How Long Does a Felony Stay on Your Record?

How Long Does a Felony Stay on Your Record?


A felony is a more serious crime than a misdemeanor. Given the fact that felonies are often the most severe of crimes such as kidnapping, arson, armed robbery, and rape, all felonies remain on an individual’s record for an indefinite period. The only way that a person can have a felony removed from his record is by getting it expunged.

Given the seriousness of crimes and the impact that they can have on a person’s life, the process of getting a felony on an individual’s record is quite extensive and lengthy. This process includes arraignments, motion hearings, conferences, and a final trial to discuss the fate of the individual.

Misdemeanors vs Felonies

Misdemeanors differ from felonies in the sense that they are stricken off a person’s record after seven years. This seven-year period is to ensure that a person has turned over a new leaf and has put his life back on track. Should the inquiry find anything out of order, the judicial process dictates that even misdemeanors will not be wiped from a record.

Given that criminal proceedings and records are public domain, anyone, including your potential employer, can find your criminal record. However, to give ex-felons who are genuinely trying to put their lives back together a better chance of securing employment, the law dictates that your interviewer can’t ask you about your indiscretions until the final stages of the hiring process.

As mentioned above, the only way of getting rid of a felony is to get it expunged. This means that a person must get in touch with the state and the criminal system to ask them to destroy his criminal record. A surefire way of getting a criminal record expunged is by getting a state governor’s full and unconditional pardon.

States’ Law

Every state in the country has its own laws governing the expungement of criminal records. While misdemeanors and other such minor offenses are more likely to be expunged by the state, serious crimes like felonies aren’t usually eliminated from a person’s record. Some states are more susceptible to expunging now law-abiding citizens provided that they were quite young when they committed the crime and have now completely rehabilitated themselves.

In a nutshell, felonies remain on an ex-convict’s criminal record until they have been expunged. While people with felonies on their record might find it harder to find employment, it doesn’t mean that this task is impossible.