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What Felonies Can Be Expunged

What Felonies Can Be Expunged?

what felonies can be expunged? After serving time, clearing the record can be crucial for rebuilding your life, and many people wonder, what felonies can be expunged?

Although each state is different, the good news is that more and more states have updated their laws so that erasing felonies from the record (a.k.a. expungement) is easier than ever.

But, the type of crime, how much time has elapsed since the conviction, and even the age of the individual will all come into play when learning can a felony be expunged.

Many people wonder, do felonies go away after 7 years, or do felonies go away at 18?

The answer for these questions, as well as how long can a felony charge be pending, depends solely on the state where the crime was committed. So, the first thing to do is run a free criminal background check on yourself to find out if the felony is part of what shows up on a background check, and then see how your state deals with expungement opportunities.

This guide explains how each state approaches what felonies can be expunged.

Can You Get a Felony Expunged?

Many people who have served their sentence wonder if a felony can be expunged at all and what felonies can be expunged.

The truth is that the possibility of getting a felony expunged will vary widely based on the state. Some states make it far easier than others to get felonies expunged, however even in states that have a clearer path to expungement than other states, the process is often extremely difficult.

The exact path to expungement, which crimes can be expunged, who is eligible for expungement, and how long after serving a sentence the individual has to wait before the expungement process are all completely different in each state.

However, it is important to keep in mind that expungement is not the only way to clean up your record to make it easier to find employment. The main issue for many individuals that have a felony conviction on their record is finding employment, as many employers these days run background checks and have to follow company policy that prevents them from hiring felons no matter the circumstances.

Expungement would obviously fix this problem as the record of their conviction would essentially be destroyed, leaving no trace of the charges and allowing them to pass a background check. However, another option that will have a similar effect is to have the record sealed. The process to get a record sealed is often similar to expungement but will often be easier to achieve.

Although expungement is the better option as the record is destroyed, a sealed record will be invisible to background check agencies, allowing individuals to still pass a background check.

The path to getting a record sealed is by no means easy, however, it is definitely worth looking into for individuals who are exploring all options to fix their background check.

How to Get Record Expunged

Besides the state laws, there are a few other factors that will determine the likelihood of getting a felony expunged. First is the crime that was committed. What crimes are allowed to be expunged will depend on the state, but in general the more serious the crime, the less likely it becomes to get that crime expunged.

Every state has a lengthy list of crimes that do not qualify for expungement under any circumstances, this list usually includes the most serious felonies.

The less serious the crime, the more likely it is possible to get the record expunged or at least sealed. Many states will have clearly defined paths to expungements for certain misdemeanors, those who are first offenders, and individuals who were convicted of crimes as a minor.


There are two basic ways to get a record expunged: the do-it-yourself method, or hiring a lawyer to guide you through the process.

Do It Yourself Expungement

Even with more serious crimes, whether or not the crime can be expunged is not completely up to a judge. Each state lays out specific crimes and circumstances and how they can be expunged. Assuming this criterion is met, then a petition to have the record expunged must be completed and handed over to the court where the charges were filed.

Once this happens, each state has a different time frame for when the results of the expungement petition will be known, which is usually less than 3 months.


If all the criteria for expungement are met, there is still a strong possibility that the petition to expunge the records will be denied. Ultimately, a judge will make the final decision as to whether or not to expunge the record.

The expungement process itself is relatively simple. In most states, individuals who qualify for expungement are required to fill out a form to petition for expungement and submit that form to the courts within a certain time frame. As far as the legal process for expungement goes, that is essentially it. Although this will lead many to the conclusion that hiring an attorney to help get their record expunged is unnecessary, it is always a good idea to consult with a lawyer.

Expungement With a Lawyer

Expungement with a lawyer will follow the same basic process of filing an expungement petition, with the key difference that an experienced attorney will be able to carefully guide individuals through the process. This is invaluable, especially when it comes to preparing a case that is more likely to get a judge to look at the decision favorably.

Expungement without a lawyer is absolutely possible, many states have made the expungement process for certain crimes fairly easy. However, with more serious crimes and more complex situations, a lawyer will give individuals their best chance at getting a record expunged so that they can move on with their life.

Use the list below to learn more about the specific path to expungement in each state and familiarize yourself with the various expungement petition forms.

