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When Can Felony Expungement Take Place?

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For convicted felons, life after sentencing can be quite difficult. A felony can cause one to lose many rights, such as his or her ability to get a job, right to vote, right to bear arms, and ultimately alienate the felon from many aspects of life. To help reduce the aftermath of committing a felony, one option available to some felons is felony expungement, which causes the court to essentially erase a crime from a felon’s record. While the felony remains in a few select places after expungement, such as immigration records, it is not viewable by potential employers or other parties. However, felony expungement is not an easy task and is not automatically done after a certain amount of time. It is often necessary to go through quite a few hurdles to achieve expungement, and certain crimes are even ineligible for this. Such exceptions vary from state to state but typically include:

  • Engagement in three or more sexual acts with a minor under age 14
  • Sexual intercourse with a minor under age 14
  • Rape
  • Lewd act on a child
  • Sodomy
  • Driving above 100mph
  • Most other sex crimes

The Expungement Process: Prerequisites

Before a felon can even begin to apply for expungement, he or she must complete his or her sentence in full. If a felon is sentenced to serve time in prison and pay certain fines, he or she must complete the prison sentence and pay all fines before expungement can take place. In addition, a felon must complete all probation terms successfully. This can include reporting to a court or probation officer monthly for a specified period of time, paying certain fines, or paying restitution. After probation, a felon must establish a pattern of good behavior for the court, meaning that, for three or four years, he or she avoids all criminal behavior that could jeopardize his or her chance of expunging the felony.

Applying for Expungement

When it comes to requesting felony expungement, a felon must file a civil request. The best way to go about this is to contact a criminal defense attorney to file all necessary paperwork, as he or she can examine the specific case and determine the best way to go about applying for expungement. While the amount of time expungement takes varies from state to state, and some states do not even allow for expungement, the general amount of time a felon must wait before applying for expungement is at least one year after committing the original crime.

The final step in the expungement process is waiting for a judge to approve one’s request. This can take anywhere from three months to almost a year and cost around $2,500, depending on the specific circumstances. For assistance with felony expungement, it is a good idea to consult with a defense attorney, who can help with any actions and paperwork required.

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