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Can You Expunge Out-of-State Convictions?

By Andrew Lu | Last updated on

One of the most common questions on our FindLaw Answers Criminal Law message board is whether someone can expunge an out-of-state conviction.

This applies whether you got arrested for a DUI while in Florida on vacation, or if you live in one of the many "tri-state" areas across the country and happened to get arrested in a neighboring state.

So can you get that out-of-state conviction expunged from your criminal record? And what is the process for doing so?

To find out, you'll likely want to talk to a criminal lawyer in the state where you were convicted, because expungement issues can be complicated.

If you are not familiar with the term, an expungement is a legal process through which an arrest or conviction may be erased from a person's criminal record. However, given the serious consequences of erasing someone's criminal past, expungements can be extremely difficult to obtain. Most states only offer them in very limited circumstances.

So each state (and even the federal government) has its own expungement laws that are very specific. For example, in some states, only certain crimes can be expunged, like a DUI.

But in other states, DUIs specifically cannot be expunged, while other convictions may be. And there could be other potential factors as well.

In short, expungement laws are a difficult morass that only someone very familiar with the criminal laws in that jurisdiction will know the answer to. And because each person's case is unique, there is no magic-bullet solution that fits every individual looking to expunge an out-of-state conviction.

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