What to bring to court when  you are trying to get a record sealed or expunged

What to bring to court when you are trying to get a record sealed or expunged

Stephanie Cortes
 | 
According to the Brennan Center For Justice, more than 70 million Americans have a criminal record.

Not all of them are felonies, of course. Some are simple misdemeanors. Whether you have been arrested, convicted of a crime, or both, a criminal record is public and can negatively impact you when you are seeking employment, education, housing, public assistance, etc.

Fortunately, in most states you may request to seal your records and remove them from public view through a process known as expungement. 

The process of expungements generally requires the individual to file a petition with the court and appear before a judge. The person usually must prove they haven't broken any other laws.  

If you are seeking an expungement, here is what you should bring to the hearing:
  • Copy of the court documents filed including the petition and written declarations
  • A Photo I.D
  • Proof of Services made to government agencies
  • Copy of criminal charges and arrests history
  • Copy of any restraining orders made against you
  • Witnesses such as social worker, job counselor, or other people to testify on your behalf
  • Letters of references from people who can support and testify your claims of how you are working to better your life and how the expungement may benefit you 
  • Proof of any cases dismissed or found not guilty
  • Proof of remedies made such as paying an outstanding amount, completing anger management courses, or rehabilitation programs
  • Proof of education, certificates of vocational training or degrees attained after arrest
  • A list of employment and educational history.
  • A list of all addresses you have lived starting from your first criminal arrest or charge to present
  • A list of volunteer experiences within the community or places of worship
  • A copy of any previous expungement or pardon request
  • Immigration documentation
  • Notes to yourself that may help you explain your claims to the judge of criminal record impacts such as past job, housing, or other rejections and disadvantages in the future
  • Notes to yourself to help you explain to the judge how the expungement will better your life and benefit your family
  • Anything else that supports your claims.
  • An attorney can help you prepare for your hearing to best represent your interest in court. If you decide to petition an expungement alone and lose the hearing, seek legal advice from an attorney immediately.



This article is intended to convey generally useful information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any opinions expressed are solely those of the author, not LawChamps.

 
Stephanie Cortes

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