Expungement Eligibility in DC

What people should know about record expungement or sealing is that the only cases that are eligible for expungement are cases that have been terminated without a conviction. Some very minor misdemeanor convictions are also eligible for expungement.

The second thing that they should know is that even if a case terminated without conviction if the person has been convicted for other matters, whether in DC or other jurisdictions, that could impact their eligibility for expungement.

In addition, unless someone is arguing that they are innocent of the charge, if they are seeking expungement, they need to get eligible cases expunged at the same time. If they have three different cases that were all dismissed over the years, and they are trying to get one of them sealed, they need to get the other two sealed at the same time. It is important to remember the timeline. Once someone files a motion asking a record be sealed, it could take three or fourth months until a final order is entered about sealing the record.

Read below to learn more about expungement eligibility in DC. If you have any questions, reach out to an experienced expungement lawyer.

Who is Eligible for Expungement?

Someone with a case that is terminated without a conviction is eligible to have that case sealed from their record. That can be a case that was dismissed by the government or by the judge. It can be a case that went to trial, and the judge or jury found the person not guilty. Also, it can be a case where it was dismissed pursuant to an agreement between the defendant and the government, either a deferred prosecution, a deferred sentencing agreement, or a case that is dismissed by the judge following a motions argument.

Some misdemeanor convictions are also eligible to be sealed and sometimes a conviction for failing to appear for a court date is eligible for expungement in DC. Any other felony conviction is ineligible to be sealed.

There are other conditions that could cause a person’s case to be ineligible for expungement. For example, even if someone had a case that was dismissed, if they subsequently have a pending case or if they are on active probation and if they have had certain convictions for certain types of charges, those subsequent actions could render them ineligible to have the case sealed.

This is a somewhat complicated method for determining when someone is eligible. Generally speaking, if the case was dismissed or terminated without conviction and the person’s record is otherwise clean without any other convictions, then they are eligible for expungement. If they have other convictions, it depends on the timing and the nature of those subsequent convictions.

There is another way to get one’s record sealed in DC, and that is by arguing that they are actually innocent of the charge that terminated without conviction.

Having a Record Expunged or Sealed in Washington DC

To have a record expunged or sealed in DC, it will be removed from the public database, the DC case search database, the prosecutor’s office, any law enforcement offices, pretrial services, and any probation office that may have been involved in the case.

They have to remove any public records related to the case. The prosecutor’s office has to keep any records in a non-public file. They are required to hang onto the records, but they are not acceptable to the public. Various entities must certify to the court within 90 days that the record has, in fact, been removed from the publicly available records and databases.

The court clerk will make sure the court’s records are all essentially cleared of any reference to the matter and any files related to the case. Any co-defendant’s cases or related filings must be redacted to remove reference to the person who has their record sealed. The person can claim that the case in question never happened and they cannot be liable for perjury or making a false statement when they say things to that effect.

Pursing an Expungement

Record expungement and sealing can be done for all types of reasons. The main reason is that even when someone has a case dismissed or otherwise resolved favorably. Very often, for jobs, professional licensing, or for other circumstances, someone might be asked about their criminal record. A criminal record could cause issues with obtaining a job, getting a professional license, or leasing an apartment. Therefore, the individual in question may want to have their record expunged or sealed.  Employment reasons and then personal reasons are the two main reasons why people like to get their records expunged.

Call today for more information about expungement eligibility in DC.