Table of Contents
- Expunging a Misdemeanor
- How Long Will a Misdemeanor Offense Stay On My Record?
- Can Anyone Expunge a Misdemeanor?
- What Are the Benefits of Misdemeanor Expungement?
- Requesting a Misdemeanor Expungement: What to Know
- Need to Expunge a Misdemeanor? We Can Help
Expunging a Misdemeanor
For most states, common offenses like shoplifting, petty theft, disorderly conduct and DUI are misdemeanors. But while a misdemeanor conviction is generally considered less serious than a felony, having such a mark on your criminal record can often affect your ability to obtain a stable job, access quality housing opportunities and otherwise take meaningful steps to improve your life.
A misdemeanor may show up during any background check, including when you’re:
- Applying for a bank loan
- Applying for a job
- Looking for housing
- Applying to college or training programs
- Seeking a professional license (law, medical, etc.)
- Pursuing volunteering opportunities
- And more
To remove such obstacles and make things easier on previous offenders, many states have passed laws allowing for records expungement and sealing. In fact, most states now provide many types of misdemeanor offenders a process for clearing records and pursuing opportunities without the stigma of a negative record.
How Long Will a Misdemeanor Offense Stay On My Record?
Without successful expungement, a misdemeanor conviction will likely remain on your record forever. While some states put limits on how far back a background check company can search (such as Texas’ “seven-year rule”), most misdemeanors don’t disappear or go away on their own.
In many cases, expunging or sealing your records is the only way to clear misdemeanors from your criminal record and start your job or home search with a clean slate.
Can Anyone Expunge a Misdemeanor?
While most misdemeanor convictions may be expunged from your record, misdemeanor expungement eligibility is not available in every situation. Qualifying for an expungement depends on a number of factors, including state laws, time passed, criminal history and the type of misdemeanor you want expunged.
Use our free Expungement Eligibility Tool to learn if you qualify for misdemeanor expungement in your state.
In most cases, such factors as completing the terms of your sentence, having only one conviction, and showing evidence of rehabilitation may increase your chances of expungement eligibility.
What Are the Benefits of Misdemeanor Expungement?
Expunging a misdemeanor from your criminal record makes it impossible for background check companies to locate that offense and report the finding to employers, banks, schools and more.
With the misdemeanor conviction cleared from background checks, it will likely be much easier to:
- Find gainful employment
- Further your education
- Secure a loan
- Buy a house
- Volunteer in your community
- And more
While each state has its own unique process and limitations for expunging a misdemeanor, successfully clearing a conviction from your criminal record eliminates a potentially devastating obstacle to getting the career and educational opportunities you deserve.
Learn more about your state’s unique misdemeanor expungement process here.
Requesting a Misdemeanor Expungement: What to Know
The process for filing for a misdemeanor expungement varies state-to-state. Your state’s expungement statutes likely lay out the procedure and requirements for expunging your records and eliminating that harmful conviction from future background check reports.
Most states conduct a thorough review of your criminal record to determine expungement eligibility. Once eligibility is established, you must file a petition or application for expungement with the court that originally handled your case.
Additionally, the prosecutor or district attorney’s office will likely require notification of your expungement request before you can proceed. Once the court has reviewed your petition and considered any objections, a hearing will be scheduled to hear arguments and render a final decision.
When expungement is approved, any courts and law enforcement agencies holding your records will be notified. Records updates generally take between 1-2 months to complete, depending on workload and the agency in question.
Unfortunately, this process does not expunge your records from private background check firms. To ensure complete removal, learn about our comprehensive Background Check Clearance Service today.
Need to Expunge a Misdemeanor?
We Can Help
Our seasoned Expungement and Records Clearing Team provides expert support and assistance throughout the misdemeanor expungement process, ensuring you get the help you need to clear your records as quickly as possible.
From collecting records and filing the petition to managing objections and attending hearings, our legal experts work tirelessly to expunge your records and obtain the relief you deserve.
Find out if you’re eligible for a misdemeanor expungement in your state with our Free Expungement Eligibility Tool.