50-State Comparison: Expungement, Sealing & Other Record Relief
- Section 1 categorizes jurisdictions by the availability of relief for convictions.
- Section 2 categorizes jurisdictions with automatic record clearing laws.
- Section 3 categorizes jurisdictions by the relief process for non-convictions.
- Section 4 lists jurisdictions with judicial certificates of relief.
- Section 5 provides state-by-state summaries of record relief laws, with links to more detailed analysis and legal citations.
1. Authority for expunging, sealing, or setting aside convictions
Updated: October 2023
Note: Even if misdemeanor and/or felony relief is generally available, various offenses are generally ineligible. Conversely, states categorized as having no court sealing or set-aside may make relief available to limited categories of convictions (e.g., youthful drug convictions, convictions of human trafficking victims) and nearly all states authorize sealing of at least some non-conviction records.
|Broader felony & misdemeanor relief
|Limited felony &
|Misdemeanors & pardoned felonies
|No general sealing or set-aside+ (4, federal)|
|New Mexico||Rhode Island|
* In California, effective August 1, 2022, the court records of set-aside convictions will be sealed.
** In Connecticut and Nebraska, pardoned convictions are eligible for record-clearing (erasure in CT; sealing in NE). Connecticut also has a new automatic record relief law, applicable to certain felonies and most misdemeanors, effective 2023. Idaho and Nebraska also have set-aside authorities for certain felonies and misdemeanors (these are the only two states remaining with a traditional set-aside authority and no general record-sealing authority).
***In Maine, Class E crimes (less serious misdemeanors) committed by first offenders between the ages of 18 and 28 are eligible for sealing, as well as pardoned convictions. In Pennsylvania, misdemeanors may be sealed but pardoned convictions are expunged.
+ Some of these jurisdictions have narrow specialized authorities for expunging, sealing, or setting aside convictions.
++ In Virginia, new sealing legislation, enacted in April 2021, will be effective in 2025 or earlier. See HB 2113 (2021).
^ Arizona‘s first general authority to seal misdemeanor and felony conviction records was enacted in 2021, and is effective in 2023. Until then, its only record relief is a broad set-aside authority. Also, effective July 2, 2021, courts must, upon petition, expunge certain marijuana possession, consumption, transportation, and cultivation offenses.
2. Automatic record clearing
Laws authorizing automatic expungement, sealing, or confidentiality of adult criminal records
Updated: October 2023
Note: A number of these laws have been enacted recently but have not yet been implemented or become effective. “Misdemeanors” and “felonies” refers to convictions (automatic clearance of non-conviction records is covered in Chart #3, below). Although not noted in the chart, a number of laws covering misdemeanor and/or felony convictions also cover infractions and/or violations. This chart does not cover laws sealing juvenile records.
|A range of non-convictions, misdemeanors & certain felonies (8)||A range of non-convictions & misdemeanors (4, D.C.)
||Certain minor misdemeanors only (1)
||Certain marijuana-related records
|A range of non-convictions only+ (8)|
|New Jersey*||Missouri||North Carolina|
|New York||New Jersey*||South Carolina|
+ In addition, four states (GA, FL, ME, MT) have authorized automatic sealing, expungement, or confidentiality for non-conviction records held by state criminal justice agencies, but not the corresponding court records. More details on non-conviction record relief are in Chart #3 of this section.
* Marijuana clearance: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, D.C., New Jersey, and Virginia have specific marijuana clearance provisions in their general automatic record-clearing authorities. (The list of states in this column does not include states with general “clean slate” laws that may cover some marijuana records but do not separately address marijuana.) In the case of CA, CO and NJ, a range of marijuana misdemeanor and felony offenses are covered. In the case of CT and DC, certain marijuana misdemeanor offenses are covered. VA has also authorized automatic relief for certain marijuana-related misdemeanor offenses and certain non-convictions, although none of Virginia’s automatic relief authorities are scheduled to go into effect before 2025. Maryland authorized automatic sealing for law enforcement records only, and Utah’s automatic authority is only for medicinal marijuana convictions. More details on marijuana-specific record relief are in the chart here.
** Vermont has also authorized automatic relief for non-convictions and certain motor vehicle-related violations.
3. Process for expunging or sealing adult non-conviction records
Updated: October 2023
|Mandatory relief upon request (9)
||Discretionary relief (less burdensome/
(more burdensome/ restrictive)*
|Delaware**||New Mexico||Illinois||North Dakota|
|D.C.||Rhode Island||Massachusetts***||South Dakota|
+ These automatic relief mechanisms are not always comprehensive: they may be prospective only or exclude certain dispositions or categories of offenses. In several states, uncharged arrests are not covered, and require the filing of a court petition to obtain relief. In some states, deferred dispositions are not covered. Some of these laws have not yet been implemented. See state profiles for more details.
^ In South Carolina, relief is only automatic in Magistrate or Municipal Court.
* Often, more burdensome procedural requirements apply, such as waiting periods, document collection, service of process, filing fees, contested hearings, discretionary review. In addition, a number of these states make certain non-convictions wholly ineligible for relief because of the person’s past record, the nature of the charges, or the type of disposition.
** Non-conviction records will be sealed automatically in Delaware and Virginia when those states’ “clean slate” laws go into effect in 2024 and 2025, respectively.
*** In Massachusetts, records of non-conviction dispositions may be sealed on disposition subject to a “good cause” standard, or failing that after a waiting period. Acquittals amd similar dispositions are sealed automatically.
@ Oklahoma and West Virginia require that the person never have been convicted of a felony.
@@ State criminal justice records, but not court records, are subject to a sealing, expungement, or confidentiality process (automatic in Maine and Montana; by request in Wisconsin). Florida has as automatic process for state criminal justice records and a petition-based process for court records.
# In Minnesota, relief is mandatory if the individual has not been convicted of a felony or gross misdemeanor in the 10 years since the disposition of all pending criminal actions in favor of the arrested person; and either no charges were filed or all changes were dismissed prior to a determination of probable cause.
4. Judicial certificates of relief
Updated: April 2023
|Judicial certificates of relief (14)|
5. State-by-state information
There is no general authority to expunge or seal any federal conviction, and federal courts have very limited inherent authority to grant record relief. Deferred adjudication is authorized for first misdemeanor drug possession, with expungement if the defendant was under age 21 at time of offense.
Record relief: In 2021, Alabama enacted its first authority for expunging adult convictions, extended relief to non-violent misdemeanors and pardoned felonies, with exceptions for violent and sexual offenses, and any offense of moral turpitude under the disenfranchisement statute. Victims of human trafficking may petition the court to expunge convictions of misdemeanors and some felonies, including certain violent felonies, that are related to trafficking. Expungement is authorized for non-convictions: where a misdemeanor or non-violent felony charge did not result in conviction, including where a charge was dismissed after successful completion of various diversion programs (drug, mental health and veterans’ court), or where any felony charge resulted in acquittal. Juvenile records may be sealed on petition two years after final discharge or other final order, and destroyed five years after the age of majority, if the person has no prior or subsequent record.
Judicial certificate: An individual who is legally barred from obtaining a specific occupational license due to a conviction may apply to the court for an “Order for Limited Relief” to permit discretionary consideration on the merits.
There is no general authority to seal or expunge adult conviction or non-conviction records, but non-conviction records are generally confidential. In most cases the court may defer sentencing looking toward set-aside of conviction upon successful completion of probation, except for serious violent or sexual offenses. No affirmative showing or finding of rehabilitation need be made before a set-aside is granted; rather, a set-aside should be granted as a matter of right unless some specific reason for denial is established. For less serious offenses, courts may also defer judgment looking toward dismissal of charges, and no conviction results. Most non-conviction records may not be released to the public, but sealing is authorized only in cases of mistaken identity or false accusation. Most juvenile records are confidential and are sealed within 30 days of the person’s 18th birthday or after completion of sentence whichever is later, or after a 5-year waiting period if charged as an adult.
Record relief: Until 2021 there was no general authority to seal or expunge adult conviction or non-conviction records. Effective December 31, 2022, misdemeanor and most felony convictions may be sealed on petition after waiting periods ranging from two to 10 years (with an additional five years for a prior felony conviction). Non-conviction records may also be sealed thirty days after the petition is filed. A hearing is required only upon objection by the prosecutor or victim. In addition, convictions for all but violent and sex offenses may be set-aside and charges dismissed upon discharge, but no sealing or expungement results. Set-aside relieves collateral consequences, and restores firearms rights for non-serious felonies, but conviction must be disclosed and serves as a predicate. Effective July 2, 2021, courts must, upon petition, expunge arrests, charges, and convictions for certain marijuana offenses. The law also authorizes several diversionary dispositions. Juvenile adjudications may be set aside upon reaching 18 years of age and discharge from sentence, except for serious violent offenses, but they serve as predicate offense; juvenile records may be destroyed under some circumstances.
