat offenders be given the severe punishments they are due. At the same time, Arizona law gives reward to individuals who were convicted of non-violent crimes a chance to reform without the damaging social stigma of having been convicted of a crime.

The success of one's motion to have their criminal records expunged in Arizona depends primarily on the severity of the crime committed. Records of arrests and convictions tend to linger regardless of the duration of time that has passed, the State in which a crime had been committed, or guilt or innocence. 

Arizona places the burden of having a criminal record expunged on the individual. It is a person's individual responsibility to clear his or her name even if it was determined that the records appearing on the criminal background check are a result of false accusation or innocence beyond a reasonable doubt.

Records may be expunged even if the defendant was determined to be guilty and had spent some time in prison or jail. Persons convicted of felonies have been granted motions to have their criminal records expunged for a particular crime. However, this seldom occurs if ever. The most important factor the courts consider in granting one's motion to expunge their criminal records is the severity of the crime and its effect on the greater society. Under Arizona expungement law, felons convicted of violent crimes will not be granted any motion to their records "set aside."

Successful motions for the expungement of criminal records in Arizona are granted for those convicted or falsely accused of misdemeanor criminal conduct. Even motions to have a misdemeanor driving while intoxicated (DUI) arrest have been granted under the proper circumstances. 

A person must display proof that the person in question possesses no risk factors for repeat offense. In the case of driving while intoxicated, the individual must show that his or her drinking habits have changed and that the person has not had another DUI or alcohol-related accident in a very long time. Under Arizona expungement law, cases in which a person had been found not guilty of driving while intoxicated may also petition the Arizona Motor Vehicle Department to have their DUI arrest expunged.

Arizona's expungement laws give proper punishment to repeat offenders and give convicted non-violent offenders the opportunity to leave their past and reform. Arizona has among the fairest expungement laws in the United States

Arkansas Expungement Law

Arkansas Expungement Law

The State of Arkansas allows its citizens to expunge their criminal records under certain circumstances. Under Arkansas expungement code, the term "expunge" is defined as the defendant being completely exonerated of an arrest or conviction. As such, the use of prior criminal records against the defendant shall not be used to deprive the individual of any civil rights or liberties of the defendant. 

Therefore, an expunged record renders use of that record of a particular criminal act as unlawfully discriminatory. This could be of great importance to someone who wishes to be fully reintegrated into society without the apparent stigma of carrying a criminal record for minor non-violent offenses.

Arkansas expungement law does not allow for the erasure of criminal records pertaining to the conviction of crimes against minors, or that which resulted in death, serious injury, or sex offenses. Under this definition, a person who was convicted of a felony can expunge records of non-violent felonies. The chances of successful criminal record expungement in felony cases are less than in the case of non-violent misdemeanors.

Arkansas law on expungement also stipulates that a person seeking expungement must have completed probation and paid all of the fines before becoming eligible to apply for a motion for criminal record expungement. Arkansas expungement law grants more leniency to non-violent first-time offenders. 

Minors convicted of non-violent felonies under the age of 18 are also eligible for motions to have records expunged. Expungement is also granted to anyone whose arrest did not lead to criminal prosecution or whose case was dismissed. Non-violent drug offenders may be granted motions for expungement in Arkansas as long as they do not have any previous conviction for delivering controlled substances to minors.

Arkansas law automatically seals criminal records in cases in which there was no guilty verdict. All pertinent arrest warrants, docket sheets, petitions, and any other documents may be expunged. Therefore all civil rights of innocent individuals and individuals with granted motions of expungement are given back their civil rights. However, an expungement does not remove the fact that someone had been convicted for all purposes.

The purpose of expungement is primarily for the betterment of oneself. It is a tool to help non-violent offenders to reintegrate smoothly into society. For example, a person applying for a firearms license in Arkansas with an expunged felony conviction may not be allowed to have a firearm. 

The restoration of rights and privileges as defined in the act of expungement has limitations. The extent to which these rights are limited has been determined by reason. A convicted felon with an expunged record of that conviction has the liberty to become a police officer, but will not likely be able to get the firearms permit necessary to become a law enforcement officer.

