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How Long Does A Criminal Record Last?

  • May 8, 2014

Criminal records can be hard to overcome. Whether the conviction is a felony or a misdemeanor, it has the potential to negatively impact the individual’s life for the rest of their life. However, there are some exceptions to that rule.

Under The Age Of 18

If the individual was under the age of 18 when he or she was convicted of a crime, those records are sealed, meaning only law enforcement will have access to the record. Employers and other individuals performing background checks will not receive the information, and it will not be available to the general public.

Sealing Or Expunging Adult Crimes

Unless the criminal record is legally sealed or expunged, there is no escaping it. Luckily, individuals who have been convicted of a crime and spent a number of years with the conviction on their record may be eligible to have the record sealed or expunged. A sealed adult record works the same way as a sealed juvenile record. Only law enforcement will be able to see the data.

Expungement, however, is the complete removal of the criminal record. To facilitate this process, the individual must petition the courts and request the record be expunged. The process differs from state to state. In general , the individual will have to obtain an Expungement form from their state’s Department of Corrections and fill out that form, and some states offer qualification worksheets so that qualification can be determined prior to applying.

To qualify and apply for an expungement, the individual will need their case number, arrest date, the name of the arresting law enforcement agency, filed charges, outcome and completion date. If the person was convicted of more than one crime, they will need the information from each conviction. Once filed, the expungement will either be granted or denied.

If denied some states offer an appeal process, and other require the individual to wait a specific number of years before they apply again, and in general, the new application must contain different crimes than the first form.