Judicial certificates: In 2021, Arizona authorized courts to issue a Certificate to Second Chance to a person whose conviction has been set-aside. Waiting periods apply for class 2-6 felonies. Class 1 felonies are ineligible.
Convictions for Class C and Class D felonies and certain drug offenses are eligible for sealing after completion of sentence and payment of court costs; misdemeanors and infractions are eligible for sealing after completion of sentence. For violent felonies there is a 5-year waiting period and a prior felony conviction is disqualifying; for certain serious misdemeanors there is a 60-day waiting period. Class A and B felonies and sexual offenses are ineligible for sealing, as are multiple felonies for violent offenders and motor vehicle violations committed by a holder of a commercial driver’s license. A hearing is mandatory in all felony cases, and only if the prosecutor objects in misdemeanor cases. The court “may seal” the record of eligible felonies, “if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that doing so would further the interests of justice,” considering certain factors related to the likelihood of recidivism. For other eligible offenses, there is a presumption in favor of sealing. Sealing does not restore the right to carry a firearm and may be used as a predicate and to enhance a subsequent sentence. Most pardoned offenses are sealed immediately, but certain serious offenses may not be sealed even if pardoned. Human trafficking victims may petition for sealing of prostitution offenses at any time.
Arrest records may be sealed on petition if no charges are filed within one year, and other non-conviction records (including deferred dispositions) may be sealed at disposition. The court “shall seal” non-conviction records, unless it finds there is a public safety risk. No hearing is called for in non-conviction cases. Expungement (destruction) of records is available for certain drug court graduates, and automatic for juveniles upon turning 21 (or earlier, subject to the court’s discretion).
Record relief: Courts’ authority to dismiss charges and set aside convictions has been steadily extended over the past decade, with authority to seal the record added in 2019, so that by virtue of a 2022 law almost all felony convictions may be set aside and sealed after completion of sentence, after a conviction-free waiting period of between one and four years. In some cases, sealing is automatic, and in others relief is petition-based. Effective November 18, 2019, the state repository may not disclose such records for most inquiries relating to employment or licensing; and, effective Aug. 1, 2022, courts may not disclose such records except to criminal justice agencies. Nonetheless, a conviction that has been dismissed or set aside may be used as a predicate offense and must be disclosed in certain contexts, and does not result in relief from firearms dispossession. A victim of human trafficking may seek to have arrests and convictions for any non-violent offense vacated and sealed. In successive laws enacted between 2016 and 2022, steps were taken to enact various relief measures for marijuana offenses, including but not limited to convictions for conduct made legal in 2016.
Most non-conviction records are sealed upon disposition, and uncharged arrests are sealed when the limitations period has run. Juvenile records are generally unavailable to the public except for those related to certain more serious offenses; most juvenile adjudications may be sealed after five years (if found to be rehabilitated and no subsequent convictions of felony or crime of moral turpitude); juvenile records not resulting in adjudication are eligible for sealing upon disposition.
Judicial certificates: Certificates of Rehabilitation (COR) are available to people with state offenses from courts in the county of their residence or the court of conviction after conviction-free waiting period of 7-10 years, and satisfaction of other statutory criteria. A COR relieves certain licensing restrictions and serves as a first step in the pardon process.
Record relief: All but the most serious felonies are eligible for sealing after graduated waiting periods: one year after completion of sentence for petty offenses, three years for misdemeanors and lower-level felonies, and five years for other eligible felonies. All court-ordered fees must have been paid. If a person has multiple convictions, records may only be sealed if all offenses are eligible (the DA or court can authorize sealing for otherwise ineligible misdemeanors). Minor drug felonies may be vacated and reduced to misdemeanors, making many of them eligible for sealing. Victims of human trafficking may petition to seal any misdemeanor resulting from trafficking. In these cases, the court must apply a balancing test to determine whether sealing is warranted. For more serious felonies, the court must hold a hearing; for other offenses, the court need not hold a hearing unless the prosecutor or victim objects. Decriminalized marijuana misdemeanors must be sealed upon petition, and municipal offenses may also be sealed on petition. Consumer reporting agencies must exclude sealed or expunged records from their reports and the state court administrator must report annually to the House Judiciary Committee on statistics of sealed/objected records.
Clean slate sealing: Legislation in 2022 authorized automatic sealing after a waiting period of most offenses currently eligible for petition-based sealing, including records involved in diversion agreements and records associated with status as victim of human trafficking, excluding violent crimes. Payment of outstanding fees or fines is not required. The district attorney has 45 days to object, and the defendant has the right to a hearing. Uncharged arrests must be sealed automatically after one year, and most non-convictions are sealed automatically at disposition. Expungement is mandatory for records of juvenile adjudications for petty offenses and misdemeanors or where no adjudication results; expungement is discretionary for low-level felonies after an eligibility waiting period, which is extended for people with repeat offenses.
Judicial certificates: At the time of conviction or at any time thereafter, upon the request of the defendant or upon the court’s own motion, a court may enter an “order of collateral relief” in the criminal case to override specific collateral consequences as identified by the defendant, including employment, housing and licensing bars. The law contains no standards to guide subsequent discretionary decision-making. All but violent offenses and offenses requiring registration are eligible. Juvenile adjudications are also eligible. An order of collateral relief may be enlarged at any time upon petition.
Record Relief: Until recently, pardons were the primary vehicle for record relief for convictions in Connecticut, and pardoned convictions are granted generously by an appointed administrative board, then “erased” (expunged). Upon the subject’s request, records that have been erased are physically destroyed after three years. Records of individuals under the age of 21 who were adjudicated as a “youthful offender,” are automatically erased upon reaching age 21, if they had no subsequent felony convictions. Several programs for diversion or deferred adjudication may also result in erasure, and victims of human trafficking may seek vacatur of convictions (and presumably erasure). Where the erasure statute applies, a court may proceed on its own motion to dismiss charges, and records will automatically be erased.
In June 2021, Connecticut enacted a “Clean Slate” law, effective January 1, 2023, which establishes a process to automatically erase records of most misdemeanor convictions and certain less serious felony convictions entered after January 1, 2000, after a specified period following the person’s most recent conviction for a crime (except for certain drug possession offenses). A person’s criminal record must be erased in the event of acquittal or dismissal, and the state and its agencies may not use non-conviction records in connection with employment or licensure. Partial sealing is available for charges dismissed in a conviction case, but only for electronic databases. Juveniles adjudicated delinquent, who are at least 18 years old, may petition for erasure of their records after two years for less serious offenses, and four years for more serious ones.
Certificates of Relief: The pardon board or court supervisory agency may issue certificates of rehabilitation in cases that do not yet qualify for a full pardon, to give relief from legal barriers to employment and/or licensure. They may be sought at any time after sentencing for the purpose of promoting rehabilitation. Individuals convicted under federal law or the law of another state are eligible for a COR if they reside or do business in the state.
In Delaware records eligible for expungement fall into two categories: mandatory and discretionary (by petition). Per a 2021 law, records authorized for mandatory expungement must be automatically expunged effective in August 2024. These include most misdemeanor convictions, as well as cases “terminated in favor of the accused,” including acquittals, dismissals after probation before judgment, dismissals of all charges, and arrests that are not charged within 1 year of the arrest. In 2021 and 2022 the category of mandatory expougements was expanded to include more misdemeanors and a handful of minor felonies. Until the automatic system is operational, records may only be expunged on application to the State Bureau of Investigation after waiting periods of three years after conviction (for violations), five years (for less serious misdemeanors, including decriminalized marijuana offenses but excluding domestic violence and other offenses), and ten years (for a handful of less serious felonies). Undisposed cases became eligible in 2022 for mandatory expungement after seven years. In all but the least serious cases, the person must have no prior or subsequent convictions.
Additional convictions may be expunged upon petition to the court, if the person has no prior or subsequent disqualifying convictions, after waiting periods ranging from three to seven years. Pardoned convictions may also be expunged on petition. Victims of human trafficking convicted of any nonviolent crime or adjudicated delinquent may petition for pardon or vacatur, with expungement to follow in either case. Juvenile records may be expunged under a bifurcated scheme analogous to the one applicable to criminal records, with expungement mandatory in some cases and discretionary in others, with certain “prohibitions to expungement.” Expungement means that all law-enforcement agency records and court records are “destroyed, segregated, or placed in the custody of the State Bureau of Identification,” and are not released except to law enforcement and the courts.
The D.C. record clearing law was completely revised effective March 2023, replacing one of the most restrictive and confusing schemes with a reasonably clear and generous one. Sealing by petition is available for all non-convictions records, and for misdemeanor convictions and all but the most serious felonies, after waiting periods of five and eight years after completion of sentence. Effective in 2025, automatic sealing is available for non-conviction records and certain less serious misdemeanors after a 10-year waiting period. Expungement is available by petition in actual innocence cases and for victims of human trafficking, and automatic expungement is available for decriminalized conduct (marijuana). Applicable waiting periods for all arrests and convictions need no longer be satisfied before sealing, and a person need no longer waive the right to seal records not yet eligible as under the earlier law. Waiting periods are no longer extended by “disqualifying” arrests or convictions. The court must determine whether sealing is “in the interests of justice,” weighing certain required and discretionary factors.