Arkansas expungment law is interesting because its definition of expungement includes notions of restoration of civil rights and liberties. However, the extent to which has not yet been determined by precedent. All in all, the expungments laws of Arkansas are reasonable enough to avoid judicial challenges in the future

California Expungement Laws

California Expungement Laws

California, the country’s most populous State, has among the most lenient expungement laws for non-violent offenders. The content of this article only contains information on expungement of records of crimes committed in the State of California. California law calls their version of expungements dismissals. However, for the purposes of this article, the term “expungement” will be coterminous with “dismissal.” 
California allows citizens convicted of misdemeanors or felonies to file for expungement as long as the citizen in question was not sentenced to time in State prison. Only those who were sentenced to time in county jail, probation, fine, or any combination of those three may be eligible to have their criminal records dismissed.
Criminal records in California record arrests and convictions, even in instances of dismissal of a criminal case, those never going to prosecution, or if the charges were never filed. Criminal records may affect one’s ability to get a job, a loan, or a special license.
California residents sentenced to probation have to complete the entire probation sentence before they could file to have their records expunged. Other prerequisites include paying the total of the fines imposed and not currently serving a separate sentence for another offense. Citizens who never were sentenced to probation must be convicted of a misdemeanor to be eligible. Also, one year has to have passed since conviction. Other prerequisites include full compliance with the court’s sentence, which translates to good behavior, and not currently serving another sentence.
The California resident must avoid criminal charges for at least a year since conviction. Persons who wish to have their probation sentence shortened for good behavior may do so without effect on the chances of expungement of their criminal records. 
After one has decided to apply for expungement in California, it important to give enough information as to reasons why a motion for dismissal of criminal records is necessary. After the individual’s reasons are set before the judge by an expungement attorney or the individual, it is then up to the court to decide if the motion for expungement is in the interest of justice.
California also has many other mechanisms to expunge the criminal records of minor offenders. The California Department of Corrections has a program, called a “Diversion” program, in which one could earn criminal record expungement without going to court by doing educational courses and community service.
Persons convicted of minor marijuana offenses will automatically have their arrests and convictions expunged from their records two years after conviction. Expungement in California is generally faster due to the high volume of non-violent convictions in the State. Non-court related means of expunging the convictions and arrests of non-violent minor offenses is reasonable given that the stigma of arrest should not be the same for less severe crimes.
Juvenile offenders do not have their criminal records sealed upon their 18th birthday. Juvenile criminal records will remain on a person’s record unless the adult affirmatively chooses to have his or her offenses sealed from the record. The courts that handle juvenile expungement in California are county juvenile courts.
After someone’s criminal records are sealed or expunged in California, that person may apply for a job and legally deny the fact that they had been arrested. This helps in applying for a job. This also prevents someone from not being hired for a Government position or applying for a Government license.
California citizens with expunged records have lost their right to legally own a firearm until told otherwise by the court. Dismissed convictions may also be used to increase the severity of repeat offenses. Sex criminals, regardless of expungement, are still required to register as sex offenders under the Federal Megan’s Law

Colorado Expungement Laws

Colorado Expungement Laws

One who wishes to have their criminal records expunged in Colorado must not be guilty of a crime. Colorado has very few laws on expungement because the State does not find criminal records to be problematic. The State of Colorado sees that criminal records are a necessary aspect of the criminal justice process. They provide the public with vital information that could be used to ensure their citizens’ security and well-being.

Criminal records are also a tool that allows judges to give harsher punishments to repeat offenders. Therefore, it is a justifiable consequence of a crime. The additional weight of having committed a crime is a price criminals should have to pay. In all fairness, however, Colorado law shows some discretion for those who were wrongfully accused or acquitted for their crimes alleged against them.

The conditions under which a person may petition a court for expungement in the State of Colorado are simple. They mainly involve cases in which a person had not been charged or was acquitted or the trial had been dismissed. If a case was dismissed due to plea bargain, a person is only eligible for motion of expungement after 15 years after the final day of settlement and if the person had not been charged with a crime for 15 or more years. 

This may seem harsh but is generally considered fair because in the case that a plea agreement is reached, the question of guilt or innocence is not determined. Therefore, it should be difficult to have the criminal record expunged. The circumstances of a given case are also considered by the courts.

Some traffic offenses may not be expunged from the record. Unlawful sexual behaviors are also not eligible to be erased from criminal records. DUI convictions may be eligible for erasure from someone's criminal records under the conditions that the person submits a request to the court, is over 21 and all court proceedings regarding the DUI are concluded, the individual has not been charged with any crime while under 21 years of age, and has paid all the fines and fees associated with the DUI offense.

Colorado expungement laws also provide for the automatic erasure of arrest records every three years.