Expungement Information by State

Expungement is the legal process of redacting, sealing, or deleting criminal records. Expungement offers a fresh start and varies by state.



However, this law only applies to arrest records, non-violent felonies, misdemeanors, traffic violations, or municipal ordinance violation, where after a trial the person was found not guilty or the charge was dismissed with or without prejudice. Criminal convictions cannot be expunged.


Even if an individual has successfully completed probation, it is generally not possible to expunge a charge if an individual was found guilty. An arrest record can only be sealed if it is a case of mistaken identity or false accusation.


Arizona’s expungement means the same as “set aside.” This means that the conviction is not wiped out or destroyed. Instead, the judgment is vacated and the charges dismissed. If the conviction is set aside, the defendant will be relieved from all penalties and disabilities associated with the conviction other than those enforced by the Department of Transportation.


In Arkansas, defendants who were arrested or convicted of certain crimes can have their record sealed or closed and kept confidential, so that the public may no longer be able to see it. Also called a Petition and Order to Seal, expungement does not completely, physically destroy a criminal record. Certain misdemeanors are subjected to a five-year waiting period before they are sealed.


California has several record clearing methods. If convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense not involving a state prison sentence, a defendant is allowed to file a petition in the court of conviction seeking to have the conviction dismissed under California Penal Code section 1203.4.

If convicted of a crime involving a prison sentence, one has the option to file for a Certificate of Rehabilitation (CR) with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Once the CR is granted, it automatically becomes an application for a Governor’s Pardon.  

Under California Penal Code 851.87 individuals can have their arrest records sealed as a matter of right if no criminal charges were ever filed, the defendant was acquitted in a jury trial, criminal charges were filed but later dismissed, the conviction was vacated on appeal, or the defendant successfully completed a pre-sentencing of pretrial diversion program.


Only juvenile convictions or charges may be expunged in Colorado if the defendant was acquitted of the charge, went through a juvenile diversion program, and has stayed out of trouble ever since. Adults are allowed to have their records sealed (but not expunged) for certain felonies and misdemeanors after a ten-year waiting period. Some records such as those related to driving under the influence cannot be sealed.


In Connecticut, the expungement process is called “erasure of criminal record” and it is automatic in most cases. A record may be automatically erased or physically destroyed if the defendant was charged for a crime but not found guilty, the charges were dropped, the case was dismissed, or the case was put on hold.


In Delaware, a defendant is entitled to mandatory expungement upon request if the case was dismissed, the charges were dropped and one was acquitted of the crime. Exceptions to this rule include unlawful imprisonment, interference with custody, sex offenses, coercion, perjury, and others. Those who are not eligible for mandatory expungement can petition the court for discretionary expungement.


A criminal record in Florida can be expunged if the charges did not lead to a conviction or if the criminal record has already been sealed for 10 or more years. Expungement is only for arrests and those who were found guilty, pled no contest, or pled guilty are not eligible. Sealing a criminal history removes it from public view but expunging results in the records being physically destroyed by criminal justice agencies.  


In Georgia, records are restricted if the case was dismissed or not prosecuted and the defendant does not have pending charges, is not on probations, and has not been convicted in the previous 5 years. This allows for the record to remain restricted from the public domain. One is not eligible if he/she entered a “nolo contendere” plea or took an Alford plea.


Most adult arrest records in Hawaii can be expunged if the charges were dismissed, the defendant was acquitted or is not facing pending charges. Most convictions do not qualify for expungement. Non-violent first-time drug offenses are exempted. Waiting periods apply after expungement, the records are only available to law enforcement agencies


Both juvenile court records and adult records can be expunged or sealed if the verdict was withheld or deferred for nonviolent crimes. Idaho doesn’t differentiate between record sealing and expungement.


Illinois law permits sealing or expungement of sections of the record of a conviction. Sealing a conviction in Illinois helps prevent the public, including potential employers and landlords from accessing that record. To qualify for sealing of conviction, the defendant must have been sentenced to supervision. Also mandatory is a waiting period of 4 years starting from the time of discharge from supervision, and where no convictions were recorded. Some misdemeanors do not qualify for sealing but several Class 3 and 4 felonies qualify for expungement.