At any time, a person may seek expungement on grounds of actual innocence, decriminalized conduct, or, for all but specified violent and sexual offenses, conduct resulting from having been a victim of trafficking. If a record of arrest or conviction is sealed, its subject may deny it in most situations, except that access is authorized for certain law enforcement, court, employment, and licensing purposes. Juvenile records may be sealed after two years once the person is 18, if there have been no subsequent convictions.
There is no statutory authority to seal or expunge adult convictions, including pardoned convictions, with the limited exception of convictions of victims of human trafficking. Courts have discretion to order sealing of some non-conviction records and expungement of others, if the person has no prior convictions and no prior expungements, unless the charges arose under a long list of crimes of violence or sexual misconduct. Records of “withheld” cases (deferred adjudication) may be sealed if the charges are otherwise eligible, and the person has no prior convictions or expungements. Notwithstanding other eligibility requirements, a person found to have acted in lawful self-defense may have the record expunged. A 2019 law authorized the creation of an automated process for sealing eligible non-conviction records.
Expungement results in destruction of the record, while sealing permits limited law enforcement, employment, and licensing access. Before petitioning a court to expunge a criminal record, a person must apply to the department of law enforcement for a certificate of eligibility. Sealing is available to victims of human trafficking if their offense or alleged offense was related to the trafficking. Juvenile records are generally confidential except for serious offenses, and expungement is available for non-judicial records of a first-offense non-violent misdemeanor, after successful completion of diversion. Expungement for more serious juvenile adjudications is available once the person reaches the age of 26.
In 2020, Georgia extended its law on administrative record restriction to make adult misdemeanor convictions and pardoned convictions eligible for administrative relief followed by sealing of court records, pursuant to a petition process after a short conviction-free waiting period with no pending charges. Certain misdemeanors and felonies involving “serious violence” and sexual offenses would not be eligible. Under preexisting law, record restriction and sealing are also available on petition for first-time drug convictions and dispositions in “accountability courts.” Administrative non-conviction records are automatically restricted, and court records may be sealed by petition. The court must find in each case that “the harm otherwise resulting to the privacy of the individual clearly outweighs the public interest.” Felony charges dismissed pursuant to a plea to a misdemeanor may also be restricted after four years. A discharge without adjudication after the completion of probation for first felony offenders “completely exonerates” the defendant, seals the court record, and prohibits use of the record to deny employment except in limited cases (e.g., working with vulnerable populations). Juvenile records may be sealed upon petition to the court after a two-year waiting period and a finding of rehabilitation, and juvenile victims of human trafficking may petition for sealing of sex offenses related to the trafficking.
There is no statutory authority to seal or expunge adult convictions, with two exceptions: convictions for prostitution and related offenses may be vacated and sealed by the court after a three-year waiting period if there are no subsequent convictions; convictions for possession of three ounces or less of marijuana (decriminalized) may be expunged. There is no authority to expunge or seal pardoned convictions. Deferred adjudication is available for nonviolent first-time offenses, and the record may be expunged after one year upon application to the court and attorney general. Deferred adjudication is also an option for those who are convicted of first-time drug possession, with expungement available if the crime was committed under the age of 20.
Non-conviction information is not publicly accessible except to criminal justice agencies and agencies authorized by law; upon application by the subject, the attorney general will expunge a record of arrest if no conviction resulted, and the individual may also apply to the court for expungement of court records. Juvenile records are confidential; courts may expunge juvenile records if no charges were brought, or the individual was held not responsible.
There is no statutory authority to seal or expunge adult convictions, including pardoned convictions, with one exception: victims of human trafficking convicted of prostitution or other offense as a result of being trafficked may petition “to vacate such conviction and/or to expunge the criminal history records.” Any defendant who was convicted of a misdemeanor or felony and not sentenced to a prison term, or whose sentence was deferred, may apply to the sentencing court upon discharge to have the sentence set aside and the charges dismissed, or for a reduction of the conviction from a felony to a misdemeanor. In addition any person convicted of a felony and sentenced to a prison term may have the sentence reduced to a misdemeanor five years after discharge, or earlier if the prosecutor so stipulates. The defendant must not have been convicted of any further felony or have charges pending, and the court must find “good cause.” Only treason, murder and sex offenses are not eligible. The dismissal “shall have the effect of restoring the defendant to his civil rights,” including firearms rights, but there is no authority to expunge or seal the record.
Other non-conviction records may be sealed upon request to the state police after one year. Juvenile adjudications, except for serious offenses, may be expunged after a waiting period (five years for felonies, one year for misdemeanors). After a hearing, the court shall grant expungement petition if it finds the person has been held accountable, is a contributing member of society, and expungement will not risk public safety.
Record relief: Most misdemeanor and felony convictions are eligible for sealing upon petition three years after termination of the person’s most recent sentence, if they have no intervening findings of guilt. Eligibility does not depend upon payment of court debt, and restitution may be reduced to a civil judgment. Ineligible offenses include DUI, sex crimes, animal care crimes, and domestic battery. Non-conviction records may be expunged (as opposed to sealed) as may those that have been pardoned (if the pardon document so authorizes). Immediate sealing is available for victims of human trafficking for any offense related to the trafficking. Sealed records of felonies may be released pursuant to state or federal laws requiring a background check.
Deferred adjudication is available for first-time nonviolent felony offenses, with expungement five years after successful completion of probation. Non-conviction records may be sealed on petition at disposition, and may be expunged if the person has no prior convictions. In addition, marijuana arrests and convictions may be expunged pursuant to a tiered procedure involving automatic relief for non-conviction records and minor possession offenses, and relief by petition for more serious offense. Most juvenile records are automatically expunged after a waiting period that varies from zero to two years, except that those adjudicated for more serious felonies must petition for expungement after two years. All juvenile records which have not been expunged are sealed.
Judicial certificates: Courts are authorized to issue two types of certificates. A Certificate of Relief from Disabilities addresses licensing restrictions and creates an enforceable “presumption of rehabilitation” that must be given effect by a licensing board. A Certificate of Good Conduct lifts mandatory employment, licensing and housing bars, and evidences the individual’s rehabilitation. Certificates may be issued by the sentencing court, either at the time of sentencing or upon satisfactory completion of sentence, or by the circuit court to those convicted of federal and out-of-state offenses, after a brief waiting period.
Judicial expungement is mandatory, upon petition to the court, for non-conviction records, misdemeanors, and eligible less-serious felonies; expungement is discretionary for more serious felonies. Eligibility waiting periods range from one year for non-conviction records to ten years following completion of sentence for the most serious felonies. After expungement, non-conviction records, and records of misdemeanors and minor felonies are sealed; more serious felonies remain public but are “marked as expunged.” Convictions of victims of human trafficking may be vacated and expunged as a non-conviction record, and pardoned convictions are automatically expunged and sealed. Certain offenses are ineligible for expungement, and anyone convicted of such offenses is not eligible for expungement of any otherwise eligible crimes (such offenses include sexual or violent offenses, misconduct in office, or two or more separate felonies involving unlawful use of a deadly weapon). Courts may expunge juvenile records at any time upon petition; courts must expunge automatically upon reaching age 19 (ex. for felonies).
In 2022 expungement was made automatic for most non-conviction records.
Expungement may be granted without a hearing unless the prosecutor objects; all fines and fees must be paid and no charges may be pending. Where expungement is sought for a conviction, a petitioner may seek to expunge multiple convictions in multiple courts, but all petitions must be filed within one year; after that year, a person may not file another petition in their lifetime. Once records are expunged, only a criminal justice agency may access them without a court order. Expungement restores rights (including firearms to all but serious violent offenders), limits employer/licensing inquiry, protects against discrimination, and bars reporting by private background screeners. Administrative sealing of convictions is also available from the state police after 15 years. Deferral or continuance of prosecution is available for a “drug abuser” or “alcoholic” charged with a less serious felony, if they have no more than one prior conviction.
A single misdemeanor conviction may be expunged by the court if at least eight years have passed since conviction and the person has no other convictions or pending criminal charges, has not previously been granted more than one deferred judgment, and has paid all financial obligations ordered by the court, including indigent counsel fees. A lengthy list of ineligible crimes includes weapons offenses, misuse of public office, livestock abuse, and a variety of violent or sexual offenses. A person may be granted only one expungement in a lifetime. There is no statutory authority to seal or expunge felony convictions or pardoned convictions. Deferred adjudication, followed by expungement of records, is available for first offenses; however, it may be used to enhance punishment for a subsequent offense. Records of acquittals and dismissed charges (excluding deferred adjudication) may be expunged after 180 days, but only if all court debt has been paid. Juvenile records are presumptively confidential if they do not involve a forcible felony offense, but forcible felony records may be made confidential upon petition; juvenile records may be sealed upon petition after a two-year waiting period if the juvenile is at least age 18 and has no subsequent offenses.
