Can I Become a Police Officer With an Expunged Felony?

An expunged felony may prevent you from becoming a police officer.

Among other basic requirements for becoming a police officer, most departments have very specific rules about hiring applicants with criminal convictions. If you have expunged a felony conviction, you may still have to reveal the conviction on an application to become a police officer.

1 Police Officer Qualifications

Police officer qualifications differ from one department to the next. In most cases, however, you may not apply to become a police officer if you have a felony conviction on your record.

2 Expungement

The definition of expungement also differs from state to state. Expungement is generally considered to be more complete than sealing your record. In some states expungement means the records are physically destroyed whereas in others the records are simply made unavailable. In most cases, you do not have to admit the existence of an expunged conviction.

3 Exceptions to Expunged Records

Even in states where expungement is allowed and you are not required to admit the records exist, there may be an exception for law enforcement. In this case, a law enforcement agency may be able to access otherwise unattainable records. For instance, in Minnesota otherwise expunged records may be viewed by law enforcement agencies to determine the eligibility of a prospective employee. You will need to read the expungement statutes in the state where your record was expunged to determine whether or not you can deny the existence of the conviction on a police officer application.

Renee Booker has been writing professionally since 2009 and was a practicing attorney for almost 10 years. She has had work published on Gadling, AOL's travel site. Booker holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Ohio State University and a Juris Doctorate from Indiana University School of Law.