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How Do I Get a Misdemeanor Expunged?

Judges are more likely to expunge a misdemeanor charge over a more serious offense.
Criminal court building.
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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 25 October 2014
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To get a misdemeanor expunged, you will need to follow the necessary steps required by the state or province in which you live. Different areas have different laws and processes regarding expungement, and you should consult a lawyer familiar with the laws in your area for more details. In general, however, you will likely need to acquire certain paperwork from either your county clerk or a court clerk and fill it out. Once filled out, you should file the paperwork with the same clerk, usually along with a filing fee. The court will then set a date for a review or hearing about your petition to get the misdemeanor expunged and a judge will decide to accept or deny your application.

While you do not need a lawyer to get a misdemeanor expunged, it is typically suggested and can make the process much easier. A lawyer can also tell you whether the misdemeanor you are trying to get expunged is even eligible for expungement in your area. Many regions will allow you to have a misdemeanor expunged, as opposed to a felony which is rarely eligible for expungement, though the nature of the misdemeanor may affect this.

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For example, you may not be able to get a misdemeanor expunged that was committed against a minor if you were over the age of legal consent. There are also misdemeanors that may not be eligible if they involve the use of a motor vehicle or if you have repeatedly been convicted of a particular misdemeanor offense. As long as there is a possibility to get your misdemeanor expunged, however, you will need to acquire the necessary paperwork from a county or court clerk in your area. Who you get this paperwork from typically varies by area, and an attorney familiar with local laws can help you.

You will then need to file this paperwork with the county or court clerk and pay an application fee to try to have the misdemeanor expunged. The amount of this fee can vary significantly from region to region, and may also depend on the nature of the misdemeanor and whether you are trying to get an arrest or conviction expunged. Once you pay the filing fee and the paperwork is processed, a date will be set for a court hearing or review of your application. A judge will consider your application, and you may not be required to be there. Acceptance of your application to have a misdemeanor expunged is completely up to the judge, and may depend on the details of your case, objections made by state prosecutors, and other mitigating circumstances.

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