How to Use This Website
Step One: Start at our home page at http://www.papillonfoundation.org
Step Two: Go to our lists of states and territories at http://www.papillonfoundation.org/criminal-record-resources/
Step Three: Scroll down the page to the state or territory where your criminal record was created.
If you have cases in multiple states, you may need to visit several of our state-specific web pages. Each of them contains numerous guides, forms, instructions and packets, all of which are available on-line and for free. They also have direct links to the state agency responsible for issuing official rap sheets, together with instructions on the costs and procedures.
In some cases, links to the local Court Clerk’s office are available and you can contact them directly about local rules, procedures and fees which may be unique in that particular county. Some Court Clerk’s post step-by-step instructions and expungement “packets” with all of the necessary forms, so if those are available follow them carefully. This a step-by-step legal process which requires careful attention to the smallest of details, but there are usually multiple free information sources available with check-lists and, in some cases, free instructional videos. If you know of one which we do not link to, please send us the link at email@example.com and we will post a link to it on our website.
Step Four: Determine if you are eligible.
Click on the guides, forms and instructions that are relevant to your situation in order to determine if you qualify for record sealing, expungement, pardon or other post-conviction relief. For example, were you arrested only and not convicted? Was any part of your criminal record created when you were a juvenile? Have you fully satisfied all fines, penalties and restitution orders? Are there any outstanding warrants or holds? Has a sufficient amount of time passed?
Legal requirements differ from one jurisdiction to the next, so you may need to go back and forth to several guides before you find one that deals with your specific situation in the specific county where your criminal record was created.
Be sure to have your up-to-date paperwork nearby as specific dates from arrest through final disposition and your exact charges must be known in order to determine eligibility. You will also need to know your exact case number(s) in order to complete your paperwork.
We are working on a way to automate this procedure and hope to have it on-line in the near future, but in the meantime these are the best on-line free public resources we have been able to find. If you know of any others, please let us know by copying the link and sending it to us in a reply e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to help us financially, you can always donate to support our cause.
Step Five: Start working through the checklists and court forms.
Once you have determined your eligibility using the on-line guides, go to the “County Specific” heading on the web page and see if your particular county has forms and instructions available for your particular situation. If so, click on the entry and proceed with reading the instructions and filling-out the necessary forms.
If you get stuck on one question, do not stop. Just skip it and go to the next question. Answer all of the easy questions first and then go back and tackle the difficult ones afterwords.
If there are no “County Specific” forms for your situation, use the “Statewide” forms and instructions. If you qualify for a pardon, certificate of rehabilitation, executive clemency, or other post-conviction relief available in your state, go to those forms and instructions. You may also be covered by “Ban the Box” laws in your area.
We are developing a way to automate this procedure for on-line document preparation in the near future. As we receive charitable donations from individuals like you, we move closer to that goal.
Step Six: Contact local resources.
If you are still having problems, go to the heading “Free Resources” at the bottom of the page and locate a legal aid or pro bono legal provider in your area who can help you. Click on the entry and go to their website to determine eligibility and services available.
You can also go to our Facebook page, go to our “Likes” and find a local agency that might be able to help you. We are connected to hundreds of local groups providing free expungement and record sealing help.
If you know of any support organizations which should be listed on our web site, please send the link to us at email@example.com.
Step Seven: If you are still having problems, send us a reply to this e-mail explaining the problem in as much detail as possible and we will try our best to help you. You will need to attach a PDF copy of your most recent official rap sheet to your reply e-mail. If you do not have a current rap sheet, follow this link to find the official state agency which issues them: http://www.reentry.net/library/attachment.220366
Thank you and best of luck in reaching your goals. We would like to hear back from you when you are done to let us know if your efforts were successful and what obstacles you needed to overcome.