A felony has a big impact on a person’s life and if you live in Arkansas, you’ve come here trying to find out how to get the felony off your record. Realize that with all felony records, there are three options you can take. 1) Expunge Your Record 2) Seal Your Record 3) Request a Pardon of Your Record. The problem though is that all states don’t offer all three of these options. But before we get into what Arkansas offers, let’s review what each of these options actually mean.
If you get your record expunged in Arkansas it’s as if your arrest and/or charges never happened. Your record is completely destroyed, including all physical and public records. When asked if have a criminal record, after expungement, you can truthfully answer “no”.
Sealing your record in Arkansas is similar to expungement, but your record still exists in a limited form. The public does not have access to your record, but there are some exceptions. Your records can still be accessed by law enforcement and the courts. Record sealing is not as secure as expungement, but it is a reasonable alternative that is comparatively easier to obtain if your state offers it.
If you receive a pardon in Arkansas, you still have record of your arrest or charge, but your guilt is exonerated. That is, you have proven that you are rehabilitated and forgiven for your crimes. You can also get relief in terms of having various rights restored, such as your right to vote. The requirements for pardons vary between states, but typically there is a lot of documentation required, and includes lengthy waiting periods to apply and receive a pardon.
Things to Know Before You Start
First: It’s important to understand that every state is different in terms of what methods are available for felons to remove their record and the information below will help you understand what you can do in Arkansas.
Felony Expungement in Arkansas
No, it’s not possible to expunge your felony in Arkansas unless you were a minor when charged
Sealing a Record in Arkansas
Yes, it is possible to seal your record in Arkansas but it depends on the felony.
Getting a Pardon in Arkansas
Yes, it is possible to get a pardon off your record in Arkansas but it depends on the felony.
Second: When trying to clear your record, you really have two options. The first is to get a free consultation from a lawyer to see what they think of your case, and the second is to try to do all of the paperwork yourself.
Third: We HIGHLY recommend that you get a free consultation from a lawyer prior to taking any action. We say this because whether you want to expunge, seal, or pardon your record, it’s an extremely complicated process. Failure to follow the process properly can end up with you being denied for the request and having to wait additional time (sometimes several years) before you can file again. In addition, getting an expungement lawyer can increase your odds of succeeding and sometimes it’s more affordable than you think. The first step is to click on the button below to confirm that you’re eligible for the expungement/sealing off your record.
Can You Expunge a Felony in Arkansas?
In Arkansas, you cannot completely expunge your record, unless you were a minor when convicted. As a minor, you must also have been convicted of a non-violent felony charge.
Can You Seal Your Criminal Record in Arkansas?
Sealing a record in Arkansas is possible and though it will take some work, this is probably the best thing you can do considering the felony cannot be expunged.
You can acquire the forms to have to record sealed here: http://www.acic.org/forms
CANNOT SEAL IF…
Capital Offense Conviction
• If you were convicted of a capital offense. This includes
• murder in the first degree
• murder in the second degree
• first degree rape
• aggravated robbery kidnapping
• giving controlled substances to minorsHeinous Acts
• If you committed acts like child molestation, prostitution, sexual battery, theft and serious traffic offenses like vehicular homicide or fleeing the scene of an accident, you do not qualify to seal your record.You are a repeat offender
• If you have more than one felony conviction, you are not able to petition to have your record sealed.Previous expungements/seals
• If you have had previous criminal records expunged/sealed, you cannot request another record to be expunged/sealed. There are some exceptions to this- it is best to ask a lawyer if you qualify.Pending arrests
• If you have pending arrests, or an open case, you are not able to petition to have your record sealed.Unpaid Fines
• If you have not paid all fines associated with your criminal record, you cannot move to have it sealed.
How to Seal Your Criminal Record in Arkansas
The procedure to get a criminal record sealed by a court in Arkansas is a complicated process involving several steps:
• Before you begin this process, we insist that you take this eligibility test to determine if you’re eligible to seal your record.
• If you are eligible, you should talk to the lawyer that we refer you to so that you get an idea of the price for their services (it’s likely cheaper than you think because expungements are mostly paperwork) and see what other helpful information they can give you.
• If you are not eligible to seal your record based on our test, then you should stop here.
• If you are eligible to seal your record based on our test and want to do this without a lawyer, continue reading.
• Go to this website: http://www.acic.org/forms or this website: http://www.arlegalservices.org/expungementpacket
• Fill out the petition to seal records in the place where the crime was committed- determine if it is a circuit or district. If you do not have sufficient information about a particular conviction, you should contact the arresting/enforcement agency involved in the case and/or the court where you were convicted.