Certain misdemeanors and felonies may be expunged under Indiana’s Second Chance law. One can have their misdemeanors and non-violent felonies expunged, except if the crime is sexual in nature. A waiting period is mandatory. The person must have successfully completed their sentence, satisfied all obligations of the sentence, not have a pending or current driver’s license suspension, and no charges must be pending against the individual.


Iowa law allows for expungement of records after 180 days if the charges were dismissed, the defendant was found not guilty after a trial, or judgment was deferred. However, most convictions do not qualify for an expungement. Most juvenile records are automatically expunged once an individual reaches the age of 21.


An arrest record in Kansas can be expunged if there was no conviction. Most juvenile court records can be expunged after a two-year waiting period or once a person turns 23 years old. Serious crimes such as murder and rape cannot be expunged. Misdemeanors, infractions, and lower-level felonies can be expunged after 3 years after the final resolution of the case. A 5-year waiting period applies in cases involving more serious felonies.


Kentucky allows for restricted expungement of misdemeanor charges except for sex offenses and crimes against children. For cases that were either acquitted or dismissed, a petition for expungement can be filed 60 days after the dismissal. However, for a misdemeanor conviction to be expunged, a person must have completed the sentence/probation with no other convictions during that time. A certificate of eligibility from the Kentucky Court of Justice before filing a petition.


Most arrest records in dismissals, acquittals, and set-asides can be expunged. Even if the defendant did not plead, they are eligible for an expungement if 5 or more years have passed in a misdemeanor case and 10 or more years have passed in felony cases since the sentence was successfully completed. Offenses that are sexual in nature, involve violence, child abuse, or drug-related cannot be expunged. 


Motor Vehicle Administrations are automatically expunged after three years. A defendant may request for expungement if acquitted, not prosecuted, case settled or postponed, or convicted of one non-violent crime. No expungement if there are pending charges or the defendant is a repeat offender.  


Majority of adult records cannot be expunged but may be sealed particularly if charges were acquitted, dismissed, pardoned, or awaiting period has passed. Sexual and firearm convictions can never be sealed. Juvenile records can be sealed after 3 years if there are no pending charges or subsequent convictions.


Adult records can be expunged if convicted for a first-time offense, not convicted of a felony, is guilty but not mentally ill, or not convicted of a sex crime. One must not have any prior convictions. Juvenile records are destroyed once a sentence is diverted within 28 days after age 17.


The expungement law was changed in 2015, to embrace arrest records, misdemeanors, and certain felonies. Some former offenders can apply for record sealing 2 to 5 years after completing sentences. No expungement of kidnapping, murder, and certain sexual assault crimes


Depending on the severity of the crime, arrests, juvenile convictions, misdemeanors, and certain felonies can be expunged. Sex offenses and those related to an individual’s official duty cannot be expunged. 


Expungement in Missouri involves legally striking out, destroying, or obliterating records or information relating to criminal charges. All misdemeanors and non-Class A felonies can be expunged. Sex offenses, violent offenses, driving offenses, and other serious crimes cannot be expunged.


Any misdemeanor conviction is eligible for expungement if all aspects of the sentence have been completed, five years have passed since all the aspects were completed, and the defendant has not been charged with any new offenses. Convictions for felony or sex offenses are not eligible. Expungement results the in the destruction of all paperwork and investigation related to the case.


Only arrest records that never resulted in convictions, along with some juvenile cases can be expunged. Most former offenders have the option of getting a pardon with Nebraska’s Board of Pardons.


Technically, expungement in Nevada is not applicable. Both juvenile and adult arrest records may only be sealed with certain limitations. Sexual or child-related offenses cannot be sealed. Procedures and evidentiary requirements vary by state.


An individual whose case was dismissed or not prosecuted or resulted in a finding of not guilty can petition for annulments of the arrest at any time. The record is removed from public view but can be can be counted toward habitual offender status.


