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Felony Expungement

Misdemeanor & Felony Expungement – Record Sealing: Everything you need to know


Picture of a infographic about felony expungement.Being a convicted felon or ex-offender is a label that most will have to live with for the rest of their lives, or so you may think. We all know the difficulty first hand that faces felons when applying for a job, finding felon friendly housing or applying for a loan. Wouldnt it be nice if paying your debt to society was enough without having to have a criminal record follow you through your entire life even though you have changed. Well there is a solution for SOME convicted/ex felons, felony expungement and/or felony record sealing.

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What is felony expungement and record sealing?

Depending on the state that you live in you may have the option to have your criminal record either expunged or sealed. In the end it really does not matter if your record is either expunged or sealed to most people. The only advantage to an expungement is that it opens the door to certain government jobs.


Misdemeanor/Felony Record Sealing

When a record is sealed it will not be accessible to most  people or entities. Depending on the state that you live in it may be possible for law enforcement officers to see your sealed record, judges or other government personnel. The great thing though that your sealed record will not show up during a employment background check, apartment/housing rental checks and other non government investigations. In addition to the general public not being able to access or see that you have had a felony/felonies conviction you can legally claim or state that you do not have a criminal background or have ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor. The record will always exist but would have to be unsealed by a judge in order to be seen.


Misdemeanor/Felony Expungement

When a Misdemeanor or felony conviction is expunged it is literally wiped from from existence and does not exist anymore. You will be able to legally state that you have never been convicted of any crime and nobody will ever know that you were ever convicted of anything.


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What states allow felony expungement and record sealing?

The twenty states listed below have some for of misdemeanor or felony expungement.

Most other states have some form of record sealing but is very depended on the type of crime committed, how the crime was prosecuted and the time that has passed since conviction. Please see this article about expungement and record sealing for all 50 united states or click here.



Who can have a misdemeanor or felony expunged or sealed?

Most first time offenders can have a felony expunged or sealed but your chances of this happening are much greater or will happen if you have:

  • Completed all court orders including but not limited to; prison sentence, probation, fines or reparations.
  • You’re not a repeat offender.
  • Have not been arrested or convicted since your release from prison and/or probation.
  • Your original conviction was non violent or a sex crime although this varies by state.
  • You have furthered yourself through education and/or working.
  • Time passed since conviction.

Judges want to see you doing everything possible to further yourself while staying clean and out of trouble. Many felons can get a us vs. them mentality which will do you no good although many people can relate to it. Remember judges have to make a decisions based off of facts presented to them and can not act on what they feel in their heart. This is why it is so important to stay out of trouble and to further yourself in the best ways possible. As we always say here at Help For Felons attitude is 90% of the battle!



How does the felony expungement process work and what are the steps that follow?

This is not meant to be legal advice but more of an overview of how the expungement process will work. It is very important that you have a good lawyer with experience in expunging and sealing records. We all know that lawyers are expensive but this is something you want done right the first time.

  1. The first step is to make sure that you are eligible to have your felony or misdemeanor conviction expunged. Each of the 50 states have their own laws and procedures on how this is determined. Remember that staying out of trouble will give you the best chance at being eligible.
  2. After you are determined to be eligible you will then submit a  petition to the appropriate court. The petition is simply a legal statement telling the court that you want to have your record expunged or sealed. It is very important that the petition be 100% accurate and correct to avoid issues and delays.
  3. After the court files your paperwork a hearing will be scheduled and you will be then notified of the time and date of the hearing. Not every state will require a hearing but the majority do.
  4. The decision will solely be made by the judge as to whether  your record will be expunged/sealed or not. Your attorney will present the reasons why your criminal record should be cleared and what steps you have taken to turn your life around.


Tips for a successful expungement or sealing
  • Make sure you have a good if not excellent attorney with expungement experience.
  • Heavily research expungement laws in your state and understand everything from top to bottom.
  • Prepare yourself for a good or bad outcome and don’t loose hope if things don’t go your way


 How long and what is the legal costs to have a felony or misdemeanor expunged?

Minor Misdemeanors – Sometimes these can be very easy to expunge and may not even require a hearing, your attorney will simply submit paperwork to the courts for you. The cost will normally range from $500 to $750 and can take up to six months.

Serious Misdemeanors – Sometimes these can be very easy to expunge and may not even require a hearing, your attorney will simply submit paperwork to the courts for you. The cost will normally range from $500 to $1000 and can take up to six months.

