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Expunging or Sealing a Criminal Record in Washington, DC

Washington, DC expungement lawyers are commonly asked for assistance with sealing or expunging a criminal record. There are many reasons that a client may wish to have his or her record or “rap sheet” expunged.

The primary reason is that it can be very difficult 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 different set of facts, and it is best to contact a 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 basically means having arrests or convictions removed. This means that you will be able to legally say that you have not been arrested or convicted. There are however certain institutions, such as the court, that 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 past to seal an eligible misdemeanor, or 5 years must past for any other offense. 10 years must past for sealing a conviction of an eligable 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 specifically excluded. Basically, 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 pursuant 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 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 employee (§ 47-4104);
  28. Fraudulent withholding information or failure to supply information to 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 difficult to complete.


If you have been charged with any of these Washington, DC drunk driving offenses or any other DC crime, contact Attorney Christopher J. Mutimer by calling 202-946-5783 or by filling out an online contact form. Credit Cards Accepted


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