What Is The Process To Obtain An Expungement?

Expungement is more along the lines of “we want some records erased.” It’s a motion with the court of jurisdiction. The crime happened many years ago and because they’ve got a felony conviction or maybe even sometimes, a misdemeanor, they can’t get a certain license or they can’t get a certain job. There’s a lengthy pardon application. It’s on the Board of Pardons and Parole’s website, and again it’s between 12 and 15 pages in length. Normally I want the client to look at that and to fill it out as best as they can. They also again need to have their fingerprints taken, and that’s on the fingerprint card designed just for pardons. Then I receive the fingerprint card from them and I send it up to the Department of Public Safety to get a criminal record essentially.

They need to try and track down any diplomas, certificates, college transcripts, work history, time periods that they were employed, the name of their immediate supervisor, accurate contact information, and at least three character reference letters (only one can be from a family member). Typically I want much more than 3 letters, but 3 is the minimum. For all these people that have been asked to generate the character reference letter, they have to be aware of what the client was convicted of. If the incident happened within the last 10 years, we need to get a copy of the police report.

They do as much as they can and then what will happen is they’ll come and see me and we’ll spend probably about a good hour and a half to two hour chunk of time just going over each and every section of the application. There’s also going to be a request to give in their own words their involvement in this incident that created this conviction. I will certainly help with the language that we need to include and that’s usually where they’re taking responsibility, they’re accountable, they contrite and usually I will ask them to generate a letter of their own as to why they’re a different person than they were when all this happened. Certainly community service work or any works that they’ve done to benefit the community at large is helpful to include in the application.

What If Someone’s Motion For An Expungement Is Rejected?

If your expungement is denied, you probably want to wait around a year before applying again. There’s really no set waiting period. From what I hear, the board for the most part has made up their minds. If you go as far as having a hearing scheduled on your behalf, you’re in pretty good shape. I’d say 9 out of 10 people who get hearings are going to eventually get a pardon. It used to be a process that was going to take 14 months and the last pardon that we got, we filed the application in maybe February or March and we actually got a date in July, but because the client was going to be on vacation that week, it ended up being in October. So that was a pretty quick turnaround.

What Does The Record Look Like After An Expungement Has Been Granted?

There shouldn’t be a record of it at the police department once it is expunged. It is possible that the Department of Homeland Security has a record of that, and the Department of Corrections and Parole will still have access to the information. However, every other body that’s connected to the judicial system, the record should be destroyed with them. That’s the police department and that includes the booking photo, the fingerprints, the police report, and any records in the clerk’s office at the courthouse. So once a dismissal enters, very shortly thereafter everything should be destroyed. A client can then legally say that they were never even arrested as if it never happened.

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