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Criminal record

Do you have a criminal record that's getting in the way of your life goals?

You may be able to seal your record.

Sealing—or expunging—your record means that landlords, employers, and most other people can't see it. It does NOT mean your conviction is gone—but it DOES mean you might have an easier time finding a home and a job.

Joel

Image of Joel“About four years ago, I began to abuse drugs and was arrested several times. I was committed to a juvenile justice treatment facility. I earned two certifications that helped me get ready to work. Now I’m a high school graduate and I have two jobs. I plan on attending college to become a physical therapist.”

See Joel's story

Can I get my record sealed?

In many states, you can get a juvenile record sealed when you turn 18. You can also get adult records sealed. Each state has its own rules about expunging records. They look at many factors including:

  • How serious your crime was—it's unlikely you can ever expunge a serious crime involving violence or a sex offense
  • How old you were when you were convicted
  • How long it's been since your arrest
  • Whether you completed the terms of your sentence, probation, or diversion program
  • Whether you have more than one offense on your record

How do I get my record sealed?

You can find tips and information to help you expunge your record at CareerOneStop’s Job Search Help for Ex-Offenders. To apply to have your record expunged, get started here:

  1. Get an official copy of your record. From State Resources, select your state. Then look under Documents and Vital Records, and click on Criminal Record. You'll find the website or phone number to get a copy of your criminal record. You can also ask or look on this website for information about sealing your record.
  2. Find free or low-cost legal help. From State Resources, select your state. Under Legal Assistance, check for a link to a group that offers free or low-cost legal help. You may need a lawyer to help you get your record expunged, so check with this group to see if they offer this service.

What if I can't get my record sealed?

CareerOneStop's Job Search Help for Ex-Offenders also offers information to job search. Check out the following: