Expungement in Arkansas
- Expungement in Arkansas
- Expungement vs. Sealing of Records
- Eligibility for Expungement
- Obtaining an Expungement
- Denial of Expungement
- FAQs About Expungement in Arkansas
- How much does it cost to get your record expunged in Arkansas?
- How do you get your record expunged in Arkansas?
- What crimes Cannot be expunged in Arkansas?
- How do I get my criminal record sealed in Arkansas?
- Do sealed records show up on background checks in Arkansas?
- How long do misdemeanors stay on your record in Arkansas?
- What is the difference between expungement and sealing in Arkansas?
- How much does it cost to get a pardon in Arkansas?
- Does Arkansas have a clean slate law?
- What is the First Time Offenders Act in Arkansas?
- What is Act 531 Arkansas?
- Can I get a misdemeanor expunged in Arkansas?
Expungement is the removal of police and court records from public inspection. With expungement, your records will not be physically destroyed, but rather sealed and treated as confidential. To be eligible for expungement, you must have pleaded guilty or nolo contendere (no contest) to an offense and must have completed all the terms and conditions of your probation as outlined in the relevant statutes. Sexual offenders whose victims were under the age of eighteen years are not eligible for expungement.
In most cases, drug court probationers may also be eligible for expungement (A.C.A. § 16-98-303(g)) following successful completion of a drug court program and aftercare programming if they receive a recommendation from the prosecuting attorney and the judge finds it appropriate.
Minor non-violent felony offenders may also be able to have their records expunged (A.C.A. §16-90-602) if the court determines it is in their best interests and the state’s best interests. Misdemeanors also may be expunged, unless clear and convincing evidence exists that indicates it should not be.
Those with charges that have been dropped or dismissed, acquitted at trial, and those who have successfully completed probation, jail sentences, or commitments to the Department of Corrections are also eligible for record expungement.
However, this does not apply to convictions for capital offenses, murder, rape, kidnapping, and aggravated robbery or for certain controlled substance offenses or state narcotics violations.
Expungement vs. Sealing of Records
Expungement and sealing are not synonymous. Sealing a record means concealing criminal records from the general public while still allowing specific authorities access. Expungement refers to the process of completely erasing records from public and government scrutiny.
Who Can Access Sealed Records?
Under normal circumstances, only you and your legal representative are permitted to view sealed records. However, if you apply for certain positions such as a teacher, daycare worker, or employee of a criminal justice organization, you may be asked to provide access to your sealed records. Additionally, the Arkansas Crime Information Center may be able to access your information. In some cases, the prosecution may be granted permission to view sealed records for individuals being tried for further convictions. If such an individual is ultimately found guilty, then the presiding judge could also request access.
What Becomes of My Records?
The court clerk will compile all documents relating to your case and store them in a confidential holding area within their office. The same applies to any electronic records. Furthermore, they must all be securely sealed.
Eligibility for Expungement
Only a few people in Arkansas are eligible for record expungement. Those who have been arrested but have not been charged with a crime have the option of expunging all petitions, arrest records, orders, and other documents related to the case. With the exception of pardoned offenses for sexual offenses, offenses against minors, and offenses resulting in death or serious injury, pardoned criminals may exercise this option.
If probation is fully completed, first-time offenders in most crimes, including driving offenses and controlled substance offenses, have the option of having their charges expunged. Minors who have been pardoned for offenses committed while under the age of sixteen and non-violent felonies committed while under the age of eighteen may be eligible. Individuals who have been charged and arrested but have had their charges dismissed, acquitted, or declared nolle prossed may petition the court.
Certain offenses are eligible under certain conditions after probation or a commitment to the Department of Correction has been completed and a transfer to the Department of Community Correction has occurred. These offenses include having no more than one previous felony conviction and not having a conviction for a capital offense, murder in the first degree, murder in the second degree, first-degree rape, aggravated robbery, kidnapping, or any other felony conviction.