StateDIY Expungement Form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Alabama (AL)Alabama Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Alaska (AK)Alaska Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Arizona (AZ)Arizona Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Arkansas (AR)Arkansas Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in California (CA)California Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Colorado (CO)Colorado Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Connecticut (CT)Connecticut Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Delaware (DE)Delaware Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Florida (FL)Florida Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Georgia (GA)Georgia Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Hawaii (HI)Hawaii Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Idaho (ID)Idaho Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Illinois (IL)Illinois Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Indiana (IN)Indiana Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Iowa (IA)Iowa Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Kansas (KS)Kansas Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Kentucky (KY)Kentucky Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Louisiana (LA)Louisiana Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Maine (ME)Maine Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Massachusetts (MA)Massachusetts Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Maryland (MD)Maryland Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Michigan (MI)Michigan Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Minnesota (MN)Minnesota Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Mississippi (MS)Mississippi Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Missouri (MO)Missouri Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Montana (MN)Montana Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Nebraska (NE)Nebraska Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Nevada (NV)Nevada Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in New Hampshire (NH)New Hampshire Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in New Jersey (NJ)New Jersey Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in New Mexico (NM)New Mexico Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in New York (NY)New York Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in North Carolina (NC)North Carolina Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in North Dakota (ND)North Dakota Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Ohio (OH)Ohio Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Oklahoma (OK)Oklahoma Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Oregon (OR)Oregon Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Pennsylvania (PA)Pennsylvania Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Rhode Island (RI)Rhode Island Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in South Carolina (SC)South Carolina Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in South Dakota (SD)South Dakota Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Tennessee (TN)Tennessee Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Texas (TX)Texas Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Utah (UT)Utah Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Vermont (VT)Vermont Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Virginia (VI)Virginia Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Washington (WA)Washington Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in West Virginia (WV)West Virginia Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Wisconsin (WI)Wisconsin Expungement form
Do-It-Yourself Expungement in Wyoming (WY)Wyoming Expungement form

Clean Slate Program for Felons

Many individuals with the question “What felonies can be expunged?” may have heard about clean slate programs.

More and more states are trying to make it easier for reformed felons to find work and move on with their lives after serving a sentence. Besides things like limiting how far back a background check can go, many states have also adopted programs to help get records sealed or expunged, such as clean slate programs. This is a program that is being adopted by more and more states that allow for certain criminal records, such as arrests that do not result in a conviction or various civil infractions once enough time has passed, to be automatically sealed.

This program should not be confused with the expungement process that is available in many states. Only low-level crimes and infractions are part of the clean slate program, so more serious crimes will still need to go through the traditional expungement program.


Although useful, only 7 states have some kind of clean slate program currently:

  • Pennsylvania
  • Utah
  • Michigan
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Oklahoma
  • Colorado

What Crimes Can Be Expunged?

The exact crimes that can be expunged in each state vary widely, and are changing by the year. As mentioned the general rule is that the more serious the crime is, the less likely that it is eligible for sealing or expungement. For example, homicide is not eligible for expungement in any state, but several states allow for drug-related felonies to be expunged if specific circumstances are met.

Expunging Non-Convictions

The process for expunging criminal activity from an individual’s record if they were never officially convicted of the crime is a different process than crimes that resulted in conviction. Although the process still requires individuals to petition to have the records expunged, many of the rules no longer apply. Individuals generally do not have to wait long to begin the process and virtually any arrest or charge that did not end in conviction should be eligible for expungement or the sealing of these records.

Expunging Misdemeanors

Although not always possible, the possibility of getting a misdemeanor conviction expunged is far greater than a felony. This is especially true for first-time offenders who may qualify for special programs that are not available to individuals who have been convicted of a crime before. Sometimes these programs will help to get the record expunged and in other cases it can help avoid conviction all together.


A newer development in recent years is states passing laws that allow for drug charges to be expunged more easily than other crimes. For example, the California Adult Use of Marijuana Act legalized the use of recreational marijuana in the state,1 however it also allowed individuals with felony marijuana convictions to have their conviction reduced to a misdemeanor and for misdemeanors marijuana offenders to have their crimes reduced to infractions as well as an easier path to expungement for many individuals.

Expunging Felonies

Getting a felony record sealed or expunged is by far the most difficult kind of record to make disappear. Individuals ask: what felonies can be expunged? asking the right questions.

Very few felonies have a clear path to expungement so identifying if your felony conviction is even eligible is the first and most important step.

No matter the circumstances or amount of time that has elapsed, certain felonies will remain on an individual’s record forever, unless state laws change or prevent background check agencies from checking back a certain length of time.

Related Reading: How Long Does a Felony Stay On Your Record?

Before rushing into the expungement process, the amount of time that has elapsed since the crime will also play a factor. Even if the crime that was committed is eligible for expungement, many states force individuals to wait several months or years before they can even begin the expungement process. Most often this will be measured after the sentence has been completed in its entirety, including parole.

