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What You Need to Know About Expungement in DC


Expungement in DC can clear your criminal record and give you a clean slate. Learn more about the process and see if you qualify.

Expunging or Sealing Criminal Records in Washington, DC


The primary reason is that it can be tough to get a job when employment applications ask if you have ever been arrested or convicted, and potential employers may make you agree to a background check.

It may be hard to get people to trust you even if many years have passed and you have never been in trouble since. Having your criminal record expunged may allow you to finally put the past behind you and get on with the rest of your life.

The information provided is simply that general information, not legal advice. Each case has a different set of facts, and it is best to contact a Washington, DC expungement lawyer to get a more accurate answer.


What Does It Mean to Have a Criminal Record Expunged or Sealed in Washington, DC?


In Washington, DC, having your criminal record expunged or sealed means removing your arrest record and criminal history from public view in accordance with the Criminal Record Sealing Act. This means you can legally say you have not been arrested or convicted.

However, certain institutions, such as the superior court, require you to disclose even sealed or expunged arrests or convictions. Most private employers do not require such disclosure. Please consult an expungement lawyer if you have specific questions, as this is not legal advice.


What Crimes Can Be Expunged or Sealed on a DC Criminal Record?


The first thing that must be determined is whether we are talking about an arrest or a conviction. It is much easier to have an arrest expunged than a conviction.

If you were arrested and not convicted, 2 years must pass to seal an eligible misdemeanor, or 5 years must pass for any other offense. 10 years must pass for sealing a conviction of an eligible misdemeanor or Failure to Appear felony.

What Crimes Are Eligible for Expungement or Sealing in Washington DC?


Any crime that either did not occur or you were innocent (this is NOT easy to prove), failure to Appear (the only eligible felony), or a misdemeanor not explicitly excluded. All felonies and these 40 misdemeanors are excluded:

  1. An intrafamily offense, as defined in § 16-1001(8);
  2. Driving while intoxicated, driving under the influence, and operating while impaired (§ 50-2201.05);
  3. A misdemeanor offense for which sex offender registration is required according to Chapter 40 of Title 22, whether or not the registration period has expired;
  4. Criminal abuse of a vulnerable adult (§ 22-936(a));
  5. Interfering with access to a medical facility (§ 22-1314.02);
  6. Possession of a pistol by a convicted felon (§ 22-4503(a)(2) [see now § 22-4503(a)(1)]);
  7. Failure to report child abuse (§ 4-1321.07);
  8. Refusal or neglect of guardian to provide for a child under 14 years of age (§ 22-1102);
  9. Disorderly conduct (peeping tom) (§ 22-1321);
  10. Misdemeanor sexual abuse (§ 22-3006);
  11. Violating the Sex Offender Registration Act (§ 22-4015);
  12. Violating child labor laws (§§ 32-201 through 22-224) [§§ 32-201 through 32-224];
  13. Election/Petition fraud (§ 1-1001.08);
  14. Public assistance fraud (§§ 4-218.01 through 4-218.05);
  15. Trademark counterfeiting (§ 22-902(b)(1));
  16. Attempted trademark counterfeiting (§§ 22-1803, 22-902);
  17. Fraud in the second degree (§ 22-3222(b)(2));
  18. Attempted fraud (§§ 22-1803, 22-3222);
  19. Credit card fraud (§ 22-3223(d)(2));
  20. Attempted credit card fraud (§ 22-1803, 22-223) [§§ 22-1803, 22-3223];
  21. Misdemeanor insurance fraud (§ 22-3225.03a);
  22. Attempted insurance fraud (§§ 22-1803, 22-3225.02, 22-3225.03);
  23. Telephone fraud (§§ 22-3226.06, 22-3226.10(3));
  24. Attempted telephone fraud (§§ 22-1803, 22-3226.06, 22-3226.10);
  25. Identity theft, second degree (§§ 22-3227.02, 22-3227.03(b));
  26. Attempted identify theft (§§ 22-1803, 22-3227.02, 22-3
  27. Fraudulent statements or failure to make statements to employees (§ 47-4104);
  28. Fraudulent withholding of information or failure to supply information to an employer (§ 47-4105);
  29. Fraud and false statements (§ 47-4106);
  30. False statement/dealer certificate (§ 50-1501.04(a)(3));
  31. False information/registration (§ 50-501.04(a)(3)) [§ 50-1501.04(a)(3)];
  32. No school bus driver’s license (18 DCMR § 1305.1);
  33. False statement on Department of Motor Vehicles document (18 DCMR § 1104.1);
  34. No permit – 2nd or greater offense (§ 50-1401.01(d));
  35. Altered title (18 DCMR § 1104.3);
  36. Altered registration (18 DCMR § 1104.4);
  37. No commercial driver’s license (§ 50-405);
  38. A violation of building and housing code regulations;
  39. A violation of the Public Utility Commission regulations; and
  40. Attempt or conspiracy to commit any of the foregoing offenses (§§ 22-1803, 22-1805a).

The expungement or record sealing process can be very confusing to understand, and the application may be challenging to complete. The burden of proof is on the applicant to show clear and convincing evidence that meets all of the statutory requirements for relief.

An attorney experienced with expungement law can help you determine if your criminal record is eligible for sealing and if so, guide you through the process.

When a criminal record is expunged or sealed, it means that the public will no longer have access to it. In most cases, this includes criminal background checks conducted by employers, landlords, and others.

However, there are some exceptions. For example, sealed records can still be accessed by law enforcement agencies and courts for criminal investigations and prosecutions.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney in Washington, D.C.


If you have been charged with any of these Washington, DC, drunk driving offenses or any other DC crime, you need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the better your chances will be of getting the charges against you reduced or dismissed.

Attorney Christopher J. Mutimer has successfully represented clients in all types of felony and misdemeanor cases in the District of Columbia. He will aggressively defend your rights and work to get the best possible outcome in your case. Call 202-946-5783 or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Credit Cards Accepted


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