Musings on Immigration

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Does My Criminal Record Ever Go Away?

I get many questions about whether someone can erase their criminal record after completing probation or after the passage of a certain amount of time.

In the United States, your criminal convictions are never automatically taken off your record just due to the passage of time. If you have a conviction from 1999, that conviction will appear on your criminal record the same way in 1999 as in 2015. Nothing changes.

You may petition the court to withdraw a guilty plea or file a petition for habeas corpus to vacate your plea. These motions and petitions can be granted if there were constitutional or other issues with your plea. But there are strict time limits for these motion and petitions. A motion to withdraw a guilty plea almost always must be filed within the same "term of court." That could be two months or even one day after your plea. A petition for habeas corpus must be filed within 180 days after a conviction for a traffic offense including DUI, one year for misdemeanor offenses, and four year for felony offenses.

If you believe your rights were violated when you plead guilty or were found guilty, contact an attorney immediately!


Anna Erwin, Esq.
Associate Attorney

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