District of Columbia District of Columbia

Below is a general overview of when juvenile records can be vacated or sealed in the District of Columbia. Please note that the Clean Slate Clearinghouse does not provide legal advice.

Read the legal policies and statutes for detailed statutory information.

Juvenile Record Clearance Policies Overview

  • Most juvenile records can be vacated and sealed two years after your discharge. You have to submit a request to the court to start the process, and the judge is required to grant your request if you meet the criteria.
  • Even if you were never charged, there may be police records that can be sealed two years after your release from police custody for that charge. You have to submit a request to the court to start the process, and it is up to the judge whether or not to grant your request.
  • If you can prove that you are actually innocent, you can file a request with the court to seal your record at any time. It is up to the judge whether or not to grant your request.

If you have certain convictions or adjudications on your record, you may not be eligible to have your record vacated or sealed.

Find a Lawyer

If you think you might be eligible to have your record vacated or sealed, find a lawyer who may be able to help you. Some lawyers might help you for free, although you may still need to pay a fee to file the paperwork in court.

Court Forms and Resources

If you cannot find a lawyer to help you, you may be able to file a petition on your own using these court forms and resources.

Explore legal service providers located in the state by proximity to a zip code or county.

Contact information for legal aid organizations, bar associations, and other organizations that engage in record clearance work is provided for informational purposes only. The Clean Slate Clearinghouse does not endorse or recommend any organization or individual referenced on the site. If you are a legal service provider who offers record clearance services, please contact us.

Records relating to eligible misdemeanor or felony convictions may be sealed by the court eight years after sentence completion, or sooner if the prosecutor waives the waiting period, so long as the person does not have a disqualifying arrest or conviction. D.C. Code §§ 16-803(c), (e), 16-801(5)–(9).

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Records relating to a criminal offense that has been decriminalized may be sealed by the court at any time. D.C. Code § 16-803.02.

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Records relating to a conviction that resulted from being a victim of human trafficking can be expunged by the court immediately. D.C. Code § 22-1844.

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Records relating to an incorrectly attributed arrest, when no fingerprints were taken at arrest and no reliable identification was presented by the arrested person, may be sealed by the court. D.C. Code § 16-803(c-2).

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Records relating to an arrest or charge that terminated without conviction may be sealed by the court on the grounds of actual innocence. D.C. Code § 16-802.

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Records relating to certain misdemeanor charges that terminated without conviction may be sealed by the court after two years, or sooner if the prosecutor waives the waiting period, so long as the person does not have a disqualifying arrest or conviction. D.C. Code §§ 16-803(a)(1), (e), 16-801(5)–(9).

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Records relating to charges that terminated without conviction may be sealed by the court five years after sentence completion for a prior misdemeanor, or sooner if the prosecutor waives the waiting period, unless the present case terminated without conviction because of a deferred sentencing agreement. D.C. Code §§ 16-803(a)(2)(A), (b)(2)(A), (e), 16-801(5)–(9).

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Records relating to charges that terminated without conviction may be sealed by the court 10 years after sentence completion for a prior felony, or sooner if the prosecutor waives the waiting period, unless the present case terminated without conviction because of a deferred sentencing agreement. D.C. Code §§ 16-803(a)(2)(B), (b)(2)(B), (e), 16-801(5)–(9).

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Records relating to charges not covered by section 16-803(a) that terminated without conviction may be sealed by the court after four years, or sooner if the prosecutor waives the waiting period, so long as the person does not have a disqualifying arrest or conviction. D.C. Code §§ 16-803(b)(1)(A), (e), 16-801(5).

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Records relating to an arrest not covered by section 16-803(a) that terminated before charging by prosecutors may be sealed by the court after three years, or sooner if the prosecutor waives the waiting period, so long as the person does not have a disqualifying arrest or conviction. D.C. Code §§ 16-803(b)(1)(A), (e), 16-801(5)–(9).

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Records relating to an arrest in the District of Columbia on the basis that the person was a fugitive from justice may be sealed by the court once the person has appeared before an official in the other jurisdiction. D.C. Code § 16-803.01.

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Records relating to an arrest or terminated prosecution for conduct that was a direct result of being a victim of human trafficking can be expunged by the court immediately. D.C. Code § 22-1844.

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Records relating to a delinquency matter where the youth was charged shall be vacated and sealed by the court upon petition, so long as two years have elapsed from final discharge or final entry and the person is not subject to a disqualifying event. D.C. Code § 16-2335(a)(1)(B).

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Records relating to a delinquency matter where the youth was not charged shall be vacated and sealed by the court upon petition, so long as two years have elapsed from final discharge or final entry and the person is not subject to a disqualifying event. D.C. Code § 16-2335(a)(1)(B).

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Records relating to a juvenile arrest or petition that was terminated without adjudication may be sealed by the court at any time upon motion on grounds of actual innocence. D.C. Code § 16-2335.02(a).

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