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Expunging a Criminal Record

Court records and criminal history records are different types of records in two separate systems.

Court records are maintained by the District Courts. The BCI does not have jurisdiction or authority over court records. You will need to contact the clerk of district court in the county in which the conviction occurred for information on whether or not the record of a particular offense may be sealed or expunged (deleted) from the court's file.

NOTE: Even if an individual's record is sealed or expunged by the court, that does not remove the information from the individual's criminal history record.

Criminal history records are maintained by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI). These records consist of information about arrests, criminal charges, dismissals, convictions, sentencing, and parole/probation, as reported by law enforcement, the courts, and other criminal justice entities.

  • Generally, if you plead guilty to, or are found guilty of, a criminal offense, the information cannot be expunged from your criminal history record. For example, a ND conviction will be on your ND Criminal History Record check regardless of how many years have passed.
There is an exception for some arrest records, as outlined by the ND Supreme Court in State v. Howe, 308 N.W.2d 743 (N.D. 1981). This is a determination made by the Court, not the BCI. For legal advice or more information, please contact a private attorney.