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How to get a misdemeanor record expunged or disposed?

Resolved Question:

How can I get a misdemeanor record expunged or disposed of from 10 years ago?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  xavierjd replied 5 years ago.

If you pled guilty to more than one offense at the time, it is quite possible that you may only be able to get one expunged.

If you pled guilty under some time of deferral or diversion, so long as you didn't violate any terms of probation for for the offense(s) committed, the cases should have been dismissed. If you were arrested, however, even though the matter(s) may have been dismissed under a deferral/diversion, your arrest segment would still show up on a criminal history check. In that case, you must file a motion (asking the court to do something) to have your fingerprints destroyed. This would clear up the arrest segment.

If your attorney did, in fact, give you misinformation at the time of your plea, there may be something that you can do. Remember, however, that if the plea was to some type of drunk driving or driving related offense, that will always be on your driving record.

So, if your plea was not to more than one offense, it was not a drunk driving (because that shows up on your driving record) and it is not one of the crimes that would be prohibited under your state law (eg. a misdemeanor sex offense) then you may be able to go to the courthouse in which you were convicted and ask for the paperwork for an expungement. If they will not give it to you, it may be available on line in your state's approved court form book.

You must fill out the paperwork COMPLETELY. You must then file your request for the expungement at the court in which you were convicted. A copy of your request (motion) must also be properly served upon the prosecuting official and/or the attorney general's office. You must also request a hearing date.

Before a hearing date will be set by the court, usually, depending on your state law, you must also send a copy of your fingerprints (which you may have taken at a law enforcement agency) to your attorney general and/or state police department. They will do an investigation (run your prints) to make sure that you have not been convicted of ANY other offense since the time of your conviction 10 years ago. A copy of their finding will be sent back to the court and/or the prosecuting official and/or attorney general.

Once the above is completed, (usually takes 60-90 days) a court date may be set. If you don't receive one within 3-4 months, you may want to follow up with the court to see if the fingerprint finding was received by the court.

When a hearing date is set, the prosecutor/attorney general may oppose or not oppose your request. It is not uncommon for the prosecuting official to NOT oppose your request so long as there has been no conviction since your original conviction 10 years ago. However, they may also oppose your request, and if that is the case, you need to really pitch your request to the judge. Because it is TOTALLY WITHIN THE DISCRETION OF YOUR SENTENCING JUDGE as to whether or not an expungement is granted.

If it is granted, again, you need to ask that your fingerprints from the arrest be destroyed. That will, hopefully, eliminate any record of your arrest.

Be advised, however, that if your employer requests, on an application for employment or otherwise, to know if you were ever convicted of a misdemeanor or felony it is your call as to whether to disclose your conviction. Because although you may not show a conviction, LAW ENFORCEMENT WILL ALWAYS HAVE ACCESS TO YOUR CONVICTION. Also, if for some reason you say "no", and your employer later finds out about the conviction, you may be fired for having lied on your application for employment. Or, if a co-worker finds out (you inadvertently mention something) and it gets back to your boss, you again may face losing your job for lying.

It sounds like your potential employer (Prudential) already knows. If you can get an expungement, that may satisfy their concern. If your conviction was for a theft crime, their eyebrows may be raised, but may still accept the fact that you received an expungement.

Due to the very serious ramifications that an expungement, or lack of an expungement may have on your employment and other areas of your life, you should contact an attorney who specializes in criminal law. Contact the local bar association in the county in which you were convicted and ask for a referral. It will probably give you 2 or 3 names. You may contact the attorney(s) by phone for a consultation, or ask to set up an appointment to go over the specific facts of your case. It may be worth the cost of an attorney to advise you, given the wide reaching effects that a conviction remaining on your record may have. S/he will be able to tell you in more detail if you are eligible/not eligible for an expungement and exactly what must be done. S/he he may be able to assist you in the important details so that an expungement, if available to you, may be granted.

I wish you the best. It is unfortunate that alcohol/drug rehabilitation wasn't offered to you, or made part of any probation that you may have received. Although, receiving the help at the time may have greatly benefited you, it would have no effect on the issue you now face with your perspective employer about your conviction. However, it will be important to be able to tell your perspective employer that you have been clean and sober, either since the incident or for how long you have remained clean and sober after the incident.

Good Luck to you!

xavierjd, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 3400
Experience: Over 20 yrs experience in prosecution and defense work
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