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What is expungement?

On Behalf of | May 11, 2023 | Criminal Defense

If you have been charged with a crime, but the case was dismissed or you were acquitted, you probably want to clear your records to clear your name and protect your reputation. One way to do this is through expungement.

Expunging your records means that the arrest and court records are erased from public view and can only be accessed by law enforcement agencies.

Not everyone will qualify

However, expunging your records is not an automatic process and not everyone will qualify. You must apply for it and meet certain eligibility criteria.

You can only expunge your records if you meet one of the following conditions.

You can expunge your criminal records if you were arrested but not charged with a crime, or if you were charged with a crime, but the case was dismissed or dropped.

You can also qualify if you were acquitted, or you were granted a deferred acceptance of guilty or no contest plea (DAG or DAN) and successfully completed probation. You cannot expunge your records if you were convicted unless you were pardoned.

Expungement application

Fill out an expungement application form. You can download the expungement application form from the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center website or their office. You will need to provide your personal details, such as name, date of birth, Social Security number and address. You also need the details of your arrest and court case, such as date, location, charge, disposition and case number.

Finally, you need to include the reason why you want to expunge your records, a copy of your criminal history record and a certified copy of the court order dismissing or acquitting your case or granting you a DAG or DAN. You can request a copy of your criminal history record from HCJDC.

Do not forget the money order or cashier’s check for $30 payable to HCJDC. You can mail or deliver your application and supporting documents to the HCJDC office.

Wait for the decision

The HCJDC will review your application and determine if you are eligible for expungement within 120 days. Expedited services are not available.

If your application is approved, you will receive a certificate of expungement from the HCJDC. This certificate will state that your arrest and court records have been expunged and that you can legally deny that they ever existed.

If you want to seal court records record as well, you will need to file a motion with the court that handled your case and pay a fee of $25.