Process for Expunging Federal Criminal Record: Non-Disclosure

The process for expunging federal criminal records requires that a disposition be formally dismissed by the court. If your expungement is granted, all official records, all references to your arrest, and the results of any criminal proceedings against you will be ordered destroyed. You cannot begin the process for expunging criminal records until at least three years have passed since the crime. Learn more in our legal guide below.

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Your federal criminal disposition will automatically be ordered sealed at the end of your probation. The court will issue an order of non-disclosure and instruct all agencies having your criminal record to seal it.

In order to have your federal criminal disposition expunged, your disposition must be dismissed by the court

You can then file a “Petition for Expungement”. Expungement procedures are as follows:

1. You will need to fill out and file a “Petition for Expungement” with the Attorney General’s office.

2. The Attorney General will dismiss the proceedings against you at any time after 3 years have passed, as long as:

  1. You never received a civil penalty for the crime;
  2. You have paid the penalty;
  3. You have complied with any conditions imposed by the Attorney General;
  4. You have not been convicted of any federal or state offense relating to a controlled substance; and
  5. You agree to submit to a drug test, and the test is negative (that means that you are drug free).

The Attorney General will also dismiss the proceedings if your conviction was based on a law that has been found to be unconstitutional, or if a judge finds that the conviction was the result of government misconduct. In these cases, there is no waiting period.

3. If your expungement is granted, all official records, all references to your arrest, and the results of any criminal proceedings against you will be ordered destroyed (expunged). You can then lawfully deny that you have ever been arrested for and/or convicted of the offense, if asked.

The sole exception to this would be that a non-public record of the conviction will be kept by the Department of Justice solely for the purpose of determining in any subsequent proceeding whether you qualified for an expungement under this section for use in any later similar proceedings.

For more information, visit the following topics:

Federal Expunging of Criminal Records: An Overview: snapshots the type of relief for getting an expungement of a federal conviction.

Eligibility: discusses the availability of expungement in relation to drug arrests.

Hiring an Attorney: discusses the reasons it makes sense to hire an attorney with knowledge and experience in expunging federal criminal records rather than representing yourself.

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