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How to Get a Felony Off Your Record in North Dakota

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


If you get your record expunged in North Dakota 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 North Dakota 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 North Dakota, 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 North Dakota.

Felony Expungement in North Dakota

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

Sealing a Record in North Dakota

No, it is not possible to seal your record in North Dakota.

Getting a Pardon in North Dakota

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

Unfortunately, adult convictions may not be expunged in the state of North Dakota.

Can You Seal Your Criminal Record in North Dakota?

Only some criminal records may be sealed in North Dakota. Unfortunately, you may not seal felony records in North Dakota.

Can You Apply for a Pardon in North Dakota?

The Constitution of North Dakota gives the Governor the power to “grant reprieves, commutations, and pardons.” There is a body called the Pardon Advisory Board whose duty is to receive, investigate, and make recommendations to the Governor on pardon applications. There are no application fees to apply for a pardon in North Dakota.


Pre-conviction: You cannot receive a pardon if you are still being tried for the offense, or if the charges against you were dismissed. Out-of-state conviction. The Governor can only grant you a pardon for a North Dakota State conviction.

How to Apply for a Pardon in North Dakota

There is a specific process to follow to apply for a pardon in North Dakota. If you want your pardon application to be considered at the Board’s next meeting, the Board must receive it at least ninety days before the meeting. The Board’s meeting dates change every year. You should call the Board to find out what the meeting dates are for that particular year.
• 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.
• At the time of this writing, the Board has not made its application form available for you to access on the Internet. You can contact the Board directly at 701-328-6193 to have an application form mailed or possibly emailed to you. You can also write to the Board at:Clerk, Pardon Advisory Board,Division of Adult ServicesP.O. Box 5521,Bismark, ND.If you dig deep enough, you may be able to find a sample North Dakota pardon/clemency application form on the Internet that other individuals or entities have placed there. If you find such forms, you should only use it as a preview. We highly suggest that you contact the Board in order to receive the office and most updated form; using an unofficial, outdated form can cause your application to be rejected. Steps to apply for a pardon in North Dakota:

Step 1. Fill out the form. The form will ask you for basic information such as your name, address, telephone number, date of birth, Social Security number, financial situation, employment history, and the type of clemency you are asking for (pardon, commutation of sentence, reprieve, remission of fines, etc.), among other things.

Step 2. You will also be asked for information about all of your arrests, charges, and convictions. You will need to know the date, location, name of the offense, and the final disposition for each case. If you are missing information on any particular arrest or conviction, you should contact the law enforcement agency involved in that particular case and/or the court where you were charged or convicted.
• If you do not remember all of your arrests, charges, and convictions, you may need to obtain criminal history report for yourself.

Step 3. There is a section on the application form that will ask you why you asking for a pardon.
• This is perhaps the most important part of the application.
• We suggest that you submit, on a separate sheet of paper, a detailed and genuine personal statement.
• In your personal statement, tell the Board/Governor how your conviction has negatively affected you and/or your family.
• For example, explain how you have been denied housing or employment opportunities because of your conviction, and how this has prevented you from providing your family and you an adequate standard of living.
• Submit any proof you may have (such a denial letters) to support your claims.
• If you are facing deportation because of a conviction, explain how being separated from your family will negatively affect you as well as them.
• If you are pursuing a career in a field that requires you to obtain a pardon, submit documents, letters, or other proof from a prospective employer, licensing agency, or attorney verifying this necessity.
• If you need to regain your gun rights, explain why you need this—for example, you are pursuing a career that requires the use of firearms, or you want to take part in your family hunting traditions, or you simply want to feel more secure and able to defend yourself and/or your family after a recent traumatic event.
• Also indicate on your personal statement all the positive things that have occurred in your life—for example, educational achievements, new or stable employment, marriage and children, community involvement, charitable services or donations, law-abiding behavior, etc.
• Submit copies of your college transcript, high school diploma or GED, military certificates, marriage certificate, honors and awards, and other proof of your rehabilitation and good character.
• Explain what your future plans are and how a pardon would help or hinder those plans.

Step 4. We also suggest that you submit a few letters of recommendation from credible people (such as your boss) who know you well and can say good things about you.
• These letters should indicate to what extent the writer knows you and why he or she thinks you should be granted a pardon.
• The letters should also indicate the writer’s contact information for verification purposes.
• If possible, you should choose individuals who are not related to you, in order to avoid the appearance of bias.

Step 5. After the Board receives your application, it will notify the district court and the State’s attorney in the county or counties where you were convicted.
• Those individuals are then given an opportunity to make any statements/recommendations to the Board and/or the Governor regarding your application.
• They may provide any information they know about you to the Board and/or Governor—such as the facts and circumstances surrounding your offense; your habits, associations, and reputation in the community; the reasons for why you were sentenced the way you were; and practically any other fact that may indicate whether you are capable of becoming a law-abiding citizen.
• You should be upfront and cooperative with the Board, the Governor’s office, and their agents at all times.

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