No matter the offense, a criminal conviction can haunt you in many ways. Whether you have been convicted of a crime is a question that appears on job applications, housing forms, and many other situations that you may encounter in your day-to-day life. If you have been convicted of a crime in Rhode Island, there may be light at the end of the tunnel: depending on your circumstances, you may be able to have your criminal record expunged.
What is Expungement?
Expungement is a process whereby a person's criminal record is sealed. This is an important process, as it means that the criminal record will no longer be available to those who perform background checks. It's important to note that expungement does not permanently erase a criminal record for everyone; your criminal record may still be visible to government agencies such as the FBI. However, when it comes to background checks by employers and potential housing providers, an expungement can clear your criminal record from the background check and make it far easier for you to apply for a job or obtain housing.
When Can't a Record be Expunged?
Although the expungement of a criminal record is available for certain individuals, there are factors that rule out expungement as a possibility. For example:
- A person who has committed a violent crime is not eligible for expungement. Violent crimes include assault, arson, burglary, robbery, kidnapping, murder, and manslaughter.
- If you have violated your parole or have committed another crime since your first conviction, you will not be able to have your record expunged. Expungement is only available for first-time offenders; any subsequent crimes will bar you from being able to have your record expunged.
How Long Do I Have to Wait to Expunge My Record?
The period of time that must pass before a criminal record can be expunged depends on the type of crime for which you were convicted.
If you have a non-violent misdemeanor conviction, for example, you must wait a period of five years from the end of your sentence before you can begin the process of expunging your record. For non-violent felony convictions, the time period doubles, and you can only begin the process of expungement after 10 years have passed since the end of your sentence.
Other factors come into play when moving forward with having your record expunged; for example, you must have completed probation successfully and must pay any outstanding fines in order to become eligible to have your record expunged.
Interested in Having Your Criminal Record Expunged? We Can Help
If you believe that you may qualify to have your Rhode Island criminal record expunged, retaining a seasoned criminal defense attorney can be an invaluable part of this process. The team of attorneys at Inman & Tourgee are standing by to assist those who have criminal records in the expungement process. To speak with a member of our legal team about the possibility of expunging your criminal record, fill out an online case evaluation form or call (401) 823-9200 today.