New Jersey law allows for expungement of conviction of numerous indictable offenses, municipal ordinances, disorderly individuals’ offenses, and juvenile adjudications, except for individuals who have graduated from a “special drug probation.” From October 1, 2018, convictions that are related or those that occurred close in time may be counted as a single crime in expungement proceedings.


New York Criminal Procedure Law 160.50 provide for sealing of cases where charges were either dismissed, not filed, set aside, vacated, or otherwise terminated. New York does not permit expungement or sealing of conviction, except for certain older controlled substances, marijuana, or loitering offenses.  


Most court and arrest records can be expunged particularly if acquitted or case was dismissed. Serious crimes require a 15 year waiting period and not all felonies qualify. Also, sexual convictions, vehicular offenses, hate crimes, most drug-related offenses, or assault are not eligible.


Only juvenile records can be expunged. Some adult criminal records can be sealed if acquitted, judgment deferred, or first marijuana offender. Sealing makes them confidential.


Ohio is a sealing state and eligible offenders can have their records sealed if the case involves a no-bill, dismissal, or acquittal. On must have no pending charges and have been convicted or not more than one offense.


Expungement obtainable for adult misdemeanors and felonies that are pardoned, dismissed or withdrawn. Violent felony charges or convictions can’t be expunged.


An individual may petition for the set-aside one year after an arrest and any time after dismissal or acquittal. A conviction record for nonviolent offenses can be expunged after a waiting period of 1 to 20 years. An order setting aside a conviction relieves all disabilities, restores rights and seal records.


Individuals with 1st, 2nd, or 3rd misdemeanors that do not involve violence can be expunged provided the offender has not been convicted again within the past 10 years. Expungement is automatic for individuals who have successfully gone through Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition programs.


Arrest and court records can be expunged especially if charges are acquitted, dismissed, or not filed. Expungement is only available for first-time offenders.


South Carolina permits expungement only and this means that the records are destroyed as if the crime never occurred. Arrest records are eligible for expungement immediately. Waiting periods for conviction cases vary. Hunting violations and failing to stop a vehicle for law enforcement can never be expunged.


Misdemeanors and felonies, as well as drunk driving, can be expunged if the petitioner is 75 years old, have not had another conviction, and the crime was committed at least 10 years ago. Crimes that are sexual in nature, minor related and most felonies cannot be expunged.


Individuals with arrest records or only 1 or 2 criminal convictions are eligible for expungement. A 5-year waiting period is applicable. Violent or sexual offenses cannot be expunged.


Expunction is available for arrests that were acquitted or dismissed, and convictions that are later reversed after appeal or pardoned. Waiting period vary based on the severity of the offense. Sex crimes, kidnapping, murder, child-related crimes, family violence, stalking, and human trafficking are not eligible for sealing under an Order of Disclosure.


Arrest records can be expunged if the proceedings were dismissed, 30 days have passed since arrest, acquittal, formal charges were never filed, there have been no intervening arrests and no conviction. Convictions are expunged if an individual has no multiple convictions, has been released from probation and incarceration and has satisfied all conditions of the sentence.


Record expungement is available for persons other than sex offenders with deferred judgment and completed the terms of probations. Felonies are not expunged. Waiting period applies.


Most adult convictions cannot be expunged. Juvenile records are usually expunged on a routine basis. Expungement involves cases where an acquittal or dismissal has been granted or in cases of actual innocence.


Certain convictions can be expunged if the defendant has successfully completed their sentence and has no pending charges. Juvenile records can be expunged after a person has reached 23 years old


Expungement is available for first time, pardoned offenders, and young offenders not convicted. Offenses such as DUI, domestic violence, sexual, or other violent offenses don’t qualify.


Expungement available for young offenders though on a limited basis. Most adult records cannot be expunged.


Juvenile records and records involving non-conviction can be expunged. Also, some misdemeanor and felony convictions can be expunged. A 5-year waiting period applies in the case of misdemeanors and 10 years for felonies from the time of sentencing.