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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.
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.
@Soulfox -- A big exception to that rule has to do with a DUI expungement. If you get a DUI charge, courts are not so forgiving and will probably not set up a way to get those things expunged from your record.
That is because a DUI (or DWI in some states) is considered a serious offense. Having one of those follow you around can be a problem. It might get harder to get a driver's license, get a job or do a lot of things.
The best move is to not drive under the influence of alcohol to begin with.
If you really want to expunge a misdemeanor from your record, one of the best things you can do is hire an attorney to represent you on the misdemeanor charge in the first place. Quite often, an attorney can work things out for you so that your misdemeanor charge will drop off your record provided you meet a few terms.
For example, a judge might order that your charge will be taken under advisement for three years. That means the charge will effectively never appear on your record and will vanish so long as you stay out of trouble for three years.
It is a lot more difficult to get a misdemeanor expunged after the case is over
and done with. Get a lawyer to work on your case before it goes to trial and you will have a much easier time of it. The reason? Misdemeanors are relatively minor charges and courts are usually open to giving someone a break on a first offense.
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