Expunging and Sealing Criminal Records in Hawaii


Expunging and Sealing Criminal Records in Hawaii

Having a criminal record can make life real tough. It can be hard to get a job, rent an apartment, or do other normal stuff. But in Hawaii, you may be able to get your record expunged or sealed. This means it won’t show up on background checks no more. Keep reading to learn how it works.

What’s the Difference Between Expunging and Sealing?

With expunging, your criminal record is destroyed. Poof – gone. The charges are completely erased. Sealing keeps the record intact, but hides it from public view. Most background checks won’t see sealed records. Here’s a lil’ table to summarize:

Expunging Sealing
Destroys criminal record Hides criminal record
Charges erased Charges still exist but are hidden
Background checks won’t see it Most background checks won’t see it

Who Qualifies to Get Their Record Expunged or Sealed in Hawaii?

In Hawaii, you can petition to expunge or seal certain criminal convictions. Here’s who qualifies:

  • You were convicted of a misdemeanor or petty misdemeanor as an adult or juvenile
  • It’s your only conviction
  • At least 1 year has passed since you finished probation or parole
  • You have no charges pending

There’s also a special program called Deferred Acceptance of Guilty Plea (DAGP). If you qualify and complete DAGP, your charges can be expunged. This is available for first-time drug offenses.

Some very serious crimes like murder, sex offenses, and repeat DUIs do not qualify for expungement or sealing in Hawaii. Check with a lawyer to see if your specific charges may qualify.

How to Get Your Criminal Record Expunged or Sealed in Hawaii

Getting your record expunged or sealed in Hawaii takes time and effort, but can be done by following these steps:

  1. Get certified copies of your criminal record from the courthouse. You’ll need these.
  2. Fill out the Petition to Expunge or Seal Criminal Records form. Get it notarized.
  3. File the petition at the courthouse and pay the fee (around $100).
  4. Attend your court hearing when scheduled. Explain why your record should be erased.
  5. If approved, the court will issue an order. File this with police and agencies.
  6. Confirm your record is expunged or sealed. Do another background check.

It’s smart to have a criminal defense lawyer help with the process. They know how to fill out the forms and argue your case. The law can be confusing, so having legal advice is real useful.

What Happens When Your Record is Expunged or Sealed in Hawaii?

If your petition is approved, your criminal record will either be destroyed (expunged) or hidden from public view (sealed). This means:

  • Background checks won’t show the convictions anymore
  • You can legally say you don’t have a criminal record
  • Your charges won’t show up if employers, landlords, etc. search your name
  • Your mugshot and arrest records will be removed from public sites

There are a few exceptions. Law enforcement and court agencies can still access sealed records in some cases. And the military may still see expunged records too. But overall, your past mistakes can be put behind you.

Why Expunge or Seal Your Criminal Record in Hawaii?

Getting your record expunged or sealed can make a big difference in moving forward with your life. Here’s some of the benefits:

  • Better chances of getting a job. Many employers do background checks.
  • Easier to find housing. Landlords often check criminal histories.
  • Apply for professional licenses. Many require a clean record.
  • Improved self-esteem. Your past doesn’t define you.
  • Increased privacy. Your mistakes stay in the past where they belong.

Of course, expunging or sealing your record doesn’t delete what happened. But it gives you a real chance to move on without past convictions holding you back. For many folks in Hawaii, it’s an opportunity for a fresh start.