However, some states allow the waiting period to begin as soon as the sentence is given. Use the list below to learn about how long individuals have to wait to begin the expungement process as well as state laws regarding what crimes can be expunged and what circumstances must be met to do so.

StateWhen Can the expungement process start?What Felonies can be expunged?
What felonies can be expunged in Alabama (AL)Upon completion of sentenceAlabama Law Enforcement Agency Criminal Record Expungement Information
What felonies can be expunged in Alaska (AK)Upon completion of sentenceAlaska Department of Public Safety Criminal Record Expungement
What felonies can be expunged in Arizona (AZ)Upon completion of sentenceArizona State Legislature
What felonies can be expunged in Arkansas (AR)5 years after completion of sentenceArkansas Department of Corrections Expungement Laws
What felonies can be expunged in California (CA)Upon completion of probationCalifornia Courts Clear Your Record
What felonies can be expunged in Colorado (CO)3 Years after the end of all criminal proceedingsColorado State Legislature Increased Eligibility for Criminal Record Sealing
What felonies can be expunged in Connecticut (CT)3 Years after the end of all criminal proceedingsState of Connecticut Board of Pardons and Paroles
What felonies can be expunged in Delaware (DE)3 years after conviction or release.Delaware Courts Expungement Pardon of Criminal Record
What felonies can be expunged in Florida (FL)Upon completion of sentenceFlorida Department of Law Enforcement Seal and Expunge Process
What felonies can be expunged in Georgia (GA)Upon completion of sentenceGeorgia File Request to Expunge a Criminal Record
What felonies can be expunged in Hawaii (HI)Upon completion of sentenceHawaii State Courts Expunging Arrest Records and Sealing Court Records
What felonies can be expunged in Idaho (ID)Varies based on crimeIdaho State Police Do You Qualify For an Expungement
What felonies can be expunged in Illinois (IL)Varies based on crimeIllinois State Appellate Defender Adult Expungement and Sealing Information
What felonies can be expunged in Indiana (IN)5 Years from completion of sentenceIndiana State Police Expunge Criminal History
What felonies can be expunged in Iowa (IA)6 months from completion of sentenceIowa State Legislature Chapter 901C
What felonies can be expunged in Kansas (KS)Varies based on crimeKansas Expungement of Criminal History Records
What felonies can be expunged in Kentucky (KY)6 Months from completion of sentenceKentucky Court of Justice Expungement Certification Process
What felonies can be expunged in Louisiana (LA)Upon completion of sentenceLouisiana State Legislature CCRP 978
What felonies can be expunged in Maine (ME)5 years from completion of sentenceMaine Department of Public Safety Criminal record Challenge Process
What felonies can be expunged in Massachusetts (MA)3 years from completion of sentence for misdemeanors.
7 years from completion of sentence for felonies
Massachusetts Find out if you can expunge your criminal record
What felonies can be expunged in Maryland (MD)Upon completion of sentenceMaryland Courts List of Felony Convictions that may be expunged
What felonies can be expunged in Michigan (MI)7 years from completion of sentence for misdemeanors.
10 years from completion of sentence for felonies
Michigan State Courts Expungement Assistance
What felonies can be expunged in Minnesota (MN)1-2 years depending on circumstancesMinnesota Judicial Branch Criminal Expungement
What felonies can be expunged in Mississippi (MS)5 years after completion of sentenceMississippi State Legislature
What felonies can be expunged in Missouri (MO)7 years after completion of felony sentence
3 years after completion of misdemeanor sentence
Missouri Courts Petition for Expungement of Arrest Records
What felonies can be expunged in Montana (MN)5 years after convictionMontana Department of Justice Conviction Expungement Process
What felonies can be expunged in Nebraska (NE)3 years after completion of sentenceNebraska Supreme Court Petition to Set Aside a Criminal Conviction
What felonies can be expunged in Nevada (NV)Varies based on circumstancesInformation on Sealing Nevada Criminal Records
What felonies can be expunged in New Hampshire (NH)3-5 years after completion of sentence depending on crimeNew Hampshire Courts Annulment of Criminal Records
What felonies can be expunged in New Jersey (NJ)5 years after completion of sentenceNew Jersey Courts eCourts Expungement System
What felonies can be expunged in New Mexico (NM)6-10 years after completion of sentence depending on crimeNew Mexico Department of Public Safety Law Regarding Expungements
What felonies can be expunged in New York (NY)10 years after releaseNew York Courts Sealing After 10 Years CPL
What felonies can be expunged in North Carolina (NC)2-5 years depending on age of defendantNorth Carolina State Bureau of Investigation Expungements
What felonies can be expunged in North Dakota (ND)Upon completion of sentenceNorth Dakota Expungement of Criminal Records
What felonies can be expunged in Ohio (OH)3-20 years depending on crimeOhio Public Defender Commission Expungement
What felonies can be expunged in Oklahoma (OK)Upon completion of sentenceOklahoma History Record Expungement
What felonies can be expunged in Oregon (OR)3 years from convictionOregon Judicial Department Expungement Self Help
What felonies can be expunged in Pennsylvania (PA)Varies based on crimePennsylvania State Police Criminal Expungement Process
What felonies can be expunged in Rhode Island (RI)5 years after completing sentence for misdemeanors
10 years after completing sentence for felonies
Rhode Island Attorney General Office Expungements
What felonies can be expunged in South Carolina (SC)5 years after completion of sentenceSouth Carolina Governor Office Pardons and Expungements
What felonies can be expunged in South Dakota (SD)10 years after the sentence is completed, the defendant must be 75 years old.South Dakota Unified Judicial System Pro Se Expungement
What felonies can be expunged in Tennessee (TN)5 years after convictionTennessee Expunction Eligibility
What felonies can be expunged in Texas (TX)At least 3 yearsTexas Expunctions and Non disclosure Orders
What felonies can be expunged in Utah (UT)5 years after decision of guilty was issued by the courtUtah Courts Expunging Adult Criminal Records
What felonies can be expunged in Vermont (VT)5 years after completion of sentenceVermont Department of Public Safety Expungement Sealing Pardon Information
What felonies can be expunged in Virginia (VI)Varies based on crimeVirginia State Legislature Expungement of Criminal Records
What felonies can be expunged in Washington (WA)5 years after completion of sentenceWashington State Courts Sealing and Destroying Court Records
What felonies can be expunged in West Virginia (WV)1 year after completion of sentenceWest Virginia Courts Expungement of Criminal Records
What felonies can be expunged in Wisconsin (WI)10 years after convictionWisconsin State Legislature Record Expungement
What felonies can be expunged in Wyoming  (WY)10 years after completion of sentenceEqual Justice Wyoming Expungement of Criminal records

