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Criminal Record Expungement - Israel

Criminal Record registered by the Israel Police against an individual may impede ones’ ability to achieve his personal goals in various fields, including employment, immigration proceedings, issuance of a license to concealed carry a firearm, adoption proceedings and more.  


Both Israeli citizens and foreign nationals over the age of 12 are able to request from the Israel Police a certificate about their criminal information. In most cases the service is free of charge, unless an apostille stamp is required. Requests by means of the Police website is for Israeli citizens only. Alternatively, Israeli citizens and foreign nationals may apply for their criminal records by physically arriving at an Israeli consulate and present a valid passport as a mean of identification in order to process their request.


Under the applicable Israeli law that was enacted in 1981, two time periods were established: the ‘Obsolescence’ and the ‘Deletion’ periods, which limit the length of time in which criminal record held by the Israel Police will be accessible. In Fact, the law determines which organizations are allowed to request access to an individuals’ criminal record, the time periods during which they may gain the access, as well as the purpose towards which these organizations may use their access to ones’ criminal record. The law specifies that when the ‘Obsolescence’ period expires, followed by the ‘Deletion’ period, the number of organizations that is allowed to gain access to an individual’s criminal record is reduced, and therefore the negative implications of the criminal record on the individuals’ life lessen. 


Excluding a few limited exceptions, with regards to convicts who were adults at the time the crimes were committed, the conviction’s ‘Obsolescence’ period starts at the later of the date of sentencing or upon release from incarceration and lasts seven years. The ‘Deletion’ period starts immediately after the ‘Obsolescence’ period and lasts ten years, when it comes to convicts who were adults when committing the subject crimes. Moreover, if the individual is convicted in additional crimes during these periods, then the aforementioned periods will restart again with regards to all convictions. On the other hand, shortened ‘Obsolescence’ & ‘Deletion’ periods will apply to those who were minors when committing the subject crimes, or in cases recognized by the Israeli law where the court finds the accused guilty and punishes him, but avoids a formal conviction, usually due to mitigating circumstances.


With regard to convictions in military courts, an update to the Israel military code of law from 2011 was enacted with the intent to limit the negative implications of the criminal record on soldiers who were convicted in military tribunals. A shortened criminal record time period of five years was established in certain circumstances, creating a somewhat similar results to civil courts, when the latter finds the accused guilty but avoids a formal conviction.


It should be noted that in early 2021, a new Israeli law who transforms the way criminal record periods are calculated is scheduled to take effect. The law will reform the ‘Obsolescence’ & ‘Deletion’ periods, which will be calculated according to the circumstances surrounding the conviction, including whether a prison sentence was imposed, the length of the incarceration imposed and whether it is the convict’s first offense.


The Israeli President has the authority to shorten the ‘Obsolescence’ & ‘Deletion’ periods established by law, by means of pardoning the individual carrying the record. This power held by the Israeli president is used only in exceptional circumstances. Despite the fact that the president’s power to pardon is broad, it is not unfettered; some pardon requests are outside the scope of his authority, including request to erase records of pending criminal cases that are yet to be adjudicated or closed, as well as requests to erase internal police records about cases that were closed after investigation due to no fault or lack of evidence. In addition, according to the policy established by the president, a pardon request will not be considered and a presidential pardon will not be granted until all legal proceedings in the subject manner of the request have ended and all appeals have been exhausted. However, despite the common misconception, the same individual may be pardoned more than once during his lifetime.   


With regard to pardon requests to expunge criminal record following convictions in civil courts, prior to making a decision, the president transfers the pardon request to the Pardons Department at The Ministry of Justice, in order to receive The Justice Ministry’s recommendation. On the other hand, before deciding on pardon requests to expunge criminal record following convictions in military courts, the president transfers the pardon request to the Pardons & Verdict Review Section at The Military Advocate General Corps, in order to receive The Defense Ministry’s recommendation. In order to provide their recommendation, the proper authorities gather all the relevant information in each of the pardon awaiting their recommendation. Therefore, it may take many months before a decision on a pardon request is made by the president.


It should be noted that submitting a pardon request to the Israeli President if free, and even though the president’s decision is final and not appealable, a new request may be resubmitted in the same manner after six months.    


Before being honorably discharged from military duty at the rank of Captain, Attorney Joseph A. Younes was staged as the head of the Pardons & Verdict Review Section at The Military Advocate General Corps. The section that attorney Joseph A. Younes led was responsible for establishing the Ministry of Defense’s recommendation in hundreds of pardon requests of those who were convicted in military courts as soldiers. During his years as head of the section, attorney Younes worked in close collaboration with the Pardons Departments in both the President’s Office and The Ministry of Justice.

If criminal record in the Israel Police hinders either your life or those of a loved one, our knowledgeable attorney may be able to help. To learn how we assist you in seeking Israel criminal record expungement, call us today at (818) 643-4999, or email us at

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