• You will need to provide details of the offense, the case information and your fulfillment of any requirements of rehabilitation.
• The prosecutor and arresting agency will be given a copy of the form.
• If no one is opposed, the court may grant your petition without a hearing.
• You may need to prepare for a hearing.
• If you go to hearing, the judge will determine if the record should be sealed and sign the order.
• The order will be filed with the clerk of the court.
Can You Apply for a Pardon in Arkansas?
It appears that anyone can apply for a pardon, even if you are currently incarcerated (in prison), on a sentence of death, or life imprisonment.
CANNOT PARDON IF…
Crime committed in another stateIf your crime was committed in another state, you cannot apply for a pardon in Arkansas.
Federal Pardon: you can only apply for a pardon for a state crime in Arkansas. You application for a federal pardon will go to the President of the U.S.
How to Apply for a Pardon in Arkansas
• Before you begin this process, we insist that you take this eligibility test to determine if you’re eligible to request a pardon for your record. In most cases, if you are eligible for expungement on our test, then you’ll be eligible for a pardon.
• If you are eligible, you should talk to the lawyer that we refer you to so that you get an idea of the price for their services (it’s likely cheaper than you think because requesting a pardon is mostly paperwork) and see what other helpful information they can give you.
• If you are not eligible based on our test, then you should stop here.
• If you are eligible based on our test and want to do this without a lawyer, continue reading.
• Submit an application to the Arkansas Parole Board. The Parole Board has a simple, self-explanatory pardon application form for you to fill out. The form can be found on its website at http://www.paroleboard.arkansas.gov/executive-clemency-applications.If you have a difficult time accessing the Parole Board’s website or the form itself, you can call the Parole Board directly at (501) 682-3850 or write to:Arkansas Parole BoardTwo Union National Plaza Bldg.105 W. Capitol Avenue, Suite 500Little Rock, AR 72201-5730
• If you have never filed for a Pardon before:
• You must get a Judgment and Commitment Order
• For a felony charge, you will get the judgement from the Circuit Clerk’s Office
• You must provide your felony Information and/or probable cause affidavit from the clerk
• You must include a narrative incident report from arresting agency (City Police, Sheriff or State Police)
• If your record is sealed, include Order to Seal (get this from court clerk)
• Attach all of this information with your Pardon application
• If you have filed for a Pardon before, all necessary paperwork is still in your file at the Parole Board.
• Fill out the application
• Have the application notarized and return it to the Parole Board at the address below.
• DO NOT resubmit attachments sent before (steps 1 – 4 above). Only submit NEW information to support your file.
• If you have convictions NOT previously requested, you must provide the following information with your Pardon application:
• Include your judgment and commitment order
• Include your information sheet or probable cause affidavit
• Include the narrative incident report from the arresting agency (City Police, Sheriff or State Police)
• You should submit a personal statement explaining why you would like a pardon. Do not simply say that you want a clean criminal record again. Tell the Board how it would benefit you and/or your family—for example, open up more job opportunities for you, help you avoid deportation/separation from your family, help you obtain a professional license, etc.
• When writing your personal statement, keep in mind that the Parole Board/Governor is not retrying you for your crime. Even though you may want to explain the facts of the crime from your point of view, do not try to make excuses for your crime and argue away your guilt.
• The Board and Governor are more interested in seeing that you are sorry for the crime, and that you understand the effects of the crime on the victim and society.
• Include all of the positive things that have occurred in your life since you received your last conviction—for example, educational achievements, new or stable employment, marriage or children, community involvement, charitable services or donations, law-abiding behavior, etc.
• If possible, you should also submit written references or letters from family, friends, church leaders, church members, teachers, employers and/or co-workers who know you and can say good things about you to support you. It is better to choose individuals who are not related to you, to avoid the appearance of bias.
• The letters should tell the Board how the writer knows you and why he or she thinks you are deserving off a pardon.
• The letters would have more credibility if they are notarized (signed in front of a notary public), although this is not required. A notary public can be found in most banks; they usually charge a small fee, depending on whether the person has an account with that bank.
• The writers must indicate their current address and daytime telephone numbers in the letters.
• Submit copies of your college transcript, high school diploma or GED, military certificates, marriage certificate, honors and awards, and other evidence of your rehabilitation. It is a good idea to get these notarized.So, there you have it. Three separate ways to get rid of your record in Arkansas. As we’ve said numerous times throughout this page, this is a really complicated process and we highly recommend that you take this eligibility test prior to taking any action to determine if you are eligible for any of these options.
Please note, the information contained here is not legal advice and is strictly informational. If you have any further questions about the information above, or in general, you need to contact a lawyer directly.