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How to Get a Felony Off Your Record in Hawaii

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A felony has a big impact on a person’s life and if you live in Hawaii, 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 Hawaii offers, let’s review what each of these options actually mean.


If you get your record expunged in Hawaii 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”.

Record Sealing

Sealing your record in Hawaii 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 Hawaii, 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 Georgia.

Felony Expungement in Hawaii

No, it is not possible to expunge your felony in Hawaii.

Sealing a Record in Hawaii

Yes, it is possible to seal your record in Hawaii but it depends on the felony.

Getting a Pardon in Hawaii

Yes, it is possible to get a pardon off your record in Hawaii 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 Hawaii?

In Hawaii, you cannot get your conviction record completely expunged, however, you can apply to get your record sealed in certain circumstances. See how to seal your criminal record in Hawaii for more information.

Can You Seal Your Criminal Record in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, to seal your criminal record is called expunging it, even though it does not follow the traditional definition of expungement. Instead, your record is placed in a confidential file, and it’s not available to the general public, but it may still be accessed by law enforcement, or by the state or county government in the furtherance of their duties.


If you were convicted of a class C felony in the state of Hawaii, you are eligible to petition the court for expungement of your criminal records. Otherwise, if you were arrested, but not convicted, you eligibility for expungement is greater.Bail ForfeitureIf you have not received a conviction because you did not show up for your arraignment/court hearing, when you bail would have been set Jurisdictionally Absent. If you have not received a conviction because you made yourself absent from the jurisdictionClass A or B Felonies, If you were convicted of class A or B felonies, you are not eligible to expunge/seal your recordOne year after deferred acceptance. If it has been less than year after your case is dismissed because of deferred acceptance of a plea bargain, you may not get that cleared from your backgroundInsanity or Mental Incapacity. If you were acquitted due to insanity or mental incapacity, you cannot have your record expunged/sealed

How to Seal Your Criminal Record in Hawaii

There is a specific process you have to follow in Hawaii to have your record sealed; there is a $35 fee for a First-Time Expungement, and $50 for a Non-First Time Expungement. An expungement can take up to 120 days, not including the process you will take to submit the form.
• 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.
• You will need to fill out this form & submit documents.
• If you are submitting an expungement form for either Driving Under the Influence, Under the Age of Twenty-One conviction, or First-Time Drug Related conviction, you will have to obtain a copy of your court documents
• For copies of your court documents, you may contact the Judiciary Communication & Community Relations Office at (808) 539-4909, or visit their website at http://www.courts.state.hi.us.
• You may want to send in your expungement form by certified mail, which can be tracked by the U.S. Postal Service or any other mail delivery service that can be tracked.
• You will receive a certificate when the expungement is completed. Until that time, the qualifying arrests will remain on your criminal record.  If your charges do not qualify for expungement, the fee you pay includes a $10.00 non-refundable administrative fee that will not be returned even if it is found that your charge does not qualify. Your Expungement form and the remainder of the fee will be returned to you.

Can You Apply for a Pardon in Hawaii?

The pardon power in Hawaii is with the Governor. The Legislature of Hawaii can create laws specifying the manner and procedures for applying for a pardon.


Federal ConvictionIf you want a pardon for a federal conviction you must do that through the United States Department of Justice, Office of the Pardon Attorney.Out-of-State Conviction: If you want a pardon for an out-of-state conviction, you should find the appropriate state webpage dealing with pardons in that particular state.

