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I need to clear an arrest from my record (expunction)

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I need to clear an arrest from my record (expunction)

This toolkit tells you how to clear an arrest from your record (expunction). FORMS ARE INCLUDED.

This toolkit includes:

  • Instructions & Forms you can use to file an expunction case called a “Petition for Expunction of Criminal Records" (as long as you meet the legal requirements).
  • Frequently Asked Questions about clearing an arrest from your record.

Eligibility: Fresh Start App

  • Not everyone can get an expunction. In some cases, you may be able to seal your record even if you cannot expunge it. Use the Fresh Start app to see if you may be eligible for expunction or record sealing (also called nondisclosure).

Do NOT use this toolkit if:

  • you were pardoned, acquitted or released with a judge’s finding of actual innocence, or
  • charges were never filed and the statute of limitation has not expired, or
  • you have not been tried and the prosecutor recommends expunction, or
  • your case involves a “waiting period” and “discretionary expunctions” which require the prosecutor’s assistance and participation in the expunction petition, or
  • you have an error on your criminal history record because someone else used your name when he or she was arrested, or
  • You have been convicted of any similar crimes in the past, or
  • The arrest you want expunged involved multiple crimes, some of which you were convicted of or may still be prosecuted for.

Other Options? 

  • Order of Nondisclosure - Under certain circumstances, you may ask the court for an order of nondisclosure. This legally frees you from having to disclose certain criminal offenses. An order of nondisclosure also prohibits certain agencies and entities from disclosing information about certain criminal records. Get more information and the forms here: What is a nondisclosure and how do I get one?

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The information and forms in this toolkit are not legal advice and are not a substitute for the help of a lawyer.  It’s a good idea to talk with a lawyer about your particular situation.

Instructions & Forms
Frequently Asked Questions
Does it cost anything to file (turn in) a Petition for Expunction of Criminal Records?

Yes. There is a fee to file a Petition for Expunction of Criminal Records and additional fees for notifying agencies. The fees vary by county. Call the clerk’s office in the county where you were arrested or where the offense(s) allegedly occurred to learn the fees. 


Expunction - If my record is cleared do I have to tell anyone about the arrest?

No, unless you are under oath in a criminal proceeding about the arrest. But, you can explain that the arrest was cleared from your record.

Expunction - How can I prove my record was cleared?

If the court approves your Petition, everyone listed on your Petition will be ordered to remove the arrest from your record. 

Be aware that private background-check companies may have copies of your record. These companies may not update their information in a timely manner. You can contact the Foundation for Continuing Justice at www.continuingjustice.org for help getting private companies to remove your record from their databases.

Expunction - Will the Court automatically approve my Petition?

No. The Court will not approve your Petition if:

  • You do not meet the requirements, or
  • If any party in your case opposes your Petition, and the judge agrees with their opinion.
(For an Expunction) Will anyone else be at court for the hearing?

The clerk will give each official, agency or governmental entity named in your Petition notice of the hearing.

Any of the parties listed in your Petition may go to your hearing. If they do not want your record cleared, they can tell the judge at your hearing.

(For Expunction) How long does it take to get a hearing date after I file (turn in) my court papers?

Ask the clerk of the court where you file your court papers how to schedule a hearing date for your case. The hearing date will be at least 30 days after you file your Petition

Expunction - Is there anything else I should do after the Judge signs the Order?

Yes.  About 6 months after the judge signs your Order, get your criminal history from the Department of Public Safety to confirm the arrest has been removed from your records.

You can also send the Expunction Order to the Foundation for Continuing Justice at www.continuingjustice.org. They will send copies of the Expunction Order to private companies that may have your record on file.