Proven Rhode Island Expungement Lawyer Ready To Win Your Case
If you’ve got a criminal case such as a drug crime or conviction on your record, you know it can affect your life negatively. In this highly competitive and tough job market, a clear criminal record can mean the difference between getting a job you deserve or settling for a job you can get. It can also affect your ability to receive a loan or live in a decent neighborhood. To change this, you will need a Rhode Island expungement attorney who understands the process.
Many people are under the impression that simply because a criminal case against them was dismissed, was never filed after their arrest, or they were acquitted at trial, that their criminal history is clean. Put simply, it’s not true. If you were arrested or like in many situations, simply charged-your criminal record most likely still contains details about your case.
But there is an option. Expungement is a legal process in which criminal and court records are destroyed. This process prevents potential employers from publicly accessing those records. Once this takes place, an individual can legally deny or fail to acknowledge ever having been arrested or charged with any crime that has been expunged. Not every case or individual is eligible to have their case sealed or expunged. Contact our experienced Rhode Island criminal expungement lawyer for more information.
Rhode Island Expungement Process
Rhode Island offers the ability to seal or expunge criminal records. A record can be sealed if the case was dismissed, there was no true bill, or there was no information. These records can be sealed unless you have been convicted of a felony. If you were found not guilty at trial, the case can be sealed even if you have a felony conviction against you. If you were wrongfully arrested, you may be able to have the arrest sealed even if you have previous convictions. If your case was filed, you will have to wait one year to file a motion to have it sealed or three years if the case is a domestic violence case. Get help from a trusted Rhode Island expungement attorney today.
Rhode Island allows individuals who have been convicted of a crime to have their records expunged. The eligibility requirements depend on how many cases the defendant has and whether he or she was convicted of a misdemeanor or felony. Expungement is possible through filing a Motion for Expungement. The prosecutor is given notice of the application for expungement and can contest it. In addition to showing that you meet the eligibility criteria, the judge must find that you are of good moral character and are rehabilitated. The judge has important discretion in making this determination.
First-time offenders convicted of a misdemeanor must usually wait five years after completing their sentence or probation. If you have been convicted of multiple misdemeanors, you must wait ten years after completing your last sentence. You cannot expunge convictions for domestic violence, driving under the influence, or refusal to submit to a chemical test unless you are a first-time offender.
Only first-time offenders can expunge felony convictions. Additionally, the crime cannot be one of violence and the defendant must wait ten years after completing his or her sentence before requesting an expungement.
Procedure for Expunging Eligible First Offense and Misdemeanor Convictions
To expunge a first offense or misdemeanor conviction, you must file a Motion for Expungement with the court in order to have a hearing date scheduled. You must then notify both the Attorney General and the prosecutor at least 10 days before the expungement hearing, to give them a chance to object. At the hearing, the court will grant the expungement if:
- You have no criminal proceedings currently underway against you;
- You can prove that you have good moral character;
- You have rehabilitated yourself to the satisfaction of the court (this may require active measures on your part); and
- The expungement of your conviction would not harm the public interest.
If the court grants you an expungement, it will issue an order confirming the expungement and send a copy of it to every agency that is known to possess records of the conviction (and probation, if applicable) that has been expunged. The order will direct these agencies to remove all public records of your conviction and probation, including even references contained in an index or directory.
After the expungement, you will be released from all penalties (except those that you have already paid), except that it can be used as a basis for enhancing your sentence if you commit another crime. What this means in practice is that, if your voting rights have been suspended due to your conviction or if you are not allowed to own a firearm, these rights will be restored to you.
It also means that you become legally entitled to ignore the conviction without committing perjury. For example, assuming that you haven’t been convicted of any other crime, you can legally answer “no” to a question on a form that asks if you have ever been convicted of a crime, even if you are required to sign a statement that swears to the truth of its contents on penalty of perjury. There are four occupations for which you cannot answe