Petition to Seal Instructions

Updated December 2016   Instructions | PDF


Before Starting

You will need your Judgment and Commitment Order. This legal document gives information about the sentence that you received from the court. If you do not have this document, you can get it by visiting the clerk’s office at the court where you were sentenced and ask for copies. You may be charged a small fee (generally $5) to get copies.

 

It also helps to ask for a background or ACIC check. If you do this, you will have detailed information for what is on your criminal record.

 

The background check will also have:

  • your arrest tracking number
  • the date of your arrest
  • the SID number
  • the FBI number
 

Your arrest tracking number is very important. You need your arrest tracking number to make sure that your Order to Seal is entered correctly in ACIC. ACIC is the Arkansas Crime Information Center. It is the state agency that gives information and technology help to police and other criminal justice agencies in Arkansas.

 

Getting a background check also makes the process of sealing your criminal records easier, because you will have the information that you need to give to the court and the prosecuting attorney. This information is easy to get from the ACIC Website: acic.org. Print the form to request your criminal background from ACIC.

 

Most prosecutors require proof that you have completed the terms of your sentence. You can get proof that you paid your fines from the sheriff’s department. You can get proof that you have finished the terms of your probation from the probation office.

 

Filing

File a uniform Petition to Seal in the Circuit or District Court where you were sentenced. These forms are at the forms tab at acic.org. Use the form that fits your case and prepare the petition and order. Only file the petition.

 

The clerk will charge a $50 filing fee. If you cannot afford the filing fee, you should ask for a filing fee waiver (also known as In Forma Pauperis).

 

Completing Service

You must give a copy of the legal forms that you filed to the prosecuting attorney and arresting agency.

 

After Filing

Anyone who does not want your record to be sealed has to file a notice of opposition and give the reasons that they are opposing within 30 days. If no one disagrees with your attempt to seal your criminal records, then the court may grant your petition. If some-one is against your attempt to seal your criminal records, then the court will set a hearing.

 

For felonies, the court must wait 90 days before a judge can sign off on an order to seal. However, if the prosecutor gives the court a letter of no objection, then you can have your order to seal signed at any time.

 

If your Petition to Seal is granted, the uniform Order to Seal should be filed with the Circuit Clerk. The clerk will send copies to the prosecutor, arresting agency, ACIC, and Administrative Office of the Courts. The Circuit Clerk will put all legal documents of your case in a separate and private area within the clerk’s office.

 

This fact sheet is a collaboration of the Center for Arkansas Legal Services and Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc. These nonprofit organizations provide free legal assistance to eligible Arkansans who meet income, asset, and other guidelines. Legal assistance may also include advice and counsel, brief services, or full representation depending on the situation. For more information about civil legal aid in Arkansas, please visit arlegalservices.org. For information specific to Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc., visit arlegalaid.org. Apply for services online or by calling 1-800-9-LAW-AID (1-800-952-9243).
The information and statements of law in this fact sheet should not be considered legal advice. This fact sheet is provided as a broad guide to help you understand how certain legal matters are handled in general. Courts may interpret the law differently. Before you take action, talk to an attorney and follow his or her advice. Always do what the court tells you to do.
Content provided by: Legal Aid of Arkansas, Inc.

 

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