Obtaining an Expungement
An individual convicted of a non-violent felony may petition the court for record expungement after a suspension has expired, probation time has been served, or a sentence has been completed. Adult arrest and conviction records, unlike many juvenile records, are not typically sealed or expunged after several years. A written application to the court must be petitioned and filed in accordance with established procedures.
Juvenile arrest and conviction records are typically sealed or expunged after a juvenile is arrested and adjudication or trial begins. To later destroy records, an application for expungement must sometimes be filed.
Denial of Expungement
Expungement petitions are sometimes denied for a variety of reasons. Existing addition convictions, previous expungement exits, pending arrests, sexual offense convictions, failing to meet set time periods set by law, registration as a sex offender, and court records indicating a case is still open are examples of these. The time limit for applying for expungement does not begin until all probation and confinement have been completed and all fines have been paid.
FAQs About Expungement in Arkansas
How much does it cost to get your record expunged in Arkansas?
The cost to apply for an order of expungement in Arkansas varies based on the number of cases you are seeking to have sealed. Generally, the fee for a single case is $150 plus court costs. For multiple cases, court costs may increase.
How do you get your record expunged in Arkansas?
In Arkansas, individuals may apply to have their criminal records expunged through a process called “sealing”. This involves filing a petition for sealing with the relevant Circuit Court Clerk’s office and providing the necessary documentation. After a hearing, if the Court finds that there is sufficient legal justification for sealing the record, an order will be entered granting the individual’s request.
What crimes Cannot be expunged in Arkansas?
Certain serious offenses such as homicide, sexual assault, kidnapping, and other felonies cannot be expunged in Arkansas. Additionally, any arrests or convictions related to driving under the influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) cannot be sealed.
How do I get my criminal record sealed in Arkansas?
To have your criminal records sealed in Arkansas, you must file a petition for sealing with the Circuit Court Clerk where the arrest or conviction was registered. Along with the petition, you must provide documentation such as an up-to-date background check report, proof of payment of court fees and restitution (if applicable), character testimony, and other relevant documents. The Court will then hold a hearing after which it may grant or deny your request to seal your record.
Do sealed records show up on background checks in Arkansas?
No, sealed criminal records do not appear on background checks in Arkansas. However, certain government agencies are allowed to view this information when conducting their own private investigations.
How long do misdemeanors stay on your record in Arkansas?
Misdemeanor offenses remain on your criminal record for seven years from the date of the conviction. After this time has passed, you can apply for an order of expungement in order to have your records sealed and removed from public access.
What is the difference between expungement and sealing in Arkansas?
The key difference between expungement and sealing in Arkansas is that while expungement results in all records related to the offense being destroyed, sealing only prevents these records from being seen by anyone other than certain government agencies.
How much does it cost to get a pardon in Arkansas?
The cost to apply for a pardon in Arkansas depends on the specific circumstances of your case but generally ranges from $200-$400. These costs cover filing fees and administrative expenses associated with processing your application.
Does Arkansas have a clean slate law?
Yes, Arkansas has a Clean Slate law that allows individuals who have been convicted of certain nonviolent felonies to petition the court to seal their records after they have served their sentence and completed any court-ordered requirements.
What is the First Time Offenders Act in Arkansas?
The First Time Offenders Act (AR Code § 16-93-303) allows individuals who were convicted of certain misdemeanor crimes to have their records sealed after completing all court-ordered obligations and paying any fines or restitution amounts owed. This act provides a second chance for those who have made mistakes and want to move forward with their lives.
What is Act 531 Arkansas?
Act 531 is legislation in Arkansas that grants pardons of innocence to individuals who were wrongfully convicted of a crime they did not commit. In order to be eligible for a pardon of innocence under Act 531, applicants must demonstrate clear and convincing evidence that they are innocent of the crime they were convicted of.
Can I get a misdemeanor expunged in Arkansas?
Yes, misdemeanors may be eligible for expungement provided that all court-ordered obligations have been met and any applicable fines have been paid. To begin this process, you will need to complete an Order of Expungement packet from the local Circuit Court Clerk’s Office and file it with the appropriate court.