Expungement is the process of legally destroying or sealing criminal records so that they are no longer accessible to the public. In Arkansas, expungement is governed by Arkansas Code Annotated 16-90-901, et seq.
Arkansas Requirements to Seal Records
Under Arkansas law, certain criminal records may be expunged if the individual meets certain eligibility requirements. These requirements include:
- The individual has been acquitted of the crime for which they were charged,
- The individual has had their charged dismissed or nolle prosequi (also known as "nolle prossed") by the prosecuting authority,
- The individual has been found not guilty at trial,
- The individual has completed a drug court program,
- The individual has been pardoned by the Governor for the crime in question, OR
- The individual was found guilty, but has completed all of his or her sentence (including payments of fines and costs) and is no longer subject to the jurisdiction of the court in that case. There are certain offenses for which expungement or sealing are not allowed, so speak with an attorney to make sure your conviction is for an offense that qualifies.
Not all criminal records are eligible for expungement. For example, records of convictions for certain felonies, such as sexual offenses, violent crimes, and drug trafficking, are not eligible for expungement or record sealing.
If an individual is eligible for expungement or record sealing, they must file a petition with the court in which the charge was filed (or if no charge was filed and expungement of an arrest is sought, in a court with jurisdiction) requesting that the record be expunged. The court will then consider the petition and decide whether to grant the expungement. Typically, it will be granted if the prosecutor does not object.
After a Successful Expungement
If the expungement or record sealing is granted, the court will order that all records related to the individual's arrest and prosecution be sealed. This means that the records will no longer be accessible to the public and will not appear on background checks or other public records searches. It will also allow the individual to apply for jobs and housing without disclosing the arrest or conviction.
Expungement can be a very helpful tool for individuals who have been arrested or charged with a crime and want to move on with their lives.It can allow them to put their past behind them and move forward with a clean slate. If you are considering having your records sealed in Arkansas, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate the process and ensure your rights are protected. For a free consultationwith an attorney, call us at (479) 996-2100.