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Do you qualify to have your federal record expunged?

There is a certain stigma that seems to accompany federal crimes, as though people in New York view them as being more serious than state offenses. The reality is that all criminally activity is equally serious; the only elements that designate a crime as being federal are jurisdictional issues. So ultimately, you would rather not have any infractions on your criminal record. Yet if you do, and yours happens to be for a federal offense, then you might be wondering if you qualify to have your federal record expunged. 

A better question may be is expungement even possible? Many believe that you simply to wait a certain period of time to qualify to have your record cleared. The truth is that if you were convicted of an offense, expungement is typically immediately off the table. Only in certain cases can you have an offense for which you were convicted (or pled guilty to) removed from your record. 

Expungements are typically only possible if you were acquitted or there were issues in prosecuting your case. Indeed, according to The Restoration of Rights Project, there are no federal statutes that address expungements. Court rulings, however, have decided that it is possible in certain cases where a federal arrest (and even a subsequent conviction) has been found to be invalid. 

If the federal crime you are facing is in regards to drug activity, you may be able to have your record expunged provided you meet the following criteria: 

  • You are only facing misdemeanor charges
  • This is your first federal offense
  • You are under the age of 21

Federal guidelines typically do not follow those of states that allow almost all offenses you may have committed as juvenile to expunged as soon as you turn 21. 

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