Expungement of convictions is available upon petition to the court for all but serious violent and sexual offenses, following a waiting period of three to five years after completion of sentence. There is a presumption in favor of expungement if the petitioner has not been convicted of a felony in the past two years, no charges are pending, and the court finds that “the circumstances and behavior of the petitioner warrant the expungement” and expungement is “consistent with the public welfare.” Victims of human trafficking may petition for expungement of prostitution convictions and diversions after one year. A person must be informed at each stage of the criminal process about the possibility of obtaining expungement, including upon release from prison. After expungement, a person “shall be treated as not having been arrested, convicted or diverted of the crime,” except that the expunged conviction may be considered in a subsequent criminal proceeding.
Prosecutors have authority to enter into diversion agreements promising dismissal of charges in all but the most serious cases, and courts may make rules to offer diversion without statutory limits. Non-conviction records may be expunged on petition if the court finds either that the person was acquitted, or that expungement would be “in the best interests of justice and charges have been dismissed or no charges have been or are likely to be filed.” There is a filing fee of up to $195 to expunge non-conviction and conviction records. Juvenile records may be expunged after a hearing if the court finds that the person is at least age 23 or two years have passed since final discharge, there have been no subsequent convictions or adjudication, no charges are pending, and the petitioner’s circumstances and behavior warrant expungement.
Courts are authorized upon petition to vacate specified Class D felony convictions and pardoned convictions, dismiss the charges, and expunge the record five years after completion of sentence, with no intervening convictions and no charges pending. There is a filing fee of $50 and an “expungement fee” of $250 that must be paid in full before expungement will be ordered. Expungement of a single misdemeanor conviction (or series of misdemeanors arising from the same incident) is mandatory five years after completion of sentence if there are no intervening convictions or charges pending; expungement of multiple misdemeanors is discretionary. Expungement of non-violent convictions by victims of human trafficking is available 60 days after judgment.
Deferred adjudication (“pretrial diversion”) leading to expungement is available to a person charged with a Class D felony offense (or with court permission Class C felonies) who has had no prior felony convictions within a ten-year period. After March 2020, the court is required to automatically expunge non-conviction records upon disposition in cases of acquittal or dismissal with prejudice; for cases disposed of prior to that time, expungement is mandatory upon petition after 60 days without a hearing. In cases where felony charges have not been indicted after 60 days, expungement is also mandatory upon petition after notice to the district attorney. Dismissals without prejudice are eligible for expungement after a three-year waiting period for felonies, and a one-year period for misdemeanors. Expungement is available for juvenile offenses, excluding sex offenses and violent offenses, after a two-year waiting period; expungement of juvenile records not resulting in adjudication is automatic at time of disposition.
Eligible convictions may be expunged upon motion ten years after completion of sentence for felonies and five years for misdemeanors, if there have been no intervening convictions and no pending charges. Specified offenses are ineligible. Persons entitled to “first offender pardons” are eligible for immediate expungement, specifically including drug crimes. Expungement of felonies may be granted only once every 15 years (except for deferred adjudication cases), and misdemeanor expungements only once every five years (except for DUI convictions which must wait 10 years). Expunged records are not publicly available but may be accessed by law enforcement and certain licensing agencies and may serve as predicates.
Expungement is authorized following deferred adjudication for certain noncapital felonies, and other non-conviction records may be expunged “at any time.” A felony arrest that resulted in a misdemeanor conviction may be expunged. Non-adjudication juvenile records may be expunged at age 17; misdemeanor adjudications may be expunged two years after satisfaction of judgement; felony adjudications, excluding certain serious offenses, may be expunged two years after satisfaction of judgement, with no subsequent weapons offenses and no pending charges.
Effective in August 2022, Maine authorizes sealing of court records for Class E crimes (current or former”) committed between the ages of 18 and 28, after a four-year waiting period, if the person has no other convictions and has not had charges deferred since completion of the sentence to be sealed. Various agencies still have access to the record, inclduing professional licensing agencies.
There is no statutory authority to seal or expunge adult convictions of non-conviction records. Various non-conviction records held by criminal justice agencies are made confidential, although disclosure may be made to any person who makes a specific inquiry about whether a named individual was arrested or charged “on a specific date.” Pardoned convictions are treated like non-conviction records, except that they may upon petition be deleted from the FBI records ten years after final discharge. These provisions do not apply to court records, which are available to the public. Deferred adjudication is available for less serious offenses. Juvenile records may be sealed upon petition after a three-year waiting period if there are no subsequent adjudications or convictions.
Expungement is authorized for 100 enumerated misdemeanors upon petition five years after completion of sentence, and for a handful of felonies (theft, burglary, drug-related) after seven years, if there have been no subsequent convictions, unless the subsequent conviction becomes eligible. In a few cases the eligibility period is 10 years. Relief is mandatory unless the prosecutor objects, in which case there must be a hearing to determine whether the person is a risk to public safety, and whether expungement would be in the best interest of justice. Expunged records may be opened only by court order and are destroyed after three years. In addition, “shielding” (sealing) is available for 12 enumerated non-violent misdemeanors after a 3-year waiting period. Expungement is also available for pardoned nonviolent first offenses, nuisance convictions after three years, and decriminalized conduct. Victims of human trafficking whose convictions are vacated may also seek expungement. A constitutional ballot initiative in November 2022 legalized personal use of cannabis, and resulted in legislation automating sealing of some minor convictions and reducing waiting periods for expungement of both possession and PWID cannabis offenses.
Arrest records not leading to charges are automatically expunged after 60 days; other non-conviction records may be expunged upon petition three years after disposition or completion of treatment, including charges dismissed following deferred adjudication (“probation before judgment”). Juvenile records may be sealed at any time upon a showing of “good cause,” and must be sealed when the person reaches the age of 21.
With certain exceptions, convicted persons are entitled to have their records sealed upon application to the department of probation 7 years after disposition or release from confinement for a felony and 3 years for a misdemeanor, without a conviction in the waiting period. Exceptions include firearms offenses, crimes by public officials, and crimes “against public justice” such as perjury and witness tampering. For sex offenses, the waiting period is 15 years after completion of sentence and removal from registry, unless registered as Level 2 or 3. Pardoned convictions are eligible for immediate sealing. Victims of human trafficking may petition the court to vacate a conviction for prostitution or simple drug possession, with sealing to follow. Records of decriminalized offenses, including marijuana possession, may be sealed immediately. Sealing prohibits use in connection with employment, housing and licensing, but it does not expunge.
Some non-conviction records are eligible for automatic sealing (acquittals and deferred adjudication cases), and some require a judicial finding “that substantial justice would best be served” (nolle prosequi or dismissed charges). Juvenile records must be sealed upon request if 3 years have elapsed, with no adjudication, guilty findings (except some motor vehicle offenses), imprisonment or juvenile custody in the preceding 3 years. Records of nonviolent non-sexual juvenile adjudications are eligible for expungement (permanent erasure or destruction) after three years for misdemeanors and seven years for felonies.
Effective April 2021, eligibility for set-aside and sealing expands to an unlimited number of misdemeanors and up to three felonies, provided that no more than two convictions for assaultive crimes may be set-aside in a person’s lifetime, and not more than one conviction for the same offense if the offense is punishable by more than 10 years in prison. In counting convictions most crimes in the same 24-hour period arising from the same transaction are counted as a single offense. Waiting periods ranging from 3 to 7 years apply. A petitioner must give notice to all interested parties, and the court holds a hearing to consider the person’s “circumstances and behavior” since the conviction and to determine whether “setting aside the conviction is consistent with the public welfare.” A conviction that has been set aside is sealed by court rule. Charges dismissed pursuant to first offender drug deferred adjudication scheme count as misdemeanors for purposes of applying for set-aside. Felonies subject to a life sentence are ineligible, as are traffic and sex offenses. Victims of human trafficking may have prostitution and related convictions set-aside and sealed. (Prior to April 2021, only one felony conviction was eligible for set-aside upon petition to the convicting court after a five-year waiting period, as long as the person had no more than two misdemeanor convictions. People with no more than two misdemeanor convictions and no felony conviction may petition for set-aside of one or both misdemeanors, also after a five-year waiting period.)
Set-aside and sealing will become automatic in 2023 for an unlimited number of minor misdemeanors seven years after imposition of sentence; and, up to four more serious misdemeanors and up to two less serious felonies would be automatically expunged 7 or 10 years after imposition of sentence or release from imprisonment, respectively, provided that the conditions in the petition-based standards are met.
