Cities and Towns in the United States > Procedures > How To Clean a Criminal Record


A criminal record is a barrier to education, housing, and good employment opportunities and imposes travel restrictions on particular countries. If you have a criminal record that limits your progress, you’ll be glad to know you can clear specific things out of it. Take a look at the process and requirements for a successful expunge.

Clean my record

What Is a Criminal Record?

When a person commits offenses or violates the law, the judicial system keeps a record of these convictions, also known as a criminal record. Knowing that a criminal record can significantly affect your life, your attorney can request diversion, which allows you to complete particular requirements as ordered by the prosecutor to avoid the negative stamp.

During this time, you may have to go through counseling, and treatment, do community service, pay fines and court costs and avoid more arrests to have the case dismissed. Alternative sentencing and reimbursement via the victim compromise program are options to help avert the case verdict leading to a criminal record.

Why You May Need to Remove Any Offense from Your Criminal Record

Offenses are known to make life harder for their bearers. When this record is pinned to your name, you may face harsher consequences for any subsequent violations. Finding a decent job, adopting children, gaining custody rights, immigration, finding a college to admit you, and even leasing property becomes almost impossible.

Which Organization Is Responsible for This Procedure

The judicial system is responsible for expunging criminal records from a person’s registry. The applicant must appeal to the court to have the status reverted. The state determines how the form is handled. Some destroy the record, while others keep it in sealed files.

Who Can Request It?

Typically, anyone with a mild criminal record can request for expunging. Each state has particular laws that it abides by regarding clearing a criminal record. For instance, all states do not expunge records on sexual offenders, kidnapping, murder, or any crimes against humanity. Others clear driving-related records while others don’t.

You also can’t apply for an expunge if you are currently charged for a criminal offense, are on probation, or are serving a sentence for a criminal offense.

Requirements And Documentation Needed

Considering the seriousness of this action, applicants who wish to clear their criminal record have to avail specific documents and forms, and these are:

  • • A copy of the court order, acquittal, or dismissal.

  • • A photocopy of warrants or indictments requesting to be dismissed.

  • • Duly filled circuit court form CC-1416.

  • • Data elements 1-25 prepared by the relevant individuals.

  • Identification documents.

  • Proof of current residence.

  • • Any other required information.

  • • Application fees.

Where And How to Apply

You have to appear in court for this process, so you may have to visit your nearest court for this process. A public attorney will be assigned to you if you can’t afford a private one to help you complete the application and petition your case to the court.

Remember, you may have to produce particular original documents together with your application.

Cost, Validity, And Processing Time

The petitioner must cater for the costs of this application, which can vary from $100 - $400. Additionally, attorney costs come into play if you hire one from a private firm.

The validity of a criminal record clearance depends on the state. In those that delete the file, the validity is for a lifetime, while in those that close the files, the validity depends on how well-behaved you are.

Processing this petition varies from state to state, depending on the bulk of their court cases and timeline.