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In the United States, most states allow for expungement of criminal records, though laws vary significantly by state. The availability of expungement and the type of charge or conviction that may be expunged will depend upon the laws of the state in which the case was prosecuted. Even after expungement, other states may maintain a public or confidential record of the charge and its disposition. Eligibility for an expungement of an arrest, investigation, detention, or conviction record will be based on the law of the jurisdiction in which the record was made.
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Ordinarily, only the subject of the record may ask that the record be expunged. Often, the subject must meet a number of conditions before the request will be considered. Some jurisdictions allow expungement for the deceased. Requirements may include one or more of the following: . Types of convictions that are often not eligible for expungement include: .
Most jurisdictions have laws that allow - and in some states even require - the expungement of juvenile records once the juvenile reaches a certain age. In some cases, the records are destroyed; sometimes they simply are "sealed. The idea is to allow the juvenile offender to enter adulthood with a "clean slate," shielding him or her from the negative effects of having a criminal record.
States have taken significantly different approaches when it comes to expungement for controlled substance violations such as marijuana and hashish. Typically, only convictions of possession or possession with the intent to distribute are eligible for expungement. For example, in New Jersey, the threshold is 25 grams for marijuana and 5 grams for hashish if the offense occurred when the offender was 21 years of age or younger. Procedures for obtaining an expungement are different in each state, but tend to follow a similar process: . There is no post-conviction relief available in the federal system, other than a presidential pardon.
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Congressman Charles B. Rangel proposed the Second Chance Act in , , and , which was intended to "[amend] the federal criminal code to allow an individual to file a petition for expungement of a record of conviction for a nonviolent criminal offense".
New York State Records
In some jurisdictions, all records on file within any court, detention or correctional facility, law enforcement or criminal justice agency concerning a person's detection, apprehension, arrest, detention, trial or disposition of an offense within the criminal justice system can be expunged. Each state sets its own guidelines for what records can be expunged, or for whether expungements are available at all.
The petitioner requesting an expungement of all or part of their record will have to complete forms and instructions to submit to the appropriate authority. This is called appearing pro se. A criminal record can only be expunged by the jurisdiction in which it was created. The federal government cannot order the expungement of state criminal records. States cannot order the expungement of records from other states or jurisdictions. When applying for a state professional license or job that is considered a public office or high security such as security guard, law enforcement, or related to national security , you must often disclose that you have an expunged conviction.
Failure to disclose an expunged criminal charge may result in denial of a license or denial of a security clearance by the Department of Justice. Some criminal convictions may warrant automatic denials of licensure, whether expunged or not. One of the major benefits for the individual of expunging a criminal record is that there is a chance the individual may regain their right to possess a firearm.
Federal laws deprive individuals with felony and domestic violence offenses of their firearm rights. Some states also have statutes depriving individuals of certain gun rights, usually for a definitive period of time. Expungement may restore gun rights in some states but will not be sufficient to restore firearms rights in others. Seeking restoration of firearm rights may requires that the petitioner specifically request restoration of those rights, or may require that the petitioner obtain a pardon that fully restores his or her civil rights.
California 's expungement law permits someone convicted of a crime to file a Petition for Dismissal  with the court to re-open the case, set aside the plea, and dismiss the case. If the petitioner is later convicted of the same crime again, then the expungement may be reversed.
For persons who serve sentences in the state prison system felons , they must apply to the Superior Court for a Certificate of Rehabilitation CR. Among other requirements, the applicant must live in California and have done so for at least 5 consecutive years prior to applying, and been law-abiding for 7 years starting from the sooner of their release from prison or court supervision.
After they meet all requirements and receive a CR, certain of their rights are restored. Juvenile criminal court records remain unless the individual petitions to have them sealed. This may be done when they reach their 18th birthday,  even though some states provide for automatic expungement of certain juvenile records regardless of age.
There is not much that can be done to remove or conceal a DUI record, but in the state of California, it can be expunged. California Penal Code To qualify, the person must have completed probation, satisfied all financial obligations, not currently be facing charges or court supervision, and not have been sentenced to prison or parole.
In states like California, state laws allow an individual to reduce a "wobbler" offense  from felony to misdemeanor, which will effectively restore firearm rights, provided that the individual has not been convicted of another felony or has not lost their firearm rights for another reason. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
In your letter, state which Certificate you are applying for. Ask for one application for each Certificate of Relief from Disabilities you are applying for. Write to the Certificate Review Unit at:. The Certificate Review Unit will mail you an application. Do your best to fill out the application and send it back to the Certificate Review Unit. Make sure you list every prison or jail you were incarcerated in.
Getting a Copy of Your Criminal Record
You will need to send proof that you have paid your taxes for the last three years if you worked. Once you send in this information, the Certificate Review Unit will review your application. The Parole Officer will meet with you about your application. After the meeting, the Parole Officer will send a report to the Parole Board.
The report will state whether or not the Officer believes you should receive a Certificate. The Parole Board will review the report and the rest of the information you provided and make a decision. The Parole Board will send you a letter to let you know if your application has been approved. If your application is approved, you will receive your Certificate in the mail.
How to Get Started on Your New York Sealing or Certificate
Each Court is different. Contact the Court where you were convicted about how to apply. You will probably need to gather the same information listed above. After you apply, it can take six months to one year before you get a Certificate. You may be able to get a Certificate sooner, but the amount of time depends on the Court or Parole Board.
If you need your Certificate sooner for a job or a license, tell the Court or Parole Board when you apply. Some public office jobs ban people with felonies unless they have a Certificate of Good Conduct. If you are unsure whether the job is considered a public office, ask when you are applying.
If it is a public office, ask if there is a ban on people with felonies. If there is a ban, you need a Certificate of Good Conduct, even if you only have one felony on your record. When you apply for the Certificate of Good Conduct, tell the Parole Board that you need it for a job. Send the Parole Board information about the job that shows it is a public office and has a felony ban. Your application can be denied for many reasons.
If your application was denied, answer these questions:. Your application could have been denied if you answered yes to any of these questions. The Court or Parole Board may have denied your application if they believed you are not rehabilitated. Contact the Court or Parole Board if you have more questions.
Your Certificate will not apply to future convictions. If you are convicted of a crime after you receive your Certificate, you need to apply for a new Certificate. This article provides general information about this subject.
New York - Guide to Pardon, Expungement & Sealing
Laws affecting this subject may have changed since this article was written. For specific legal advice about a problem you are having, get the advice of a lawyer. Receiving this information does not make you a client of our office. NYServes Upstate is a coordinated network of public, private, and non-profit organizations that covers 14 counties across the state. NYServes Upstate is ready to link military personnel and their families to providers in their area to receive services including: benefits, employment, housing and shelter, legal, and much more.
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Certificates of Rehabilitation. Certificates of Rehabilitation What are Certificates of Rehabilitation? What does a Certificate of Rehabilitation do? Will the Certificate of Rehabilitation expunge my record? Do I need a Certificate of Rehabilitation?