How Long Does a Felony Stay on Record

Records related to criminal activity, such as a felony conviction, are maintained by the court system. The length of time that a felony will remain on record depends on various factors, including the area in which one lives as well as any special laws or ordinances associated with the crime.

Furthermore, certain states have different rules and regulations that govern these types of records. As a result, an individual may have felonies on their record for an extended period of time after they have served their sentences.

Felonies generally remain on an individual’s criminal record indefinitely; however, there are some procedures available to help expunge them from the record. In some states it may be possible to file for expungement to remove felonies from one’s record once enough time has passed since the conviction occurred.

Although this process typically depends on state law and can take months or even years depending on the situation, it can help individuals clean up their records and get back on track with their lives.

Definition of Felony

A felony is the most serious type of crime that can be committed and is punishable by a year or more of imprisonment, and sometimes also by a hefty fine or both. Felonies include murder, manslaughter, larceny, assault, aggravated burglary, rape, and kidnapping. Other offenses classified as felonies may include major white-collar crimes such as bank fraud and money laundering.

Depending on the classification of the offense and the applicable state laws in the place where the offense is committed, a felony may remain on a person’s record for several years after sentencing or for life. The length of time that a felony stays on record varies from state to state and may depend upon the severity of the crime for which someone has been convicted.

Generally speaking, most states require felons to wait at least five to seven years before petitioning to have their records expunged or sealed from public view. It is important to note that law enforcement agencies may always access past criminal records regardless of any legal attempts to have them removed from public view.

Types of Felonies

Felonies are the most serious type of criminal offense and can be punishable by incarceration, fines, or both. In the United States, they are classified as Class A, B, C, or D felonies depending on their severity.

Felonies range from homicide to minor non-violent offenses such as shoplifting or a drug possession charge. When someone is convicted of a felony, the crime remains on their criminal record for an indefinite amount of time.

There are various types of felonies that come with varied punishments and different lengths of time that the conviction stays on a person’s record. In some cases, convicted felons may be able to have their records expunged or sealed in order to protect their employment opportunities and prevent employers from discriminating against them based on past convictions:

– Class A Felony: This kind of felony is considered one of the most serious offenses and carries a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole (in some cases). Usually, this type of felony will take up to 25 years before it can be removed from the criminal record but this varies by jurisdiction.

– Class B Felony: This type carries less severe punishment than class A; however it still can include jail time of up to 10 years while staying on a person’s criminal record for up to 15 years.

– Class C Felony: These convictions generally carry lighter penalties than class B– usually no more than five years in prison — but may remain on one’s record close to 10 years after conviction.

– Class D Felony: Also known as “wobblers” in some states (depending upon one’s criminal history), these low-level felonies have lighter sentences than classes A–C but may remain on someone’s record for up to 5–7 years after conviction.

How Long Does a Felony Stay on Record

When someone is convicted of a felony, the conviction stays on record and can follow them for the rest of their life. Depending on the type of felony and the laws of the state the person resides in, a felony can stay on record for different lengths of time.

In this article, we will discuss the different lengths of time for which a felony can stay on record.

Federal Felonies

Federal felonies are criminal offenses that involve violating federal law. Serious crimes, such as murder or drug trafficking, may be considered felonies under federal law. Depending on the severity of the crime, a conviction can lead to long prison sentences and/or hefty fines.

Federal felonies also remain on a person’s criminal record for life, causing potential difficulties with employment and credit worthiness.

For most states in the U.S., a felony conviction has serious consequences for your rights and privileges as an American citizen. Most people with felony convictions suffer from various disadvantages such as:

-Inability to vote in national elections
-Inability to own firearms or ammunition
-Ineligibility for certain professional licenses or memberships
-Limitations on public housing assistance
-Limitations for student loans & grants

Federal felony convictions typically remain on your record permanently and can impact your life even years after the completion of the sentence. In many states, there are avenues to seal or expunge misdemeanor convictions as well as some state felonies from submission record background checks; however, these are not available in most cases on federal convictions.

Since these records are routinely searched even when you apply for employment, they often affect your ability to get jobs or other forms of purposeful employment because theft is considered dishonorable in most cases.

Additionally, if you have been previously convicted of a felony crime, you may be denied access to government benefits such as housing programs or student financial aid; security clearance; military enlistment; jury service; and firearm ownership or carrying weapons charges.

State Felonies

When an individual is convicted of a felony in the United States, there are several factors that influence how long it will remain on their record. The length of time typically depends on local or state criminal laws, though different countries may have different regulations.

In the United States, state felonies generally stay on an individual’s record indefinitely. Generally speaking, felony convictions remain public records and available in criminal background checks for the remainder of an individual’s life unless they are expunged or sealed by a court.

In some states, felonies remain accessible for 7 to 10 years after an individual has completed their sentence. Other states require courts to retain records from adult convictions forever.

These laws vary from state to state, so it is important to check with your local or state government for more information about specific regulations. For example, in some instances, minors may have their records expunged after a certain amount of time if they demonstrate good behavior.

However, it’s important to note that even when a court order seals or expunges a record from the public view, law enforcement officers and other officials authorized under the law may still have access to it when conducting investigations.

Furthermore, many employers who conduct criminal background checks consider any felony conviction – no matter how long ago – sufficient cause not to hire someone due to fear of liability risks associated with such criminal records being kept open so long after they actually occurred as well as potential moral turpitude issues related to that.


Expungement is the legal process through which a criminal record can be cleared. In other words, if granted expungement, an individual’s criminal record will no longer appear on background checks conducted for employment or volunteering opportunities.

Expungement does not mean that the conviction is erased, instead, it allows individuals who have been convicted of felonies or misdemeanors to clear their criminal records and start fresh.

Felony convictions can remain on record for life unless they are expunged or sealed. Expungement allows a person who has committed a felony to return to society without having the stigma of a criminal record hanging over them forever.

If a felony is expunged, it means that the individual’s conviction will not show up on most background checks done by employers and on some background checks done by landlords and banking institutions. Felony expungement also means that an individual can typically answer “no” when asked if he has ever been convicted of a crime in job interviews or application forms.

When deciding whether to grant an expungement request, state law will determine the criteria that must be met in order for someone’s record to qualify for expungement.

To file for expungement in most states, individuals must first apply for a Certificate Of Eligibility (COE) to prove they satisfy the legal requirements needed to have their criminal record cleared through state laws such as length of time since the last arrest, resolution of any fines or restitution ordered as part of sentencing, successful completion of rehab programs, etc.

The specific criteria vary from state to state but generally speaking those felony convictions deemed non-violent with little chance at recidivism are good candidates for getting eligibility granted for an expungement request before submitting petition paperwork with their local court(s).

Once petition paperwork has been submitted and approved then individuals must fill out additional forms in accordance with their state’s laws in order to proceed with final approval from their state judiciary system allowing their legal freedom to move forward unencumbered due to past transgressions – legally considered no longer existent under law.


The length of time a felony stays on your record depends on the type and severity of the crime committed and your state’s laws. It can range from only a few years to a lifetime listing.

Suppose you have been convicted of a felony. In that case, it is important to understand the effects of that conviction and take steps to resolve any lingering issues in order to have it removed from your record as soon as possible.

The repercussions of having a felony on your record can negatively impact various aspects of your life, including job opportunities, housing prospects, and more. Every state has its own rules about how long felonies stay on your record, so it’s important to research those rules and speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney if you have any questions or concerns.

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