Records of uncharged arrests must be sealed by the state police repository upon the person’s release; the repository must also seal other non-conviction records upon receipt of a court order with final disposition, and courts have a policy of making their own corresponding records nonpublic in such situations. Juveniles may petition the court to set aside up to four adjudications (one of which may be a felony) one year after the last adjudication or release from detention, or upon reaching age 18, whichever is later. Procedures are almost identical to those that apply to adult set-asides. Set-aside and sealing will become automatic in 2023.
Courts may expunge (or seal, a term used interchangeably) misdemeanors and a list of about 50 non-violent felonies, after waiting periods ranging from 2 to 4 years after completion of sentence. A formal petition need not be filed if the prosecutor does not object. In all cases the court must balance the interests of the public and public safety against the disadvantages to the subject. For convictions not on the statutory list, the courts may entertain petitions pursuant to their common law authority, but the statutory procedures and standards apply. Less serious felony convictions may be reduced to misdemeanors, and deferred adjudication is available for first drug offenses. Per a 2023 law, most misdemeanor and felony records eligible for petition-based expungement will be sealed automatically effective January 1, 2025, with varying waiting periods and no intervening convictions except petty misdemeanors. Pardoned convictions and some marijuana convictions will also be automatically expunged. Expunged records may not be considered in connection with public employment or licensing decisions, and if a business screening service knows that a criminal record has been expunged, or is the subject of a pardon, it must promptly delete the record. Expunged records may not be the basis of negligent hiring liability.
Non-conviction records may be expunged upon request at disposition, and are eligible for automatic expungement in 2025. Where no charges are filed, arrest records must be destroyed if a person was not convicted of a felony or gross misdemeanor in the prior ten years. Records of juvenile adjudications may be expunged by the court at any time, applying the same balancing test that applies to adult expungements. Juvenile records are generally available only until their subject reaches the age of 28.
A misdemeanor conviction may be expunged for a “first offender” upon completion of sentence. After a 5-year waiting period, a single felony conviction (defined to include multiple convictions arising from the same operative facts) may be expunged, but 10 listed serious felonies are ineligible. Expungement is also available through the state intervention court system (substance abuse, mental health, veterans). Victims of human trafficking convicted under the Mississippi Human Trafficking Act may petition the court to vacate their convictions. There is no statutory authority to seal or expunge pardoned convictions. Non-conviction records are eligible for immediate expungement upon petition, including uncharged arrests, charges dropped, charges dismissed after deferred adjudication, and acquittals. A person whose conviction was expunged need not report it, but an employer is not prohibited from asking the person about it. Juvenile records are generally confidential; they may be sealed when the person reaches the age of 20 or if the case was dismissed or set-aside. The judge also has authority to order destruction of juvenile records.
Expungement is authorized for all non-Class A felonies and all misdemeanors, subject to a lengthy list of exceptions for violent offenses, sex offenses, other more serious crimes, and driving offenses involving liquor or commercial driver’s licenses. Only one felony and two misdemeanors may be expunged in a lifetime (but all counts in a single indictment may be counted as a single offense). There is a waiting period of three years after completion of sentence for felonies and one year for misdemeanors, during which there may be no new convictions, and fines and restitution must be paid. The court notifies the prosecutor, who in turn is responsible for notifying any victim. A hearing may be dispensed with if the parties agree, but the court in each case must find that the petitioner is not a threat to public safety and that expungement is in the public interest. In addition, prostitution pleas and convictions may be expunged if the person was a minor acting under coercion. Expunged records are generally not available to the public, but remain available to criminal justice agencies, licensing agencies, and employers that are required to exclude convicted individuals.
Any felony or misdemeanor for which probation may be imposed is eligible for suspended imposition of sentence. Records in cases disposed of favorably to the defendant are automatically “closed,” but expungement is available only pursuant to the same eligibility rules and procedures that apply to convictions. Juvenile records are generally unavailable to the public, and juveniles may petition the court to destroy their records once they reach the age of 17.
There is no statutory authority to seal or expunge adult felony convictions. Expungement is available for multiple misdemeanors, but only once in a person’s lifetime. Relief is presumed for all but certain serious misdemeanors after a 5-year waiting period; other misdemeanors may also be expunged in the court’s discretion. Misdemeanors from different counties may be expunged in a single proceeding. Effective Jan. 1, 2021, a person serving a sentence–or who has completed a sentence–for an marijuana act legalized or punishable by a lesser sentence under the 2020 marijuana initiatives may petition the sentencing court for an expungement, resentencing, and/or redesignation. Deferred sentencing is available for misdemeanors and first felony offenses, after which charges are dismissed and access to records is limited. Non-conviction arrest records must be returned to defendant or destroyed. Youth court and associated law enforcement records are automatically sealed upon defendant’s reaching age 18.
There is no statutory authority to seal or expunge adult convictions. Those sentenced to probation or to pay a fine may petition the court to set-aside the conviction upon discharge, if the court finds that the order will be “in the best interest of the offender and consistent with the public welfare.” In 2020, for the first time, a person sentenced to a term of imprisonment of one year or less may also petition the sentencing court to “set aside” the conviction, with certain exceptions. Set-aside “nullifies” the conviction and removes “all civil disabilities and disqualifications” but does not expunge or seal the record. Sealing is authorized for pardoned convictions, for victims of human trafficking for “any offense” directly resulting from the trafficking, and in cases of deferred judgments. For non-convictions, upon acquittal or entry of an order dismissing a case, including for successful drug court program completion, information pertaining to the case is sealed and not disseminated to persons other than criminal justice agencies. Arrests where charges were not filed because of diversion are sealed after two years, and records of uncharged arrests are sealed after one year. Most juvenile records are automatically sealed upon disposition.
All convictions except for crimes against a child, sex offenses, and certain DUIs, are eligible for sealing after a waiting period ranging from one to 10 years after discharge or release from prison if no convictions during waiting period or pending charges. There is an explicit presumption in favor of sealing except for those dishonorably discharged from probation or parole, whose sealing is discretionary. Sealed convictions may be denied and have no predicate effect. Non-conviction records are presumptively eligible for sealing after the charges are dismissed, declined for prosecution (after the limitations period has run or 10 years), or a person is acquitted. There is limited authority to defer sentencing in drug cases. Victims of human trafficking may petition to have any non-violent conviction vacated and the record sealed. Sealing is also available for conduct that was subsequently decriminalized. Effective in 2021, pardoned convictions may also be sealed. Most juvenile records are automatically sealed when the person turns 21, except that earlier sealing is available by petition after a three-year waiting period, and certain violent and sexual offenses are not eligible for sealing until the person turns 30.
Convictions for most nonviolent offenses may be “annulled” by the court upon petition after waiting periods ranging from one to ten years after completion of sentence or release from prison, subject to a “public welfare” standard. Victims of human trafficking may have prostitution convictions vacated and annulled, and convictions for marijuana possession may also be annulled. There currently exists no statutory authority for deferred adjudication except in drug court. Non-conviction records may be annulled by the court subject to the “public welfare” standard. Records in the repository that have been annulled or that did not result in conviction are confidential, and not available to background screeners. Juvenile records are confidential; they are “closed” when a person turns 21, though they are still available to law enforcement.
Record relief: New Jersey has two main paths to expungement of convictions: one is via petitions filed in court, and the other is a newly authorized “clean slate” authority that will eventually be automatic. Petition-based expungement of a single “indictable” offense (felony) is authorized five years after completion of sentence, and of up to three additional “disorderly persons” offenses (misdemeanors) after a 5-year waiting period running from the last conviction. The waiting period may be reduced to three years if the person is seeking expungement only for disorderly offenses. A prior expungement is disqualifying, as is having more than one indictable offense conviction or more than three disorderly offense convictions, but a prior conviction is not. Most serious and violent offenses, offenses by public officials, and serious drug offenses are ineligible for expungement. An e-filing system was authorized in 2019 and is scheduled to launch in mid-2020.
Deferred adjudication leading to expungement is broadly available, and expungement by petition is also authorized for successful completion of drug court, prostitution by victims of human trafficking, and pardoned convictions.
The second path to expungement is styled “clean slate” and authorizes automatic expungement of eligible convictions ten years after completion of the last sentence (same eligibility criteria as petition-based expungement). Pending development of an automated delivery system, individuals may apply to the court and relief is mandatory upon a determination of eligibility. Also, a range of marijuana convictions are subject to automatic sealing and/or expungement.
Arrest and other non-conviction records are expunged automatically at time of disposition (the requirement of a petition having been repealed in 2019). Juvenile records may be expunged after a three-year waiting period with no subsequent adjudications or convictions.
Judicial/administrative certificates: The sentencing court and supervisory authority are authorized to issue certificates evidencing rehabilitation that “suspends certain disabilities, forfeitures or bars to employment or professional licensure.” A certificate may be awarded by the court at sentencing if the person has only one conviction and is not sentenced to prison, or by the supervisory authority three years after completion of supervision if the person has no other conviction within ten years.
