An expungement proceeding is a type of in which a first time offender of a prior conviction seeks that the records of that earlier process be sealed, making the records unavailable through the state or Federal repositories. If successful, the records are said to be “expunged”.
There is a big difference between an expungement and a pardon. When an expungement is granted, the person whose record is expunged may, for most purposes, treat the event as if it never occurred. A pardon (also called “executive clemency”) does not “erase” the event; rather, it constitutes forgiveness. In the United States, a pardon can be granted only by the President of the United States for federal offenses, and the state governor, certain other state executive officers, or the State Board of Pardons and Paroles (varies from state to state) for state offenses.