How to Apply for a Pardon in Hawaii

There are no fees to apply for a pardon in Hawaii. The Legislature has not created any detailed rules or procedures with respect to pardon applications. Therefore, as we write this, applying for a pardon is still quite an informal process in Hawaii. The entire process, from the moment it is filed to the time it reaches the Governor’s desk, takes about 8 months. However, depending on the Governor’s schedule, you might not know the final results until many more months after that.
• 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.
• You can find a pardon application form on the website of the Hawaii Department of Public Safety. If you cannot access the Department of Public Safety’s website or the application form itself, you can call the Hawaii Paroling Authority directly at 808-587-1293.You can also write to:Hawaii Paroling AuthorityAttention: Paroles and Pardons Administrator1177 Alakea Street, Ground FloorHonolulu, HI 96813
• Fill out all basic information such as your name, date of birth, place of birth, social security number, names of parents and siblings, education history, marital status, information about your children, and employment history, among other things.
• You will be asked to list information about every Hawaii conviction you would like a pardon for. You will need to know the name of the crime, the date you were convicted, the date you were sentenced, the court where you were convicted for that crime, and the disposition (outcome) of the case.
• If you do not have sufficient information about any particular conviction, you should contact the clerk’s office of the court where you were convicted.
• If you do not remember the details or whereabouts of a particular conviction, you can contact the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center (which is the criminal history record repository for Hawaii) to obtain your criminal record; this way, you can identify the county and court where you received the conviction.
• If you need to identify convictions you received in other states, and you do not remember the details or whereabouts of those, you should contact the FBI to obtain a more comprehensive, nationwide criminal report. You can call the FBI’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., at (202) 324-3000, or logging onto its website at http://www.fbi.gov. The FBI’s website also has a list of local FBI offices you can call.
• In the alternative, you can contact the criminal history record repository (which keeps a record of all criminal activity in a state) in each state where you have arrests/convictions. Listed on Criminal History Record Repositories is a list of criminal history record repositories for all 50 states.
• There will be a section on the application that asks you to list the reasons why you would like a pardon.You need to give this section a lot of care and thought.
• To complete this section, we suggest that you submit, on a separate sheet of paper, a detailed and genuine “personal statement” explaining your need for a pardon. The Governor does not want to read that you simply want to “forget about your past” or “clean up your criminal record.” Rather, you need to document compelling reasons.
• An example of might be you that have not been able to find housing or jobs because of your conviction, and this has prevented you from providing a decent standard of living for yourself and your family.
• Another example might be you have been prevented from obtaining certain trade or occupational licenses, obtaining a gun permit and being able to enter certain professions because of your of your inability to obtain a gun permit, and this has prevented you from adequately providing for yourself and your family.
• Still yet another example might be you are facing deportation for a minor offense you committed years ago, and you need a pardon in order to avoid being separated from your spouse and children. Whatever your compelling reasons are, submit any proof you may have (e.g., letters from employers, landlords, etc.) to substantiate your claims.
• Add to your personal statement
• Your personal statement should be detailed, honest, and grammatically well written.
• Simply saying “I want to have a clean record” is not enough.
• Keep in mind that the Board/Governor will not be retrying you for the offense. Although you may want to explain the facts and circumstances of the crime from your perspective, avoid trying to make excuses for your crime and arguing away your guilt.
• Whatever you feel about the crime, you had already been found guilty. The Board/Governor is probably more interested in seeing your remorse for the crime, and your understanding of its effects on the victim and society, than anything else.
• In your personal statement you should detail all the positive things that have occurred in your life, like educational achievements, a new or steady job,, marriage and children, community involvement, charitable donations, awards and recognitions, etc.
• Send copies of your college transcripts, high school diploma or GED, marriage certificate, children’s birth certificates, military certificates, awards and recognitions, and other documents that show your rehabilitation and positive character.
• In addition to your application, you will be required to submit at least 2 “character affidavits” from people who know you.
• The character affidavit forms are included at the end of the application form for you to use, and these must be sent along with your application.
• You should have 2 credible individuals who know you well prepare these forms for you(preferably over a long period of time and non-related).
• A teacher, employer, or church leader is more credible than your 16-year-old sister or friend from high school. Although you are only required to submit 2 character affidavits, it may not hurt if you can submit a few more.
• The character affidavits must be notarized, which means they must be signed in front of a notary public.
• You can find a notary public in most banks. They typically charge a small fee, but might not charge anything if the person has an account with that particular bank.
• You should probably offer to pay for the notary public fee for the individuals who do character affidavits for you (just be careful to not give off the appearance that you are “buying” their support).
• Your application itself must also be notarized. After you have done that, make a copy of everything for your records, and then mail everything to:Hawaii Paroling AuthorityAttention: Paroles and Pardons Administrator1177 Alakea Street, Ground FloorHonolulu, HI 96813

• After the Attorney General has had a chance to review your application, your application will finally go to the Governor, who has the final say on whether or not you receive a pardon.
• This may include a personal, face-to-face interview with you by a parole officer.
• The individuals who write character affidavits for you may also be contacted to verify the information in their affidavits.
• You should be upfront and cooperative with the decision makers and their agents at all times during the application process.
• After the Hawaii Paroling Authority receives your application, it will conduct a formal investigation.
• After the Paroling Authority has made a recommendation (for or against your receiving a pardon), your application will be sent over to the Attorney General’s office where there will be a second round of investigations, after which they will prepare a confidential summary and make their own recommendation.

So, there you have it.  Three separate ways to get rid of your record in Hawaii.  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.

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