How Can I Get a Police Report Removed From My Record?


A criminal record can haunt you. You are required by law to disclose a criminal record if asked by an employer, federal or state agency. It can make it hard to find a job, obtain an education and volunteer with certain agencies. Criminal records are kept by states, and each state has its own rules, regulations and procedures for expunging your record. Expungement may be referred to as sealing, clearing or setting aside your criminal record.

  • Research how to obtain a criminal record. Search state government websites in the state where you have the police report. Most states have a justice department to keep their records, while others use a special branch of law enforcement.

  • Pay the applicable fee and order a copy of your criminal record. Most states allow you to request a record through the mail. You may be required to supply certified copies of a government-issued photo ID or a fingerprint card taken at your local police station.

  • Look to see if a police report is on your criminal history. If it is not there, then no action is required. If the police report is there, then note the exact crime reported and when the police report took place.

  • Research the rules for expungement in the state where you have a criminal record. Look for plain English summaries of the rules on government websites, such as Department of Justice or Superior Court sites.

  • Reference your criminal record to see if you are eligible for expungement. Some states require a certain amount of time (one to 10 years) to pass after the arrest, conviction or completion of sentence in order to be eligible. Most states restrict certain crimes from eligibility such as crimes that involve children, sex crimes or violent crimes.

  • Obtain an application for expungement. Some states provide them online; others make them available with a court or law library clerk. You may need to mail a free-form request to the Attorney General's office.

  • Gather the required documents listed on the application. You may need to prove that you have successfully completed your sentencing stemming from the police report. You may need to provide proof of when the police report took place.

  • Fill out the application completely and lodge it in the appropriate manner. You may be able to mail the application, or you may be required to present the application in person at the convicting court. Pay the applicable fee.

  • Receive a response from the government and cooperate. You may need to attend a hearing to explain why you want the record expunged. You may be notified of a closed hearing that you do not need to attend.

  • Receive a judgment on your petition. The request will likely be heard by a judge in a closed hearing. You will be mailed a decision.


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