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Will Legally Changing your Name Clear Your Record?

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Will Legally Changing your Name Clear Your Record?

You may wonder if a name change is the solution to that criminal record that is hindering your job search or gun license. But is it really? State laws govern all name changes, regardless of whether the person seeking the change has a criminal record or not. 

A petition for a name change must be filed in a civil court in your place of residence.

Can a convicted felon legally change their name?

While it is possible to be granted a new name even with a criminal record, the public records change process is certainly a more difficult undertaking. At the time of the petition, you must certify to the courts you have no prior criminal record. If you are unable to do so, you may still request a legal name change, however, a thorough background check will be run before an official hearing can be scheduled.

Others can object to your name change.

All parties retain rights to object to your name change, regardless of a felony conviction or not. Anyone opposed to your legal name change can file a written objection or appear at the hearing to argue against you. If an objection is filed, you must provide a response. The judge will hear all objections, then ask you the reason(s) for your name change request.

The judge will then review your criminal record.

At that time, you must certify to the judge that the name change is not a legal loophole for the purpose of evading prosecution or an attempt to defraud in any way. Once all parties are heard, the judge will review all evidence and testimony, either allowing or denying your name change. If you are denied, an appeal can be made.

What does it mean to have aliases on background check?

Your legal name is “Michael”, but everyone knows you as “Mike”; or you may wonder, “Is my maiden name an alias?” Perhaps you use a different name professionally than your maiden name or the one listed on your marriage license. Whatever the case, an alias doesn’t have to be problematic when it comes to background checks. Providing your full legal name, Social Security Number, and disclosing all names used is usually be enough to prevent any issues with your background check.

Does changing your name clear your criminal record?

Whether your name change is centered around a divorce, marriage, or personal reasons, a background check will still show any criminal convictions, civil lawsuits, bankruptcies and job changes regardless of your current name. Any decent employee background check will show your credit and legal history, all of which will still be available to employer’s database checks unless you have been granted an expungement, an official clearing of your record.

This is where contacting an attorney to see about the steps you need to take to remove criminal records from your name would be a wise decision, as expungements of a record (including misdemeanors) are far different than pardons.

Are you eligible for an expungement? Find out now!


Riley W. Mulinix

Written by Riley W. Mulinix

Riley is a member of Mulinix Goerke & Meyer, PLLC, at its Oklahoma City office, but practices all over the State of Oklahoma. He focuses on Expungement & Pardon Advocacy and Criminal Defense, while also effectively assisting clients in Civil Litigation and Business Law matters. He is a member of the Oklahoma Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers & the National College for DUI Defense (NCDD).

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