405-778-4800
Criminal Attorney Oklahoma Defense Lawyer Adam R. Banner OKLAHOMA CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY AT LAW
This Attorney is Lead Counsel Rated. Click here for more Information.

Can I get my federal record expunged?

17-Sep-2014

In previous expungement articles, we have dealt only with Oklahoma expungement laws and the sealing of state criminal records. Those who have been arrested, charged, and convicted of federal crimes do not have recourse through state laws, but must seek expungement through the federal courts that handled their cases. 

Unfortunately, for most people asking, "Can I get a federal expungement," the answer is no. In general, federal circuit courts have ruled that the judicial branch of the government--the courts--has no authority to order the sealing and purging of records held by the executive branch, which includes agencies such as the FBI. 

All is not lost, however, if you have a federal criminal record. There are some specific statutes that allow for the expungement of federal records under narrow circumstances. These include the following:

  • A conviction based on unconstitutional law
  • Government misconduct by law enforcement or prosecutors
  • Certain drug offenses committed before the defendant was 21 years of age

The first two options are extremely rare in obtaining expungement. Even if a person was convicted of violating a law that was later ruled unconstitutional, or even if there was prosecutor or police misconduct in obtaining a conviction, the person seeking expungement must prove to the judge that sealing the record is in the interest of justice. If the judge determines that the public interest in maintaining records is greater than the personal privacy rights of the person seeking to have his or her records sealed, the expungement may be denied.

The expungement of youthful federal drug crimes, on the other hand, is somewhat more common. Whereas most states have an overarching expungement law--for example, 22 O.S. § 18 in Oklahoma--the federal government statutes regarding expungement are piecemeal throughout the code. The expungement of certain youthful drug offenses is explained in 18 U.S.C. § 3607.

This statute provides "special probation and expungement procedures for drug possessors." Under this law, first time drug offenders convicted of simple drug possession under 21 U.S.C. § 844 are eligible for probation rather than prison. If such a person was under the age of 21 at the time of the offense, the disposition may be expunged:

If the case against a person found guilty of an offense under section 404 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. § 844) is the subject of a disposition under subsection (a), and the person was less than twenty-one years old at the time of the offense, the court shall enter an expungement order upon the application of such person. The expungement order shall direct that there be expunged from all official records, except the nonpublic records referred to in subsection (b), all references to his arrest for the offense, the institution of criminal proceedings against him, and the results thereof. The effect of the order shall be to restore such person, in the contemplation of the law, to the status he occupied before such arrest or institution of criminal proceedings. A person concerning whom such an order has been entered shall not be held thereafter under any provision of law to be guilty of perjury, false swearing, or making a false statement by reason of his failure to recite or acknowledge such arrests or institution of criminal proceedings, or the results thereof, in response to an inquiry made of him for any purpose. 18 U.S.C. § 3607(C)

Options for federal expungement are limited, but there are some conditions which allow for the expungement of a federal record. Contact an attorney to learn more.



All News

More News

Teen Who Urged Boyfriend to Commit Suicide Convicted of Manslaughter
19-Jun-2017

In July 2014, 18-year-old Conrad Roy III attempted to take his own..

Supreme Court to Decide Whether Warrantless Cell Phone Location Search Violates Fourth Amendment
12-Jun-2017

The United States Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that cou..

Man Sentenced to 4 Years in Stabbing Death of Roommate
09-Jun-2017

A 72-year-old man is ordered to spend four years in prison after s..

Trial Delayed for Second Brother in Broken Arrow Quintuple Murder
29-May-2017

Shortly before midnight on July 22, 2015, police in Broken Arrow r..

Criminal Appeals Court Upholds Death Sentence for Triple-Murderer
26-May-2017

For the second time, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals has af..

Poorly written bill leaves lawsuit loophole; Governor signs anyway
22-May-2017

When drafting legislation, it is imperative that language is clear..

Not Guilty Verdict in Tulsa Police Shooting; Officer's Job Status under Evaluation
19-May-2017

After nine hours of deliberation, a jury returned a verdict o..

Man Exonerated in Rape Case Awarded Compensation
15-May-2017

An Oklahoma man who was exonerated of rape after spending 13 years..

Trial Begins in Tulsa Police Shooting Case
08-May-2017

Jury selection begins today in the manslaughter case of Tulsa poli..

Oklahoma Death Penalty Remains on Hiatus
05-May-2017

It has been almost exactly three years since the botched execution..

×