Understand that most violent felonies will not qualify for expungement. However, it’s always best to check a state’s exact law.

Life after serving a felony sentence can be tough, especially when it comes to getting a job with a felony conviction on your record. Luckily, there is often a clear path to getting these harmful criminal records sealed or expunged. The first question that individuals need to answer for their state is what felonies can be expunged?

Frequently Asked Questions About What Felonies Can Be Expunged?

What Felonies Can Be Expunged?

The felonies that can be expunged vary based on the state. Each state will have specific crimes that are eligible for expungement as well as certain criteria that must be met to qualify for expungement. The circumstances of the crime will often play a role in the possibility of expungement.

How To Expunge a Felony?

The process to get a felony expunged is surprisingly simple. Most states allow individuals to fill out an expungement petition form and submit it to the courts. However, it is always advisable to consult with an attorney to increase the chances of expungement.

How To Expunge a Misdemeanor?

The process for expunging a misdemeanor is generally the same as any other crime. A petition for expungement must be filed with the courts. Although the process is the same, the odds of getting a misdemeanor expunged is usually greater than a felony.

How To Get Criminal Record Expunged?

Individuals who are looking to get their criminal record expunged should consult an attorney to better understand their odds and the process. However, every state allows individuals to represent themselves and to file for expungement without a lawyer.

How To Get Felony off Your Record?

Getting a felony off your record is not an easy task. Whether or not it is even possible will depend on the crime and the state. The process itself is fairly simple and requires that an individual submit an expungement petition to the court that filed the charges that the individual wants expunged.

What Is the New Expungement Law?

There are new expungement laws being made every year. Most recently, more and more drug charges are getting an easier path to expungement. There are also several states who have passed or are attempting to pass clean slate laws to help expunge non-convictions and other low-level offenses.

Can Convictions Be Expunged?

Convictions are eligible for expungement, however it will depend on the state laws and the specific crime that was committed. The more serious the crime that was committed, the less likely it is going to be possible to get the record expunged.

References

1Judicial Council of California. (2022). Proposition 64: The Adult Use of Marijuana Act. California Courts. Retrieved August 3, 2022, from <https://www.courts.ca.gov/prop64.htm>