Expungement is the process by which criminal charges by a state are deleted from one’s criminal record. Expungement allows a person to state under oath that the charge never occurred. State expungement is also called “record sealing”, “expunction”, or “setting aside a conviction”.

How Does Each State Regulate Expungement?

Expungement differs significantly by state. Some states do not allow expungement at all, while in some states only felonies may be expunged. Federal felonies are generally not expunged, although the defendant may be granted a pardon in very limited instances.

Below is a chart that illustrates what each state’s policy on expungement is. Note that the laws may change at any time; be sure to contact a expungement lawyer if you need legal advice:

Type of Expungement
Misdemeanors, traffic violations, and municipal ordinance violations. Some felonies may be expunged.
You cannot expunge a conviction.
Records may be sealed if you were wrongfully convicted or accused.
Most convictions and arrest records cannot be expunged.
Juvenile records and some adult arrest records (if dismissed, acquitted, or reversed).
You cannot expunge a conviction.
First-time offenders with driving or minor drug offenses who complete probation. Most arrest records.
You are entitled to only one expungement.
Most convictions cannot be expunged. You cannot expunge capital offenses or serious felonies.
No repeat offenders, pending charges, outstanding fines.
Arrests and some convictions.
If you served time in a state prison, this conviction cannot be expunged.
It does not restore your right to carry a concealed weapon.
If your conviction requires you to register as a sex offender, this duty remains after an expungement.
Only juvenile charges/convictions may be expunged.
Adults may seal their record if acquitted; no charges were filed, were dismissed or dismissed by plea bargain (and you have not been charged with another crime for 10 years.)
Cannot seal record if you owe fees/restitution, convicted of a sexual offense or a traffic violation.
Most arrest records are automatically expunged.
If convicted, may request a expungement pardon.
No pending charges. There are waiting periods before eligible for a pardon.
Most arrest records and pardoned convictions.
Lengthy list of exclusions (11 Del. Laws 4373 and 4375).
Expungement is available for arrest records or when adjudication was “withheld.”
You cannot expunge convictions.
You are entitled to only one expungement.
 Juvenile arrest records and convictions. Some adult arrest records and convictions (if not convicted or the records are inaccurate or incomplete).
Expungement is not available if:

·         Charges were dismissed due to a plea agreement which resulted in conviction,

·          The prosecutor was unable to introduce evidence that was material to the case,

·         A material witness refused to testify or was unavailable for testifying without legal justification,

·         Charges were not pursued because you were already incarcerated,

·         You completed the requirements of a pretrial diversion program and the program did not allow for expungement

·         Your criminal conduct was part of a pattern of criminal activity,

·         Other concerns such as diplomatic or immigration issues.