Courts are authorized to expunge convictions for all but the most serious violent offenses after a conviction-free waiting period ranging from 2 to 10 years after completion of sentence, including payment of fines and fees. The court must find after a hearing that “justice will be served by an order to expunge,” applying a multi-factor test. Expungement is defined as limiting public access. Deferred sentencing following a plea is available except in first-degree felony cases, and expungement is available under the procedures and standards applicable to convictions. Certain marijuana-related records are subject to automatic expungement. Victims of human trafficking may petition to have their records sealed if the offense was not a homicide and the offense was directly related to the trafficking. Courts may also expunge non-conviction records (including conditional discharges) after a one-year waiting period, so long as no charges are pending. Juvenile records are generally unavailable to the public. Upon motion to the court made by a person over 18 years old (or younger, upon a showing of good cause), the court is required to seal all records so long as two years have passed since release from custody/supervision (or entry of judgement), and there have been no subsequent adjudications or convictions for any felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, and no charges are pending.
Judicial certificates: Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act provides for collection, notification, limited relief from mandatory consequences, and standards for discretionary disqualification. Gives effect to out-of-state relief, and relief is available to those with federal and out-of-state convictions.
Record relief: Sealing is authorized for up to two convictions (only one of them a felony) 10 years after sentencing or release from prison. Sex offenses, class A and violent felonies are ineligible. Multiple eligible convictions “committed as part of the same criminal transaction” are considered a single conviction. If the district attorney does not object, the court may decide the application without a hearing, applying a multi-factor test to determine rehabilitation. Conditional sealing is also available upon completion of judicial diversion, and it may extend to up to three prior misdemeanors. Prostitution convictions for victims of human trafficking may be vacated and sealed. Certain marijuana convictions are automatically expunged. Sealing of non-conviction records is mandatory upon termination of the action in favor of the accused. Juvenile adjudications terminated in favor of the juvenile must be sealed, and those concluding in a finding of delinquency may be sealed. Youthful offender (16-19) records are sealed automatically upon adjudication.
Judicial/administrative certificates: A Certificate of Relief from Disabilities (CRD) may be obtained from the sentencing court for first felony offenders not sentenced to prison, and otherwise from the parole board. A Certificate of Good Conduct (CGC) is available from the parole board for people with multiple felonies. Both certificates relieve mandatory consequences and signify rehabilitation, but only the CGC restores firearms rights and eligibility for public office. Persons residing or doing business in New York with convictions from other states or with federal convictions are eligible to apply for certificates.
Record relief: Up to three nonviolent felonies and multiple nonviolent misdemeanor convictions are eligible for “expunction” on a one-time basis — though relief may be staged where eligibility periods are different as long as there are no convictions after expungement. Multiple convictions in the same session of court shall be treated as one conviction. The eligibility waiting period is 20 years after completion of sentence for 2-3 felonies and 10 years for a single felony, seven years for more than one misdemeanor, and five years for a single misdemeanor, and there may be no new convictions in the waiting period. Eligible persons must have paid all restitution, have no pending charges, and have no prior expungements except as permitted where relief is staged, or where relief is sought for non-convictions. Deferred adjudication is available for first-time minor drug offenses, but expunction follows only for those under age 22. Youthful first offenses committed between the ages of 18 and 21 may also be expunged following a 4-year waiting period, and youthful offenses are eligible under other authorities. Most non-conviction records may be automatically expunged, and expungement upon petition is also available without a hearing, notably to expunge dismissed charges in cases resulting in conviction. Juvenile records are generally unavailable to the public and may be sealed by court order and expunged after the person turns 18 after an 18-month period of good behavior.
Judicial certificates: A Certificate of Relief is available from the sentencing court one year after completion of sentence for individuals with a limited number of misdemeanors and minor felonies. This certificate relieves mandatory collateral consequences, certifies that the person poses no public safety risk, and provides negligent hiring protection.
Misdemeanor and felony convictions may be sealed upon petition, with conviction-free waiting periods of 3 and 5 years after conviction, respectively, except that violent offenses must wait 10 years and sex offenses are not eligible. The court may grant a petition if it finds that the petitioner has made a showing of “good cause,” has completed the sentence and paid restitution, and that “the benefit to the petitioner outweighs the presumption of openness of the criminal record,” applying a multifactor test. A hearing may be dispensed with if the prosecutor agrees. “Seal” is “to prohibit the disclosure of the existence or contents of court or prosecution records unless authorized by court order.” Minor felony convictions may be set aside and knocked down to misdemeanors after successful probation. First offense marijuana possession may be sealed after two years unless there is a subsequent conviction. Victims of human trafficking may have prostitution convictions vacated and sealed.
Deferred imposition of sentence is available, after which the record sealed. Otherwise, access to non-conviction records, including records of diversionary dispositions, may be sealed by court rule if the court finds the interest of justice will be served, pursuant to a balancing test. Juvenile adjudications for prostitution, theft and forgery, and drug possession linked to being victim of human trafficking may be vacated and expunged. Otherwise, juvenile records are generally unavailable to the public, and are destroyed automatically after 10 years or earlier upon petition.
Record relief: Sealing may be sought for an unlimited number of felonies of the 4th or 5th desgree after a one-year waiting period after final discharge, up to two felonies of the third degree and an unlimited number of more serious misdemeanors after a three-year waiting period, felonies involving nonviolent sexual offenses after five years, and felonies involving improper compensation after a seven-year waiting period. Minor misdemeanors must wait either one year or six months, depending upon the nature of the offense. Sealing is also available for pardoned convictions and non-conviction records upon disposition. Felonies of the first and second degree are never eligible, nor are violent offenses. “Final discharge” requires payment of restitution. Sealing restores rights and prohibits inquiry by employers and licensing boards in most cases, but a sealed conviction may be used in subsequent criminal case.
An application for expungement (destruction ) of a felony may be made 10 years after the time the offense would be eligible for sealing. However, expungement of a misdemeanor may be sought one year after final discharge, or six months in the case of a minor misdemeanor. Expungement is also available for prostitution convictions of victims of human trafficking. Juvenile records may be sealed six months after discharge, except for convictions of rape or murder, and sealed records are automatically expunged 5 years afterward or when the person reaches age 23, or earlier by petition if the court finds rehabilitation.Sealing is available for out-of-state and federal offenses (only seals records held by Ohio).
Intervention in lieu of conviction is available for those with no prior violent felony convictions.
Judicial certificates: Judicial Certificate of Qualification for Employment (CQE) removes specified mandatory occupational and licensing consequences and creates a presumption of fitness; 1-year waiting period after completion of sentence for felonies, 6 months for misdemeanors. Unlike judicial certificates in some other states, individuals with out-of-state or federal convictions are ineligible for a CQE, even if they reside and/or do business in the state.
Up to two nonviolent felony convictions may be expunged (sealed) 10 years after completion of the last sentence, if no charges are pending. Offenses arising out of the same transaction or occurrence shall be treated as one conviction and offense. One nonviolent felony may be expunged after 5 years, and non-violent felonies reclassified as misdemeanors may be expunged after 30 days. Misdemeanors may be expunged after 5 years if no prior felonies and no charges pending, except that the waiting period is waived if the sentence involves a fine less than $500 and no (or suspended) prison term, upon satisfaction of fine. Pardoned offenses and prostitution convictions of victims of human trafficking may be expunged with no waiting period.
Deferred adjudication and probation is available for misdemeanors and first-time minor felony offenses, with expungement after a waiting period (5 years for felonies, one year for misdemeanors); deferred adjudication for people with first-time drug offenses leads to automatic expungement upon discharge. Non-conviction records may be expunged in case of acquittal or if no charges are filed; dismissed charges may be expunged only if the person has no felony convictions and the limitations period has passed. Records of juvenile adjudications may be expunged upon reaching age 18 if no adult arrests or pending charges.
In May 2022, Oklahoma enacted a law making expungement automatic for non-conviction records and eligible misdemeanors, but not for eligible felonies, including pardoned felonies. The automatic expungements commence in 2025.
Misdemeanors and Class C felony convictions may be set aside three to five years after judgment or release, and non-violent Class B felonies may be set aside after seven years, provided in all cases that there has been no other conviction during the waiting period. Set-aside restores all rights, relieves all disabilities, and seals the record. Sealing is also available for pardoned convictions, human trafficking victims convicted of prostitution, and marijuana possession convictions. Deferred adjudication in drug cases, first misdemeanor PBJ. Set-aside of non-conviction records is available 60 days after arrest if no charges filed, or any time after an acquittal or dismissal, with prior record exclusions repealed in 2021. Juvenile records may be expunged upon reaching age 18 after a 5-year waiting period if the person has no subsequent convictions of a felony or Class A misdemeanor and no charges are pending. Juvenile records ineligible for expungement may be eligible for set-aside and sealing.
