Kansas City Criminal Defense Lawyers
How Long Does an Arrest or Conviction Stay on My Record?

How Long Does an Arrest or Conviction Stay on My Record?

An arrest or conviction has the potential to affect you for years. You may have trouble getting a job, finding a place to live, or qualifying for public assistance or benefits such as federal student aid. The impacts of these limitations can persist even after you have served your time and paid all fines, fees, and restitution, as the arrest or conviction information does not automatically drop off after you've completed your sentence.

Fortunately, for some felony and misdemeanor crimes, you can take legal action to have your arrest or conviction removed from your record. If your request is granted, your criminal history will be blocked from public view. This means that, unless necessary for any future criminal investigations or government positions, your information cannot be released. Additionally, if you're asked if you've even been arrested or convicted, you can legally say "no."

Getting Your Criminal Information Removed

The legal avenue you can pursue to have an arrest or conviction taken off your record is called an expungement. To begin the process, you must ensure that you are eligible for this type of relief and that the required amount of time has passed.

You can seek to have your arrest expunged if:

  • The arrest resulted from mistaken identity
  • The court determined that the arresting officer didn't have probable cause
  • Your case concluded with a "not guilty" verdict
  • The expungement would be in the best interest of justice

For misdemeanor and some felony convictions, you must wait until the required amount of time has elapsed before you can file a petition for expungement.

Generally, for misdemeanors, the waiting period is 3 years. For felonies, it's 5 years. However, exceptions exist, and it's best to consult with a skilled criminal defense attorney to help determine whether or not you qualify for expungement.

In Kansas, some crimes can never be removed from a criminal record, no matter how much time has passed.

Offenses ineligible for expungement include but are not limited to:

  • Rape
  • Indecent liberties with a child
  • Sexual exploitation of a child
  • Child abuse
  • Murder
  • Involuntary manslaughter
  • Aggravated sexual battery

After you determine whether you qualify for expungement, you must file a petition with the court to request the relief. Depending on your situation, you may be scheduled for a hearing, during which you must explain why you are seeking to have your record cleared. Thoroughly preparing for the hearing is crucial and most effectively done with an attorney by your side.

What an Expungement Can and Cannot Do?

If granted, an expungement will wipe your arrest and/or conviction information from your criminal record and help you get a second chance at life. However, certain agencies can still see it if they have a lawful reason for doing so.

If you were banned from possessing a firearm because of your conviction, an expungement may not restore your rights. Whether or not the prohibition is lifted depends on what state or federal laws may be applied to your case.

Additionally, an expungement won't relieve you from your requirement to register as an offender. You must still comply with this condition even if the offense is no longer on your record.

If you've been arrested or convicted for a crime and are seeking relief from limitations, reach out to our Kansas City attorneys at Stein Law, LLC today. We can be reached by phone at (913) 583-0465 or online.


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