When you do the time for your crime, you don’t want your prior criminal charges to follow you around. Unfortunately, that’s what often happens. People get convictions that seem to haunt them wherever they go. But there is a way to clear your record, and it comes in the form of expungement. Learn everything you should know about Rhode Island record expungement. It may give you new freedom.
What is expungement?
There are many different types of legal procedures. Expungement is one such procedure that can remove your criminal charges from public records. It also removes the charges from law enforcement agency records. However, it’s not available to everyone. Only certain individuals are eligible for expungement. If you think that an expungement is an option for you, there are a few things you should know about Rhode Island record expungement.
How does Rhode Island record expungement work?
Expungement is available to most types of criminals in Rhode Island. While most people can get an expungement, people who committed crimes of violence are not eligible. This includes all of the following crimes:
- Larceny from the person
- Sexual assault (of the first and second degree)
- Arson (of the first degree)
- Kidnapping with the intention of extorting
- Entering a home with the intention of murdering someone
- Assault with the intent to murder or rob
If you did not commit a crime of violence, you might be eligible for expungement. It means you could have a clean record. With it, you could have a life with much more freedom and opportunity.
Of course, there are other requirements for expungement. You need to be a first-time offender. If you have any other offenses, you are ineligible. By law, a first offender has no previous felony or misdemeanor convictions. A first offender also has no pending criminal charges. If you meet this criterion, expungement is an option.
Before you can consider expungement, you need to serve your sentence and your probation. Then, you need to live a certain amount of time with no convictions or pending cases. For misdemeanors, that time is five years. Felonies require a time of ten years. And that time does not start until after both your sentence and probation is complete.
How Does it Work?
Record expungement is a legal process that can seem difficult to the inexperienced. However, a skilled lawyer can handle the situation easily and effectively. First, you need to file a motion to expunge. Some courts provide blank motions that allow you to fill in the blanks. But not all courts make it as easy to file. You may need to ask the Clerk’s Office for assistance.
Once you complete the paperwork, you can schedule a motion for your hearing. The date could be soon or far off, depending on where in Rhode Island you live. You need to notify the Department of Attorney General and the police department (the one that filed the charges against you) of the coming court date.
On the day of your hearing, the court will ask you to provide some information. You need to show that you never had a conviction or probation for a crime of violence. And you need to show that you do qualify as a first offender. Additionally, you need to convince the judge that you have good moral character and are rehabilitated. Finally, you need to show that the expungement of your record is in the public’s best interest.
If a judge orders an expungement, the court will give you copies of the order. You need to mail that order to the Department of Attorney General and law enforcement agencies that may have copies of your prior record.
Do you need a lawyer?
If the process of expungement sounds a little difficult, that’s because it is. There’s a fair amount of work involved, and it is possible to make mistakes. One small misstep could be enough to ruin your chances at expungement. You need to prepare yourself well for your hearing to make sure that everything goes smoothly.
Your expungement is a big deal. It could make you eligible for jobs you never thought you’d be eligible for. And it could make finding housing easy and stress-free. In fact, expungement is such a big deal that it could be life-changing. With so much at stake, you need to do everything you can to make sure that your expungement goes well.
An experienced lawyer is all the assurance that you need. It’s a way to make sure that you get the outcome you want from your hearing.They can file all the paperwork for you and make sure that you properly prepare for court. With their knowledge, they can tell you what to expect. In the end, their expertise may be what it takes to make your Rhode Island record expungement happen.