Sealing (“order for limited access”) is automatic for 2nd and 3rd degree misdemeanors and ungraded offenses after a 10-year conviction-free waiting period, with certain disqualifying priors (including any prior felony conviction), and full payment of restitution. Sealed records are not available to public or private employers, or landlords, but remain available to licensing agencies and other state and criminal justice agencies. Sealing is also available by petition to the court, with broader eligibility (some first-degree misdemeanors eligible, fewer disqualifying priors, also requirement to pay restitution) and broader effect (licensing boards do not have access). “Clean slate” sealing is mandated for non-conviction records within 30 days of disposition, with the additional remedy of expungement by petition in cases where no disposition is indicated after 18 months.
Expungement is available by petition for “summary” offenses after five years; for underage drinking; for those age 70 with no arrests within 10 years; for pre-plea diversion (ARD); and for “probation before judgment” cases involving nonviolent, first-time drug offenses. Expungement is mandatory for pardoned offenses. Courts have inherent authority to redact conviction records to expunge dismissed charges. Juvenile records may be expunged six months after discharge on a consent decree or upon reaching age 18; or five years after delinquency adjudication.
Expungement of a conviction is available for misdemeanors and most felonies after a waiting period of six months (misdemeanors) or five years (felonies) without further conviction. The applicant must demonstrate “good moral reputation in the community,” and persons with a felony conviction must provide a DNA sample. A “certificate of rehabilitation” is available from the court on motion of the corrections department for persons who have been released on parole, directing that the sentence has been fully served; the conviction is not to be included in their criminal record certificate, but it may be used in subsequent criminal cases.
Record relief: Rhode Island law provides three separate authorities for expungement: 1) “first offenders,” defined as those with a single felony or misdemeanor conviction; 2) those with between two and six misdemeanor convictions; and 3) those who successfully completed deferred sentences. It also provides additional authority for expunging other diversionary dispositions as well as decriminalized offenses, and for sealing non-conviction and juvenile records. Sealing and expungement have been held to be functionally identical. Felony “first offenders” must wait ten years after completion of sentence without an arrest, and first misdemeanants five years; payment of court-imposed financial obligations is required, and some convictions for serious violence are ineligible. Additionally, up to six misdemeanors (except for domestic violence and DUI convictions) may be expunged after an arrest-free waiting period of 10 years if the person has no prior felony conviction. Some violent crimes are ineligible. After a hearing, the court must find that the applicant “has exhibited good moral character” and that “rehabilitation has been attained to the court’s satisfaction.” Expungement releases recipient “from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the crime,” including firearms disabilities, except that it may serve as a predicate offense and enhance a sentence in a subsequent prosecution.
Deferred sentencing is broadly available, and expungement is available immediately upon completion of a deferred sentence. Convictions for decriminalized conduct may also be expunged. Non-conviction records may be sealed on petition, and a proviso limiting relief (except in acquittals) to those with no prior felony conviction was repealed in 2021. Expungement is defined to mean sealing, and there are broad exceptions. Juvenile records are automatically sealed at disposition (with some exceptions) but may be used in subsequent sentencings.
Certificates of relief: A Certificate of Recovery and Re-entry may be issued by the parole board to persons with no more than one nonviolent felony conviction, after completion of sentence and payment of fines and restitution. A certificate may “serve as one determining factor as to whether the petitioner has been successful in his or her rehabilitation,” but does not remove mandatory consequences. Certificates are available for federal and out-of-state convictions.
Records of minor misdemeanor convictions and summary offenses may be expunged and destroyed after three years if there are no subsequent convictions (domestic violence convictions must wait five years). Youthful Offender Act (age 17 to 25) convictions for first offense minor felonies and non-violent misdemeanors may be expunged after five years if no prior or subsequent convictions. Various diversionary and other authorities, including for victims of human trafficking, may lead to expungement for non-violent first offenses. Traffic offenses cannot be expunged. There is no statutory authority to seal or expunge pardoned convictions. A person may petition for expungement if charges are dismissed (except as part of a plea) or acquitted, and then records are destroyed but law enforcement may retain records for 3 and 1/2 years; non-convictions disposed in Magistrate or Municipal Court after June 2, 2011 are automatically expunged. Juvenile records may be expunged when the person turns 18, with some exceptions for violent offenses and repeat offenses. All applications for expungement must be made through the Solicitor’s Office in the judicial circuit where the charge originated, which determines eligibility, coordinating with other agencies and with courts, and processes application as necessary. A fee of $250 applies, except that there is no fee for non-convictions.
Arrests and convictions for Class 2 misdemeanors, municipal violations, and petty offenses are automatically sealed (removed from the public record) after five years if all court-ordered conditions are satisfied, and there are no intervening convictions. There is no statutory authority to seal adult felony convictions unless they are pardoned. The state repository may destroy misdemeanor records after ten years, and the records of individuals over 75 who have been crime-free for ten years. Sealing follows deferred adjudication for people with no prior conviction charged with any felony and misdemeanor offenses except those punishable by death or life imprisonment. Non-conviction records may be expunged by petition one year after arrest if no charges were filed; and at any time after acquittal, or after dismissal with consent of prosecutor. Juvenile records may be sealed after a one-year waiting period if there are no subsequent adjudications or convictions, and if the court finds rehabilitation. Juvenile records of victims of human trafficking or sexual exploitation may be vacated and expunged.
Record relief: A person with no more than two convictions for specified misdemeanors and many nonviolent felonies (Class E through C) may petition for expungement on a one-time basis after waiting periods of five-to-fifteen years after completion of the most recent sentence. Multiple contemporaneous convictions may be treated as a single offense and expunged. Courts must notify defendants of their eligibility for expungement at the time of sentencing. Expungement results in the destruction of the public record but the court retains a confidential copy that is available to law enforcement. Victims of human trafficking may have any crimes attributable to that status expunged, but at least one of the crimes must be for prostitution. A pardon is grounds for expungement. Expungement restores firearms rights even for those convicted of drug and violent offenses. A special expungement filing fee has been repealed, and the regular $100 filing fee may be waived.
Deferred adjudication leading to expungement is available to persons charged with all but serious violent and sexual offenses, with no more than one prior conviction for a felony or serious misdemeanor that resulted in confinement. Diversion is available for those charged with misdemeanor or low-level felony offenses if a person has no prior felony or Class A misdemeanor conviction and no prior diversions. The court must destroy public records in cases of acquittal or where charges have been dismissed; the court may also redact conviction records to expunge dismissed charges from electronic databases. Expungement is mandatory for juvenile misdemeanors after a one-year waiting period, and other juvenile records are eligible for expungement in the court’s discretion once the person has turned 17 and a year has passed since the most recent adjudication. Juvenile victims of human trafficking may petition to expunge prostitution convictions related to the trafficking.
Judicial certificates: Judicial restoration of rights is available upon petition after expiration of the maximum sentence or a pardon, if the court determines that the petitioner “merits having full rights of citizenship restored” (which includes firearms rights in most cases). Individuals who have had rights restored may also petition court for a “Certificate of Employability,” which lifts most licensing barriers and protects employers from negligent hiring liability. Persons with federal or out-of-state convictions are eligible. The court makes findings after a hearing about character, need for relief (including for employment or licensing) and public safety.
Texas provides no record relief for felony convictions, and authorizes sealing (“order of nondisclosure”) in misdemeanor cases only where the person has no prior convictions or deferred dispositions, after a two-year waiting period for more serious misdemeanors. Sealing is discretionary after a waiting period of up to 5 years for first-offense DUI offenses. An order of nondisclosure prohibits criminal justice agencies from disclosing criminal history record information to the public, and such information is exempted from disclosure under the Public Information Act. Victims of human trafficking may apply for set-aside and sealing for marijuana offenses, theft offenses, prostitution, or Class A misdemeanor solicitation, if they were placed on community supervision.
Deferred adjudication/community supervision is available for most offenses and may result in sealing: sealing is automatic for many misdemeanor charges upon disposition; sealing is available by petition for serious and repeat misdemeanor charges after a two-year waiting period, and for felony charges after five years. “Expunction” is available for non-conviction records after a waiting period ranging from 180 days to three years. Expunction is also available for pardoned offenses, and for class C misdemeanors that have been deferred. Sealing for juvenile adjudications is automatic at age 19 for misdemeanors and non-conviction records, as long as the person does not have a conviction or pending charges; sealing is discretionary upon petition at age 18 or two years after discharge for felonies and other adjudications ineligible for automatic sealing.
