Your criminal record is public information and easily accessible for all to see. Fortunately, in Rhode Island, you can petition the Court to expunge your criminal record after a certain period of time. Once expunged, the record is erased, sealed and destroyed, leaving you with a clean slate.
Any criminal charge, with the exception of a crime of violence, is eligible for expungement. The following have been classified as crimes of violence: murder, manslaughter, first degree arson, kidnapping with intent to extort, robbery, larceny from the person, first degree sexual assault, second degree sexual assault, first and second degree child molestation, assault with intent to murder, assault with intent to rob, assault with intent to commit first degree sexual assault, burglary, and entering a dwelling house with intent to commit murder, robbery, sexual assault or larceny. An individual convicted of a crime of violence is ineligible for expungement. Any individual convicted of a crime or placed on probation on more than one occasion is also ineligible for expungement.
An individual must be a "first offender" to be eligible for expungement. A first offender is a person who has not been previously convicted of or placed on probation for a felony or a misdemeanor, and against whom there is no criminal proceeding pending in any court.
Many times an individual will file their motion to expunge prematurely, and therefore the motion is denied. The time frame one must wait is five (5) years for a misdemeanor and ten (10) years for a felony, following the successful completion of their sentence and/or probation. Thereafter, a qualifying individual may petition the court to expunge their record.
An individual must also be able to demonstrate to the Court's satisfaction that they are of good moral character; have been rehabilitated; and the expungement of their criminal record is consistent with the public interest.
A criminal record can prohibit one from obtaining certain jobs or enrolling in college. If you have questions about whether you qualify to have your criminal record expunged, I encourage you to contact my office to call my office today and schedule a free confidential consultation with me.