STEP 1

Figure out if any of your charges can be expunged.

To do this, you have 3 options (explained in detail here).

1. Talk to a lawyer at one of the upcoming clinics.

2. Take an online quiz.

3. Look up your charges, and check to see if any are on this or this list.

 

STEP 2

Meet with a lawyer, like the free lawyers at the Expungement Clinics. The lawyer can fill out paperwork with you, including the ‘petition’ to have your charges erased. Sometimes you might only have to meet with a lawyer once, sometimes you will have to meet with them a few times. 

 

STEP 3

Send in your paperwork to the court that saw your case. 

 

STEP 4

Once the court receives your paperwork, the state has 30 days to object to your request. They usually don't object, but if they do, you will have a court hearing where the court decides whether or not to grant your request. 

If they don't object, the court will take an additional 1-3 months to send “Orders of Expungement” letters to you and EACH agency that holds your records. This letter is the court ordering the agency to erase your records. The court will also mail you a list of each agency that might hold a record. 

If you don’t get this within 6 months of turning in your paperwork, you should try to find out an update. You can either contact your lawyer, or call the clerk’s office in the county or city where you filed. 

 

STEP 5

Wait for the “Certificate of Compliance” letters. You should get one letter from EACH agency on the list you were mailed in Step 4. Each letter says your records were actually erased at that agency, and your expungement was completed.

You will usually wait another 2-4 months or so for these letters. Sometimes an agency won't send the letter like they should. If you wait another 4 months and do not get letters from everyone on the list from Step 4, can either contact your lawyer, or call the agency that has not sent the letter. 

After you receive these letters, you can start applying for jobs and housing without talking about your charges!

 

*This is not legal advice. For legal advice, consult a lawyer, such as those at expungement clinics.