A person convicted of one felony and varying numbers of misdemeanors, each contained in a separate criminal episode, is eligible to apply to expunge all but serious and violent offenses after a waiting period ranging from 3 to 10 years after completion of sentence, including payment of fines and restitution. If a person is eligible, an expungement order must issue unless court finds it would be “contrary to public interest.” Vacatur and expungement are available if the offense was committed while the petitioner was subject to force, fraud, or coercion (eligible convictions include possession of a controlled substance, prostitution, criminal trespass, theft, possession of forged documents). A petitioner must apply for and receive a “certificate of eligibility” from the Bureau of Criminal Identification before filing a petition with the court; the court may dispense with a hearing if there is no objection from the prosecutor or victim, and “shall issue” an order of expungement if not “contrary to the interests of the public.” A pardoned conviction is automatically expunged. Expungement entitles a person to deny that the arrest or conviction occurred; public employers and licensing boards may not ask about or consider expunged convictions. Effective May 1, 2020, Utah’s clean slate law authorizes development of an automated expungement process for certain less serious misdemeanors and certain non-conviction records, including dismissals due to a “plea in abeyance” (deferred adjudication).
Non-conviction records are eligible for expungement by petition after 30 days if no charges are filed, the charges are dismissed and the limitations period has expired on all charges, or the person is acquitted. Successful completion of an agreement pursuant to a “plea-in-abeyance” agreement (deferred adjudication) may result in expungement. Juvenile records may be expunged following a one-year waiting period after age 18, and the person has no violent convictions within five years or pending charges.
Record relief: Expungement and sealing are available for “qualifying” crimes (or “qualifying crimes arising out of the same incident or occurrence”) after a 5-year waiting period if no intervening convictions. In the event of an intervening conviction, the waiting period is extended to 10 years, with no felony conviction within 7 years and no misdemeanor within 5 years. Qualifying crimes are nonviolent non-sexual misdemeanors and several minor felonies including drug possession. In all cases, restitution must be paid in full. If the state’s attorney and petitioner stipulate to the granting of the petition, the court “shall grant” the petition without a hearing. Sealing and expungement have a similar effect (in both cases the response to an inquiry is that ‘no record exists”) except that, for expungement, records in accessible databases and the case file are destroyed; also, a sealed record may be used by law enforcement or in a civil suit, and the conviction may be used as a predicate in a subsequent prosecution. A person with a “qualifying” conviction (see above), resulting from being a victim of human trafficking, may have the conviction vacated and expunged. Convictions for offenses committed under age 21 may be sealed two years after discharge if the person is deemed rehabilitated.
Deferred sentencing results in expungement upon successful completion. Expungement is also available after two years under a diversion program available to those with up to two misdemeanors, and a youthful offender program (18-21) for those convicted of certain minor offenses. The court must expunge or seal all non-conviction records after a short waiting period unless the government objects. Juvenile records are generally unavailable to the public and may be sealed two years after discharge, if restitution has been paid, the person has no subsequent convictions or pending proceedings, and rehabilitation has been attained.
Judicial certificates: The Uniform Collateral Consequences of Conviction Act (UCCCA) authorizes the court to issue targeted relief from mandatory collateral consequences at sentencing (Order of Limited Relief), and more thorough relief after five years (Certificate of Restoration of Rights). Persons with out-of-state and federal convictions are eligible. UCCCA also requires that people be informed about expungement and sealing at sentencing, and recognizes relief granted in other states.
Expungement is authorized in misdemeanor cases; the government has the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that expungement should not be granted. Deferred adjudication is available for people with nonviolent first offenses and first-time drug possession offenses, with expungement after completion of probation. Expungement is also authorized for any youthful offense after a 5-year waiting period if under age 21 at the time of the offense. Expungement of non-conviction records is mandatory after the limitation period for charges dismissed or not prosecuted. Expunged records may be disclosed only upon court order, and only to courts in a criminal case or for government employment. Juvenile records may be sealed on motion two years after discharge if the person has not been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor, and no proceeding is pending seeking conviction or adjudication.
A law enacted in 2021 authorizes automatic sealing for some misdemeanor convictions and non-convictions, allows for sealing of felony acquittals and dismissals at disposition, and for sealing a broad range of misdemeanor and low-level felony convictions and deferred dismissals through a petition-based court process. Until that law becomes effective in 2025, there is no statutory authority to seal or expunge convictions, except that an absolute pardon (for innocence) or judicial writ of innocence permits expungement. Deferred dispositions are available, but expungement is not an option. As to other non-conviction records, courts will expunge records on petition after acquittals or where charges are nolle prossed or dismissed, but only where the court finds “manifest injustice” after a hearing, except where the person was charged with a misdemeanor and has no prior record, although the hearing may be waived by the prosecutor. After expungement, a person may deny any record and employers may not inquire about it. Juvenile records are generally unavailable to the public and are automatically destroyed after the person turns 19, and five years have passed since the last hearing, subject to a few exceptions.
Record relief: Convictions for all but the most serious and violent offenses may be “vacated” and the charges dismissed, upon discharge. For felonies there is a 5 to 10 year waiting period, and for misdemeanors a 3 to 5 year waiting period, during which there may be no new convictions. Certain misdemeanors involving violence or sexual assault are ineligible, but a single domestic violence conviction may be vacated after five years. Financial penalties need not be satisfied for felonies if five years have elapsed after supervision, but anomalously this requirement remains for misdemeanors. Pardon automatically vacates conviction. Vacatur results in limiting public access to state repository records, but there is no statutory authority to seal or limit access to court records. A court rule permits limiting access to vacated court records but only in compelling circumstances.
Non-conviction records must be deleted from agency records after a two-year waiting period if disposition is indicated, and after three years if no disposition is indicated, except that deletion is discretionary in diversion cases, if the person has an additional criminal record, or if subsequent charges are pending. Records in cases where sentencing deferred may also be sealed. Juvenile adjudication records are automatically sealed (except serious violence, sex, and drug offenses) upon satisfaction of terms and conditions of disposition, unless the court finds compelling reasons not to seal after a hearing; juvenile adjudications ineligible for automatic sealing may be sealed after a crime-free 2-to-5 year waiting period.
Judicial certificates: Judicial Certificates of Restoration of Opportunity (CROP) are available for all but the most serious crimes, after a waiting period ranging from 1 to 5 years after sentencing or release from confinement. CROPs prohibit licensing agencies from disqualifying individuals solely based on their conviction record. While employers and housing providers are not required to consider them, CROPs offer some protection against liability.
Some misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies are eligible for expungement after a 1 to 5 year waiting period. A person may apply for more than one misdemeanor but only for a single felony (including offenses arising from the same transaction or series of transactions). A hearing is required: applicants must obtain and serve documents on multiple parties, and must show by clear and convincing evidence that expungement is consistent with the general welfare and that they are rehabilitated. If the petition is granted, the court “shall order the sealing of all records in the custody of the court and expungement of any records in the custody of any other agency or official, including law-enforcement records.” A provision limiting a person to one expungement was repealed in 2020. Victims of human trafficking convicted of prostitution may petition for vacatur and expungement. Pardoned convictions are eligible for expungement after a one-year waiting period, five years after completion of sentence. There is broad statutory authority for deferred adjudication leading to expungement. Records of acquittals and dismissals may be expunged on petition, except where the defendant has a prior felony conviction. Juvenile records are automatically sealed one year after discharge, or when the person turns 19, unless the case was transferred to adult court.
There is no statutory authority to seal or expunge convictions, except in two specialized scenarios. A youthful conviction (under 25 at time of offense) for a misdemeanor or a minor non-violent first-time felony may be expunged upon successful completion of the sentence, but only if the court orders this relief at the time of sentencing. Victims of human trafficking may petition to have prostitution convictions vacated and expunged. Deferred prosecution is available in domestic violence and some sex offense cases; upon successful completion of deferral, the charges are dismissed and no conviction results. Non-conviction records (criminal justice, but not court records) may also be expunged, including records in which prosecution was deferred, under a statute providing for the return of fingerprint records when an arrested person is released without charges or cleared of the offense. Upon petition, juvenile records may be expunged once the person turns 17 and the sentence is completed, if the court after a hearing finds a benefit to the individual and no harm to society.
A single felony conviction may be expunged ten years after the sentence expires if the applicant has no other felony convictions and paid any restitution. This relief is not available for felony firearm offenses, for many sexual offenses, and for crimes involving violence, child endangerment, bribery, perjury, DUI, drug distribution. A handful of misdemeanors (simple assault, domestic violence, reckless endangerment and breach of peace) may also be expunged after five years if the offense did not involve use of a firearm. A hearing is required under either authority only if there is an objection. Expungement relief is available only once for misdemeanors.
Deferred sentencing is authorized on a one-time basis for misdemeanors and first felony offenses, excluding certain serious crimes; no conviction results but expungement is unavailable. Non-conviction records (excluding deferred sentences) may be expunged 180 days after dismissal of proceedings if no other charges are pending. Victims of human trafficking may have prostitution convictions vacated, after which they presumably may be expunged as non-convictions. Juvenile records (and certain municipal and circuit court cases, and non-conviction records of minors charged as adults) may be expunged and destroyed upon petition after reaching age 18, if the person has no subsequent felony convictions and rehabilitation is attained to the satisfaction of the court or prosecutor.