Don't let one mistake ruin your life. Find out how to expunge your criminal record in Rhode Island to keep your personal details private.
It's no secret that if you have an arrest record. The details of the incident are available for anyone to see. People you know, acquaintances as well as friends and family, can access your criminal history information online with ease. If you apply for a job or try to rent an apartment, a potential employer or landlord will be able to see this criminal history information as well. Whether you were convicted of a crime or not, all of the details surrounding your misdemeanor offenses or felony offenses are accessible for all to see.
Depending on the way your criminal proceedings resolved, you may be eligible to expunge or seal criminal charge off of your background check and protect them from public viewing. This would prevent anyone from being able to pull up unflattering, personal criminal history information about you. To do this, you would need to apply for and complete the process of expungement of your record. You do not need a Rhode Island Expungement Lawyer to help you, but it will make the process much easier. In fact, much of the process of criminal record expungement can be completed for your by an experienced Rhode Island criminal defense attorney without you needing to appear in court.
If you feel it's time to put the past in the past and move forward, free of a tainted record, contact us today to schedule your initial consultation where we can review the eligibility criteria with you and our legal team can advise you of your Rhode Island expungement options.
What is Expungement?
Expungement involves deleting your criminal history from your public record and from law enforcement agencies. It would essentially make it seem as though whatever you were arrested for never happened at all. It would also protect the personal information and details surrounding your legal case from being visible to anyone in the public. There are requirements that need to be met in order to be approved for expungement.
In the state of Rhode Island, expungement used to only be available for first-time offenders who were not convicted of a crime of violence. Today, while crimes of violence are excluded may other misdemeanor and felony offenses are eligible to be expunged. Additionally, even if you have convictions for multiple misdemeanor offenses on your record you may still meet the new eligibility requirements to expunge multiple misdemeanor criminal charges. Contact the Marin and Barrett Law Firm and speak with one of our top rated criminal defense lawyers for experienced legal advice and expungement representation.
Crimes of violence that are excluded from being expunged include: murder, manslaughter, first degree arson, kidnapping with intent to export, robbery, larceny from a person, first degree sexual assault, second degree sexual assault, first degree child molestation, second degree child molestation, assault with intent to commit murder, assault with intent to rob, assault with intent to commit first degree sexual assault, burglary, and others. If you have committed any of these crimes, know that they cannot be removed from your public record. Violent crimes are not eligible for expungement.
The Rhode Island Expungement Law gives you the right to expunge certain information from your record. You can erase the following: all court records, all records in the possession of any state or local police department, the bureau of criminal identification and the probation department, including, but not limited to, any fingerprints, photographs, physical measurements, or other records of identification.
In order to have your record expunged, it helps to have a Rhode Island expungement lawyer at the reigns to walk you through the process. Another option is to have your records sealed and we can discuss the right path for you during a consultation.
What is the Expungement Process?
A Motion for Expungement must be filed in the Court system. There are several limitations on an individual's ability to expunge a record of conviction. First, there is a five year waiting period for misdemeanor convictions and a ten year waiting period for any felony convictions.
The process begins when a Motion for Expungement is filed with the Rhode Island court system. It can take months to have everything completed, so be prepared that it may be a lengthy process. Before you can apply for expungement, you are required to meet a waiting period, which has been outlined in the next section.
The motion for expungement or sealing must be filed with the clerk of the court where the charges were brought. You will receive a court date for the motion to be reviewed. You will also need to notify the arresting police department and the attorney general of the court date. Please keep in mind that you will need to be present at this court hearing.
If granted, the motion for expungement will be approved and filed with the clerk. You will need to mail a copy of the approval to the appropriate police department and attorney general. Once the complete records have been expunged you will receive a notice. This process may take about one month.
As mentioned above, Rhode Island's expungement legal process requires to wait a certain period of time of time prior to applying for expungement of your records. The waiting period varies depending on the crime and whether the criminal offenses are misdemeanor charges or felony charges.
In Rhode Island, a misdemeanor has a five-year waiting period from the date your case was settled, your sentence was completed, and your probationary period has been completed. You are required to wait a period of 10 years since the completion of a sentence and probationary period prior to applying for expungement of felony records. The waiting period for a domestic violence offense is three years.
If you have a deferred sentence where you pleaded guilty or nolo contendere, you will face a waiting period of five years.
Expungement vs. Sealing Your Records
There is a difference between having your records expunged and having them sealed. A Motion to Expunge applies in cases where you have been convicted of a crime. A Motion to Seal applies in cases where you have been exonerated of a crime. In both cases, the general public will not be able to access the personal information and details surrounding your criminal case.
What Will an Expungement do for You?
An expungement will help put your mind at ease if you feel troubled by previous charges you've faced as well as clearing your background check. It will also protect your privacy and prevent the public from being able to access all of the details surrounding legal cases you have battled including felony offenses and misdemeanor offenses.
It's entirely up to you whether or not you choose to have your record expunged. If you'd rather put the past behind you and move forward with your life without worrying about what occurred years ago, you may be eligible for the expungement of your records. It's time to be proactive about having any troubling details removed from your public record.
Are You Eligible for the Expungement or Sealing of Your Records?
Call for a free consultation and we will discuss your unique situation to see if you are eligible to have your records expunged or sealed. Our experienced Rhode Island expungement attorneys have helped thousands of individuals erase criminal records related to criminal charges and criminal convictions. If you are, I can assist you in moving forward to have your criminal records completely wiped out from public records and the law enforcement agencies. If you're ready to take the next step in the expungement process and leave the past behind, call my office today.