Expunging a Misdemeanor Offense
Free Eligibility Questionnaire • Nationwide • Tested & Approved
What is a Misdemeanor?
A misdemeanor is a minor offense and is less serious than a felony. However, it is more serious than an arrest or infraction. Misdemeanors are typically handled with a fine or incarceration. Misdemeanors can be separated into varying level of degrees depending on the jurisdiction where the offense occurred. Many jurisdictions provide broad definitions of the varying levels of misdemeanors and allow the presiding judge to use their judgement when handing down the punishment. Federal guidelines outline strict standards for carrying out the punishment of misdemeanors including fixed sentences depending on the level of offense.
Misdemeanors are more common but can still impede you from obtaining specific employment, obtaining a loan, or applying for house and should still be expunged from your record once viable. Most states provide some type of record clearing opportunity for a person to expunge the misdemeanor from their record. Whether that be complete removal or the conviction being set aside and removed from public records.
Not everyone is eligible to have their misdemeanor cleared from their record but you can determine if you are eligible by taking our free eligibility test.
Who is Eligibile?
There are many factors that determine if you are eligible for an expungement or record clearing. You can take our free eligibility test to determine if you are able to expunge. Each state and even jurisdiction dictates laws that outline the eligibility and process of an expungement.
Some of the factors that determine if you are eligible include state where arrest/conviction occurred, county where arrest/conviction occurred, amount of time that has passed since conviction, level and severity of crime committed, and your past criminal history.
Even though the law varies by state to state, you can still take these steps to insure you are most likely eligible for expungement:
- Pay all fines
- Complete probation
- Remain in good standing
- Attend all court appointed classes
- Stay out of trouble (do not be convicted of additional offense during rehabilitation period)
Each state has their own rules and some states do not allow for the process of expungement. States typically create the expungement laws to provide incentive to rehabilitation for the convicted and to keep the punishment as proportional to the offense as possible.
Some examples of offenses that can be expunged include petty theft, indecent exposure, prostitution, grand theft, possession of controlled substances (marijuana, etc), DUI, assault, battery, domestic violence, assault with a deadly weapon, shoplifting, robbery, burglary and many more offenses.
What is an Expungement?
Expungement is a legal process in which the arrest record or criminal record of a person is erased in the eyes of the law. This can also be called an expunction and this occurs when the records are sealed or destroyed. This can be all or some parts of the record. Depending on the state, expungement can also mean that the finding of guilt is removed because you are withdrawing or vacating the original finding from the courts.
Each state has varying laws on the process which an expungement happens including the eligibility requirements for each individual. This eligibility can also vary depending on the type of arrest or level of conviction or even the county which the arrest or conviction occurs.
The major benefit for obtaining an expungement or clearing your conviction is that you no longer have to disclose your prior criminal history on job applications or housing applications. Once expunged, your criminal history should not appear on any background checks or public record searches.
Access to public record and criminal background checks has increased greatly over the past few years and individuals now need expungement more than ever.