When Does a Felony Fall Off Your Record?

Does a Felony Stay on Your Record Forever? Wouldn’t it be great if the mistakes you’ve made could be completely wiped from your record? A new day arises and with it comes your right to vote and own a weapon again. Applying for a job or a lease would be as simple as making sure you have the credentials to get approval.

Due to current guidelines, a felony is a permanent scar on your record. Each time you apply for a job, a loan, or housing it shows up. Although it is possible to live a fruitful life as a felon, you may want the record completely gone.

Unfortunately, felonies do not expire. But there are things you can do to hide or get rid of it completely.

Having a felony removed depends on the circumstances and time since it happened. Were you a minor convicted of a non-violent felony? Did the court make mistakes and violate your rights to a fair trial?

How to Get Rid of Your Felony

Most states will not remove a felony from your record for you. It is your responsibility, and your right to try to get it removed.

One option that you do have is an Expungement. This may be the best option if you’re in a position to do it.

Proving yourself innocent after the fact may be another option. You will have to hire an attorney to appeal your conviction.

You can even seal your records. Once you have your records sealed, they will no longer show up on a background check.

Living with a felony can be difficult. Applying for jobs and housing can be overwhelming when someone discovers your crime. Rest assured that it is not impossible to live a fruitful life with a felony conviction.


Expungement is the term used to describe the removal of felony convictions. Arrest records may still show up in background checks. An expungement means the conviction will not show up on background checks.

There are certain criteria to meet before you want to start the process.

  • How long has it been since your crime? Time spent without getting in trouble will help your case.
  • How serious was your crime? Some crimes are exempt from standard expungement.
  • What was your criminal history before you got your conviction? Assuming this was your first crime you may be a pretty good candidate.
  • Have you completed the conditions of your sentence? This includes Parole, probation, prison sentence, rehab, and fines.

Assuming you meet these requirements hire an attorney and start the process. Some states may make it easier for you to do this than others, you’ll want to prepare your case.

Sealing Your Records

Having your records sealed is different from having your crimes expunged. Sealing your records doesn’t take away your conviction. This means that they will not show up on background checks.

The qualifications to do this depends on the state where you committed your crime. Keep in mind, your arrest may still show up on the internet.


To get a pardon, you must first understand who can pardon you. We’ve all heard of presidential pardons. This is where the President states you are no longer a criminal.

The president is unable to pardon your crimes if you’re prosecuted by the state. The Governor of your state cannot pardon you if your crime was a Federal crime.

A pardon is generally granted to persons who were innocent of their crimes. It is also possible to receive a pardon if there were issues with your criminal case. If the police didn’t follow the rules collecting evidence, you may be eligible for a pardon.

Once your record has been expunged you will receive a Certificate of Rehabilitation. It states that you have overcome your past convictions. The COR does not wipe anything off of your record, but it may help you to move forward.

What Does A Felony Mean for You?

Of course, it is best to avoid this type of trouble. It takes time and money for the state to convict someone.

You are not alone, there are millions of felons leading fulfilling lives. It would be great if you could come back from such a stigmatizing conviction.

Felony convictions mean loss of many rights and a daunting stigma that lingers with you. Inability to vote in elections, carry a firearm, and even rent houses are all taken when you become a felon.

Depending on the number of crimes you’ve committed will play into your ability to move forward. The more time you put between your conviction and the present will also play a key role in your growth.

In some states, there are waiting periods for certain benefits. HUD housing can mean that you have to wait 5-10 years before applying. The longer you go without getting into trouble the better you’ll be.

What Support Do You Have?

Many people are fortunate to have families who help them. Others may not be so lucky.

People who care about the well-being of former convicts do exist. There are authorities designed to help people recover from convictions.

For many, going to prison and committing a serious crime leaves people with few resources. If your family disowned you, and you aren’t able to find a job it can be difficult to stay out of prison.

It is important to use the resources available to you. There are many non-profit organizations all over the US willing to help felons.

If none of the options listed above is the right fit for your unique situation, there are things you can do. Once released and finishing the terms of parole if you have it find a good job.

Several companies will hire felons and others help you to find housing. Once you can get a vehicle focus on what comes next for your life. It is still your life.


A felony is not a lifetime prison sentence. Many of the freedoms you used to have are gone for now. There are still options for becoming an upstanding citizen.

Having the record removed or even getting a pardon is ideal. Each of these options means you don’t have to live with a felony conviction lingering over you.

Rehabilitation is the ultimate goal for anyone convicted of a crime. As the conviction changed your life, you can change the way that you live that life.

Make yourself a part of your community to overcome your past. Find places that will help you. Create healthy positive relationships because you will need support in your journey.







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