Expungement vs Record Sealing?

These terms have different meanings. Expungement typically means that a criminal record is destroyed, while a sealed record still exists and can be viewed by law enforcement and some employers. 

Are expungement and record-sealing laws the same throughout the U.S.?

NO. Expungement, record sealing, set-asides, and other post–conviction relief policies are VERY different state to state, sometimes even county by county. You should check the status of your state’s record clearance law at the Collateral Consequences Resource Center website.

In general, what types of offenses are eligible for expungement or sealing?

Typically, some misdemeanors and low-level felonies are eligible for relief, but there are many exceptions. Consult the Collateral Consequences Resource Center website to find out what may be eligible for relief in your state.

Can I have my record expunged or sealed if I am currently awaiting sentencing or serving time in prison or jail?
Generally speaking, no. You should check the status of your state’s record clearance law at the Collateral Consequences Resource Center website

I don’t know where to start, do you have any suggestions or someone I can talk to?

If you need help figuring out where to start the record clearing process, please fill out this form and our team will reach out to support with next steps and resources.


What is N.E.W.?

N.E.W. offers relief services year round with a week of awareness, clinics and conversations across the country during September 19-26, 2020 to help as many of the 77 million Americans with convictions on their records These convictions can restrict access to housing, employment, education, public assistance, and voting rights long after sentences have been served.  

When and Where?

While N.E.W. operates year round providing resources across the country, N.E.W.’s 2020 awareness week will take place from September 19 - 26, with over 40 events in over 30 cities across the United States.

Who’s sponsoring N.E.W. ‘19?

N.E.W. is made possible by Presenting Sponsors Canopy Growth Corporation, dozens of local sponsors and partners, and the tireless work of community-based organizations dedicated to repairing harms of the War on Drugs. 

How long has N.E.W. been around?

The first N.E.W. was organized from October 20-27, 2018, with participating events in 15 cities across the country.

Can I just show up to a N.E.W. clinic to get my record expunged/sealed?  Do I need to bring documentation? If so, what kind?

Record clearance laws and policies differ greatly, state by state - sometimes even county by county. It’s important to consult the information on the flyer for the N.E.W. event near you to determine what kind of legal relief may be available, whether you need to pre-register for the event, and what documents (LiveScan, photo ID, etc.) you may need to bring to the clinic itself.

Are N.E.W. events only about expunging/sealing records?

N.E.W. events offer many wraparound services to restore people’s rights and lift up communities, including employment resources, voter registration, and health screenings. 

Is N.E.W. cannabis-specific?

No, anyone in need of expungement or record-sealing processing, education, or other supporting services is welcome at N.E.W. events.

Has N.E.W actually helped anyone clear their record?

So far N.E.W., is credited with leading 298 people to record clearing and sealing - resulting in a public benefit of over $3 million. One such person is Mauro Melgar, who applied for and received an expungement through a California N.E.W. event in 2018.  He talks about his experience here.  Besides legal relief, over 400 people also received related social services.

Is N.E.W. the only time that I can get my record expunged/sealed?

No. N.E.W. events have inspired teams of attorneys, organizers, and activists nationwide to continue to increase expungement opportunities whenever and wherever possible. To that end, the N.E.W. website provides a link to an online toolkit so communities can organize such events beyond the scope of the week.

Besides expungement and record sealing clinics, what else is happening during N.E.W. 19?

N.E.W.'s awareness week launches September 19, 2020 with partnerships that include Code for America and National Voter Registration Day which help us advocate for and provide pathways to relief in our communities, including access to automated expungement nationally.