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Federal Expungements and Pardons

Walnut Creek, California Expungement Lawyer

An expungement is generally not available in federal cases. There is one narrow exception to this principal. Minor federal drug offenses can be expunged under 18 U.S.C. 3607(c). If a person is found guilty of an offense under section 404 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 844) or an offense described in that section, he may be able to have his record expunged. This Act applies to simple possession of controlled substances. If a person was under 21 at the time of a conviction for simple possession and does not have a prior conviction for a drug offense, he may be eligible to have his record expunged.

An alternative to expungement is a request for presidential pardon or executive clemency. One may petition the president for a pardon in a federal case. This is generally only an option for those individuals who have completed their sentences, taken responsibility for their actions, and are now productive members of society. A pardon does not provide for the expungement of a federal criminal record, but may return some of the rights lost accompanying a federal criminal conviction.

Representative Charles Rangel, however, has submitted a bill to allow for expungement in certain cases of non-violent offenders. H.R. 623, the Second Chance for Ex-Offenders Act was submitted on January 22, 2007, and is still pending in the House. Under this Act, one would be able to petition for expungement in federal court if the following circumstances apply:

The individual has

(1) never been convicted of a violent offense and has never been convicted of a nonviolent offense other than the one for which expungement is sought;

(2) fulfilled all requirements of the sentence of the court in which conviction was obtained;

(3) remained free from dependency on or abuse of alcohol or a controlled substance for a minimum of one year and has been rehabilitated, to the court's satisfaction, if so required by the terms of supervised release;

(4) obtained a high school diploma or completed a high school equivalency program; and (5) completed at least one year of community service.

If the individual meets all of the eligibility elements, the court would then weigh the petitioner's interests against the interests of justice and public safety.

DID YOU KNOW? Not all convictions are eligible for expungement. The availability of expungement depends upon the type of charges, the jurisdiction, the sentence imposed (if any) and a variety of other factors. Contact Us NOW for a fast and reliable way to find out if your criminal record qualifies for expungement?


“The death penalty is a lie, a misguided mistake born of anger and frustration. Capital punishment has become a perverse monument to inequality, to how some lives matter and others do not. It is a violent example of how we protect and value the rich and abandon and devalue the poor. The death penalty is a grim, disturbing shadow formed by the legacy of racial apartheid and bias against the poor that condemns the disfavored among us, but corrupts us all. It’s the perverse symbol elected officials use to strengthen their ‘tough on crime’ reputations and distract us from confronting the causes of violence. It is finally the enemy of grace, redemption and all of us who recognize that each person is more than their worse act.”
- Bryan Stevenson