In the District of Columbia the vast majority of criminal records are sealed rather than expunged. Expungement is a complete erasure of the criminal record whereas sealing hides the record from the public. The process for sealing the criminal record in the District of Columbia requires the individual to file a motion with the Court, called a MOTION to seal. Detailed video on sealing.
No. There is no charge for filing a motion to seal in the District of Columbia. You take written motion to the clerk’s office on the 4th floor of DC Superior Court located at 500 Indiana Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20001 and file it with criminal clerk of the court.
Yes, You can file the motion to seal on your own. You are not required to hire a lawyer but an experienced criminal lawyer can help you with understanding the Sealing law in the District of Columbia.
No you can not file online for sealing a criminal record in the District of Columbia. You must file your motion in person at DC Superior Court.
The Youth Rehabilitation Act (YRA) also provides an opportunity for individuals from 18-24 to have the conviction (felony or misdemeanor) “set aside” (sealed from public view) if the person satisfies the conditions of the Court. An individual 24 or younger , regardless of whether the youth offender was sentenced under YRA, may, after the completion of the sentence may file a motion to have the youth offender’s conviction set aside. The court may, in its discretion, set aside the conviction.
A person may need to have a record unsealed for immigration purposes or for a compelling need. A record sealed under actual innocence may only be opened when a person shows a compelling need. Records sealed in the interest of justice shall be made available to
(1) To any court, prosecutor, or law enforcement agency for any lawful purpose, including:
(A) The investigation or prosecution of any offense;
(B) The determination of whether a person is eligible to have an arrest or conviction sealed or expunged;
(C) The determination of conditions of release for a subsequent arrest;
(D) The determination of whether a person has committed a second or subsequent offense for charging or sentencing purposes;
(E) Determining an appropriate sentence if the person is subsequently convicted of another crime; and
(F) Employment decisions.
(2) For use in civil litigation relating to the arrest or conviction;
(3) Upon order of the Court for good cause shown;
Yes, in the District of Columbia there is a difference between sealing and expunging a criminal record. Expungement of a criminal record is only available to convictions of possession of narcotics offenses and misrepresentation of age. Sealing a criminal record is available to most misdemeanors in the District of Columbia and only one felony(bail reform act violation).
Juvenile records are already shielding from the Public. However, an individual with juvenile adjudication may also want to seal a juvenile record pursuant to DC Code § 16–2335. A motion to seal may be filed after the child has reached his majority; or two years have elapsed since the final discharge of the person from legal custody or supervision, or since the entry of any other Division order not involving custody or supervision; and the person has not been subsequently convicted of a crime, or adjudicated delinquent or in need of supervision prior to the filing of the motion, and no proceeding is pending seeking such conviction or adjudication. If the record is sealed under DC Code § 16–2335 All facts relating to the action including arrest, the filing of a petition, and the adjudication, filing, and disposition of the Division shall no longer exist as a matter of law.
If you file a motion to seal in the interest of justice and it is granted the Court shall give the individual an order stating:
(A) Any court;
(B) Any federal, state, or local prosecutor;
(C) Any law enforcement agency;
(D) Any licensing agency with respect to an offense that may disqualify a person from obtaining that license;
(E) Any licensed school, day care center, before or after school facility or other educational or child protection agency or facility;
(F) Any government employer or nominating or tenure commission with respect to:
(i) Employment of a judicial or quasi-judicial officer; or
(ii) Employment at a senior-level, executive-grade government position.
If you file a motion to seal under actual innocence the Court and it is granted the Court shall give the individual an order stating:
It can take anywhere from 90 to 180 days to expunge or seal a criminal record in the District of Columbia.