Federal and State Drug Charge or Conviction Expungement

Since more than 80% of employers perform background checks, having a drug charge on your criminal record can greatly hinder your chances of finding secure employment or desirable housing. Failing to pass the criminal background check may cause your application to be disqualified before it even reaches human resources. Expunging your drug charge or conviction from your criminal record will not only relieve you of having to endure the stigma associated with being convicted of a drug charge, but may also help you pass criminal background checks helping you to find desirable employment and housing.

What is a Drug Charge?

There are many variants of drug offenses; such as: possession with the intent to sell drugs, transportation of a controlled substance, being under the influence of a controlled substance, cultivation of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia - all of which may be eligible for expungement. You may also be eligible to have your drug offense expunged from your criminal record through the successful completion of a drug diversion program or the successful completion of a deferred entry of judgment program. Once your drug charge is expunged, the arrest and case records will not show up on many background checks for employment and housing.

Free Drug Expungement Eligibility Test

If your request for a drug charge expungement is granted, the court clerk and arresting agency will seal your arrest records and files so that the general public cannot view them. Many state repositories, however, such as the California Department of Justice, can still maintain and disseminate the records they hold1. Clearing your record through expungement or sealing, means that the arrest, conviction, and any related proceeding is deemed to have not occurred, except in limited circumstances when you have to disclose your drug offense, particularly for applications of employment as a peace officer or for the US military. Once your drug record is cleared, it may be easier to find desirable housing and steady employment. Most importantly, you will be able to legally say that you no longer have that drug offense on your record.

State Specific Drug Charge Expungement Laws

It is important to remember that each state observes different laws regarding expunging drug offenses from your record. As such, you should review laws and drug expungement policies of your respective state, or consult an experienced attorney who is familiar with the benefits and procedures involved with expunging a drug charge or conviction in the state where your drug offense occurred.

It is also important to keep in mind that state laws and federal laws about drug charges differ. While certain states may be more lenient about drug policies, the federal government holds that any form of drug possession or consumption is illegal and will be tried as such. If, for instance, you have been prescribed medicinal marijuana, which is legal to consume for medicinal purposes in twenty states, then be advised that the federal law does not observe the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. As such, if you are found with marijuana of any kind on federal territory such as state parks, border checkpoints, the post office, and ports of entry, then you will be charged for possession and/or consumption of an illegal drug.

Regardless of individual state laws, federal law takes precedence under "the Supremacy Clause," found under Article VI of the United States Constitution. To expunge a federal drug charge, be sure to hire the assistance of an attorney who specializes in expungements and who has success expunging federal drug cases.

This website is here to help you clear your record and get a fresh lease on life. If you would like to expunge any drug related charges on your record, make sure you read our guide on how to expunge a drug charge.


1 Penal Code 851.90

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