What is the difference between getting your record expunged v. sealed?

Rhode Island Criminal Lawyer Files Motion To Expunge and Seal Records For The Accused:

RI Expungment

Your case has ended, your court fees are paid and you have no other obligations or ties to the courthouse. Except, now you want your record gone so a future job, school or other establishment is unaware of your prior situation. How do you go about doing that? First, you will need to figure out if you can have your record sealed or expunged.

Motion To Expunge:

It is important to know the difference between the two and to which cases they apply. When filing a motion to expunge it is important to remember:

“(a) Any person who is a first offender may file a motion for the expungement of all records and records of conviction for a felony or misdemeanor by filing a motion in the court in which the conviction took place; provided, that no person who has been convicted of a crime of violence shall have his or her records and records of conviction expunged; and provided, that all outstanding court-imposed or court-related fees, fines, costs, assessments, charges, and/or any other monetary obligations have been paid, unless such amounts are reduced or waived by order of the court.

(b) Notwithstanding § 12-1.3-1(3) (“first offender”), any person who has been convicted of more than one misdemeanor, but fewer than six (6) misdemeanors, and has not been convicted of a felony may file a motion for the expungement of any or all of those misdemeanors by filing a motion in the court in which the convictions took place; provided that convictions for offenses under chapter 29 of title 12, § 31-27-2 or § 31-27-2.1 are not eligible for and may not be expunged under this subsection.

(c) Subject to subsection (a), a person may file a motion for the expungement of records relating to a misdemeanor conviction after five (5) years from the date of the completion of his or her sentence.

(d) Subject to subsection (a), a person may file a motion for the expungement of records relating to a felony conviction after ten (10) years from the date of the completion of his or her sentence.

(e) Subject to § 12-19-19(c), and without regard to subsections (a) through (c) of this section, a person may file a motion for the expungement of records relating to a deferred sentence upon its completion, after which the court will hold a hearing on the motion.

(f) Subject to subsection (b) of this section, a person may file a motion for the expungement of records relating to misdemeanor convictions after ten (10) years from the date of the completion of their last sentence.

(g) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsections (a) through (f) of this section, a person may file a motion for the expungement of records related to an offense that has been decriminalized subsequent to the date of their conviction, after which the court will hold a hearing on the motion in the court in which the original conviction took place.”

A motion to expunge in essence erases your record from public view. These records can no longer be viewed by the public for any reason.

Motion To Seal:

However, having your records sealed is slightly different. A sealed record cannot be viewed by the public, and in addition, any fingerprints, photographs, physical measurements, or other record of identification taken by the Office of the Attorney General or any other authorized law enforcement agency shall be destroyed.  Not every record can be sealed which is why some records must be expunged.

A person is only eligible for a motion to seal if they were:

  1. Charged with a crime;
  2. That they were acquitted for or otherwise exonerated;
  3. The case was dismissed;
  4. They have not previously been convicted of a felony; and
  5. All court fines, fees, costs, assessments have been satisfied

DO YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW NEED A RECORD EXPUNGED OR SEALED?

If you or someone you know needs help with having a record sealed or expunged, get in touch with an attorney that can have your record taken care of. With his extensive knowledge of the system, Attorney Noah Kilroy has the tools to set the record straight. With offices located in the heart of downtown Providence, RI, and in Fall River, MA. Stop by for a free consultation or call or text us at 401-855-9023.