When expungement of an arrest or conviction is an option in a state or county, inmost instances a person's criminal record must meet certain standards in order to qualify for the process.
Whether or not a person is eligible for expungement will usually depend on a number of factors, including:
- The amount of time that has passed since the arrest or conviction
- The severity and nature of the event for which expungement is sought (i.e. a conviction for a sex offense may lead to a denial of expungement)
- Events in the applicant's criminal record (including arrests or convictions in all jurisdictions, not just the offender's state/county)
- The severity and nature of other events in the applicant's criminal record
Depending on the state and/or county, special eligibility rules might exist for expungement of arrests or convictions that occurred while the offender was a juvenile, and arrests or convictions for sex offenses.
Examples of State-Specific Expungement Guidelines:
- Illinois: Expungement: General Guidelines [PDF file] (Illinois Attorney General)
- Michigan: Setting Aside an Adult Conviction (Michigan Courts)
- Utah: Expunging a Record (Utah Courts)
To learn more about your eligibility for expungement after an arrest or conviction in your state, contact a Criminal Defense Attorney near you.