Criminal Record Expungement 

A criminal record can prevent you from getting a job or finding a place to live. A conviction for a criminal offense that happened years ago can even prevent you from getting into college now or joining the military. In some cases, criminal record offenses can be removed through a process referred to as expungement. Those that are interested in clearing their criminal record are advised to speak with a lawyer, like a team member at Tuttle Law, P.A. to discuss if their record has a chance of expungement before proceeding.

Expungement may be an option for both felony and misdemeanor convictions, however, there may be some restrictions. For misdemeanor expungements, your crime may be removed after you have completed the terms of your probation. If you plead no contest or guilt and did not receive probation, you can pursue an expungement a year after the date you entered your plea.

For felony expungement, if you served a probationary period instead of time in state prison, then your felony conviction may be expunged after fulfilling that probation. It may then be possible to retroactively reduce the felony charge to a misdemeanor, and then expunge that misdemeanor conviction. Examples of crimes that you may be able to get expunged off your record include:

  • Petty theft
  • Disturbing the peace
  • Possession of marijuana
  • Failure to appear
  • Illegal purchase of alcohol 
  • Trespassing
  • Some types of fraud
  • Shoplifting
  • Public intoxication
  • Domestic battery
  • Probation violations
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Reckless driving
  • Prostitution
  • Solicitation of prostitution
  • Indecent exposure
  • Drug possession
  • Protection order violation
  • Drunk in public 

While you are not required to have a lawyer to try to get an expungement, having a legal professional represent you during the process can make all the difference. As a criminal defense lawyer offers, a lawyer can be very helpful when it comes to determining which paperwork to complete, how to file it, and in handling other such tasks. Since the process is going to be a little bit different for each person based on what their charge was, their criminal history, and other variables, it’s wise to have a lawyer take a look at the situation and offer advice before moving forward. An expungement lawyer can be a big help in setting up your request for success.

Generally, the process of cleaning up your criminal background and filing for expungement include having you and your lawyer filling out necessary paperwork, giving the prosecution at least 15 days to review the case and make an objection or not, then having an expungement hearing scheduled, and if the petition to dismiss is approved you will have to file for a case seal so it is not visible to the general public. An expungement petition that gets denied can be reapplied for in 6 months.

How long it takes for the expungement case to be handled varies based on how much time has passed since the conviction, whether the conviction was a misdemeanor or felony, and if there is a requirement to give the court a probation report. Every case is unique, and by talking about your situation with a lawyer, it can give you a better idea of the chances of an expungement being granted and how long it will take to complete.