Felonies – Most often you will have to attend a court hearing with your attorney but not always and generally speaking your attorney will have to put in more hours so the cost can vary greatly from $1,000 to $5,000 and can take up to a full year for complicated cases. Remember that it is critical that you have a excellent attorney!


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Are there other options to clear a criminal record?

Yes there are three other options available that can clear you felony conviction.

Certificate of Rehabilitation – This only for persons convicted in California. Please click here to read more.

Certificate of Innocence – If you are truly 100% innocent of the crime you were convicted then we highly suggest reading this information about a getting a certificate of innocence.

A Pardon – A pardon is normally granted by the Governor of the state you were convicted in. Here is more information on how to obtain a pardon if you have a federal conviction or click here for states information.

Helpful Information For Felons

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29 thoughts to “Felony Expungement”

  1. Did the lawmakers have a back-up plan for the lives ruined because of a felony. I used to live in California and got arrested twice for possession of a quarter gram of meth. I did my time paid my debt to society however society is not a forgiving one as background checks become the norm we are essentially locked out of getting a job. Do we not deserve to survive too. I have been clean and sober for more than a decade and am now 55 which is also bad as they don’t want to hire due to your age. My question is since Ca. down graded what I did in 1999 2001 a felony to a misdemeanor now. Shouldn’t they be held accountable for keeping us unemployed and essentially banning us from being productive members of society? The war on drugs was an utter failure the lives that have been ruined for this war was needless. Why not pay us from the confiscated cartels money?

    1. How come every felon that gets out of jail and was ruining lives years in advance of finally getting busted, gets out of jail & still thinks society owes them a life? Or money or anything that they weren’t willing to work for so they cheat for that fast $$$. Society doesn’t owe you a damn thing, so quit whining, own up to your mistakes, realize it’s gonna follow you for the rest of your life. Stop doing the blame game & find a place to fit in & stop looking for a damn handout, meth or anything close to it tears families apart, sometimes forever, now you get to be a part of the problems you helped create,remember the world doesn’t owe you shit!!!

  2. I agree that having an us vs. them mentality can make things more difficult. When it comes to dealing with legal issues, trust is very important. Although I’m thinking of a client’s trust with their attorney. I’m not sure how it’ll work when it comes to judges and everyone else involved.

  3. I am not a fellon however, my boyfriend is he did six years in jail for selling to undercover officers. Yes, he did something wrong however he got out on model behavior and lives in a recovery house.

    This man has two jobs works eighty hours a week and I met him while we were getting our certified peer training He honestly has a serious problem that arose he was told he has thyroid cancer and will need surgery!! He is scared because he will be out of work and will lose his place to live and may have to go back to jail because he cant pay his fines.

    Does anyone here know of any help out there for people in his situation?
    He lives in the state of Pennsylvania and the city of Allentown. Lehigh valley area

    If anyone knows of anything I can do to keep him out of jail and in a bed recovering

    Thank you

  4. My son is a Felon because of a drug charge in or 2007. He did a year turned 21 during this state prison time. He is married has a 1 year old and 9 year old step daughter. He has been on the same job with same employee since his release in 2008. His employee is truly good to him but has talked closing shop with in this next year. My son has thought of other emplyeement but has to no avail found any one who will hire with the felon drug charge on record. His wife has lost her emplyeement as of this past year is terminal with cancer. No long able to work they are struggling to say the least. I am so sadden that he is marked for life because of a choice made as a young out of control kid. How once made is a man or woman to over come such law if by the grace of God they were able to clean up straighten up and stay there doing the best they can to better themselves, take care of family and business. Yet on every turn they are oppressed and put in situations that financially keeps a home and family stressed and in dire need of assistance of some kind. My son through time has matured and is willing and able to make his way and provide for those he loves. But kept down and back because of a childish choice in unmature immortal time of youth. I worked in security for many years as my husband did we know lots of crimes are repeated and most return to prison. Thank God that my son did his time one year and came to his senses cleaned up matured up never wanting to return to the prison life . Tho in many ways he still doing time because society laws as a felon keeps him oppressed dependent on others to help support him. Eight years after this Mom still wishes and prayers for the release of her son. He did his time and is now a dependable, accountable, husband and Daddy. He just can’t unlive his choice of stupitied in youth.

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