Most arrest records, dismissed, and acquitted charges.
You cannot expunge most convictions.
Cannot expunge if not guilty due to insanity/mental incapacity.
Waiting periods may apply.
Juvenile court records and adult records if judgment was deferred/withheld. Some sex offender convictions may be expunged.
Most convictions cannot be expunged.
Both arrests and (some) convictions.
You cannot expunge a DUI.
Expungement only applies to first time offenders.
Only arrest records or pardoned convictions may be expunged.
Conviction records may be sealed.
Convictions cannot be expunged.
Expungement is only available to first-time offenders with no pending criminal charges.
If acquitted, charges were dismissed or judgment deferred. Some alcohol convictions.
Most convictions cannot be expunged.
Juvenile court records, arrest records, some convictions. (Waiting periods may apply.)
Murder, manslaughter, sexual offenses, and child abuse offenses.
Arrest records, if acquitted, charges were dismissed, or misdemeanor convictions.
Most felony convictions. Cannot have pending charges or be on probation.
Most arrest records, of acquitted, charges were dismissed, or set aside. Some convictions may be expunged after a waiting period.
You cannot expunge sexual, domestic violence, child-related, most drug-related, and violent offenses.
No expungement in Maine. May request a pardon or challenge inaccurate information.
Most arrest records are confidential.
Convictions are public records, unless pardoned.
Motor Vehicle Administration files, police files, and court files (if acquitted, convicted of nuisance crime, received probation, pardoned, or charges were not filed).
Expungement is not available if there are pending charges or if you are a repeat offender.
Most adult records cannot be expunged. However, they may be sealed if the charges were dismissed, acquitted, pardoned, or a waiting period has passed.
Juvenile records may be sealed after three years, if there are no pending charges or subsequent convictions.
Firearm and sexual convictions can never be sealed.
Juvenile records where the sentence has been diverted.
Adult convictions if first-time offender, not guilty by insanity/mental incapacity, or plead no contest.
No expungement of sexual offenses, felonies, attempted felonies punishable by a life prison sentence, or traffic offenses. Not available for repeat offenders.
You can expunge misdemeanors and some felonies.
If you are a registered sex offender, you cannot expunge these records.
Juvenile records and first-time misdemeanor convictions.
Misdemeanor charges if dismissed or acquitted.
No expungement of violent offenses or drug trafficking.
If more than one conviction, you cannot expunge a felony.
First-time offenders may seal a record if charges are dismissed, withdrawn or acquitted.
No expungement of violent or serious felonies.
Available if charges are dismissed, withdrawn or acquitted. Convictions may be expunged if dismissed after a deferral or reversed on appeal.
Most convictions cannot be expunged.
Arrest records only.
Cannot expunge convictions  unless deferred or reversed on appeal.
Arrest records and some convictions. Waiting periods may apply.
Cannot expunge sexual or child-related offenses.
New Hampshire
Arrest records and convictions (waiting periods may apply).
No expungement of violent offenses, obstructing justice, or if sentenced to extended incarceration.
Most arrest record, convictions when a waiting period has passed, juvenile court records, and first-time minor drug offenses that were conditionally discharged.
No expungement for serious offenses, such as aggravated assault, robbery, and arson.
If New Jersey has a special interest in retaining the conviction records, a court may refuse to expunge them.
Arrest and court records if you were found not guilty or if your case was dismissed. Some traffic infractions may also be expunged.
Convictions cannot be expunged.
Most arrest records and court records if not guilty, or dismissed. Most juvenile record. Some adult convictions.
Repeat offenders cannot expunge their records.
Cannot expunge sexual convictions, hate crime, vehicular offenses, assault, or most drug-related offenses.
North Dakota
Juvenile records only.
Adult convictions cannot be expunged.
Adult records are sealed, while only juvenile records may be expunged.
Sealing is available to first time offenders without pending charges if they complete their sentence.
Records involving mandatory prison time and some serious offenses may not be sealed.
Adult misdemeanor convictions, felony charges that are dismissed, pardoned, or withdrawn.
Charges if you are acquitted, a victim of identity theft, or a victim of human trafficking.
You cannot expunge a conviction or charges involving a violent felony.
Juvenile records may be broadly expunged.
Some adult records may be expunged, including misdemeanor convictions, Class C felony convictions, and charges that were either not filed, dismissed, or acquitted.
You cannot expunge:
·         Traffic offenses,
·         Class A or B felonies,
·         DUI’s that are dismissed due to diversion,
·         Violent felonies,
·         Sex crimes.
You cannot expunge your record if you have pending charges or arrests/convictions in the past 10 years.
Most juvenile records.
Adult records if:
·         You are at least 70 years of age and have not been arrested for 10 years following release; or
         The person has been deceased for at least 3 years
         Charges were dismissed, or
         A court orders that non-conviction data be expunged.
Expungement is not available for persons who are currently undergoing a Pennsylvania alternative sentencing program known as Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition (ARD). ARD is applied in offenses involving sexual abuse of a minor. However, upon completion of ARD requirements, arrest records are automatically expunged.
Rhode Island
Arrest and court records if acquitted, or charges were dismissed or not filed.
First time offenders only.
You cannot expunge convictions or violent crime charges.
South Carolina
Non-convictions, some first-time convictions. First-time offenders only after a waiting period.
Cannot expunge most traffic, motor vehicle, wildlife/game and violent offenses.
South Dakota
Arrest records and certain convictions after a waiting period. Age requirements also apply.
Cannot expunge sexual offenses, crimes of moral turpitude, most felonies, and offenses involving a minor.
Non-convictions and some convictions.
Numerous exclusions, including sexual offenses and violent offenses. (Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-32-101.)
Available for arrest records that did not lead to conviction (acquitted or dismissed due to mistake or false information).
Convictions that are pardoned or reversed on appeal.
Most convictions cannot be expunged. If charges are dismissed for insufficient evidence, an expungement is unavailable
Arrest records and convictions.
Cannot expunge capital felonies, first degree felonies, violent felonies, vehicular homicide, DUI, or sex offenses.
Arrest records and some convictions. Waiting periods and other requirements may apply.
Most felonies cannot be expunged.
Available for non-convictions, pardoned offenses, victims of identity theft, firs-time misdemeanors. Juvenile records are routinely expunged.
Most convictions cannot be expunged.
Available if sentence is completed, no pending charges.
Most sex offenses and violent offenses cannot be expunged.
West Virginia
Non-convictions and some convictions (first-time offenders, young offenders and pardoned offenses) may be expunged.
Expungement is unavailable for domestic violence, firearm-related, sexual, animal cruelty and violent offenses, as well as DUI and driving without a license charges.
Some records involving young offenders.
Most adult records are ineligible for expungement.
Juvenile records, non-convictions, some misdemeanor and felony convictions. A waiting period may apply.
Cannot expunge sexual offenses, offenses involving a minor, some drug charges, perjury, and drunk driving.