Beginning January 1, 2020, New Mexicans will have the opportunity to clear their public record of criminal charges or convictions of certain offenses under the Criminal Record Expungement Act. Convictions and arrest records can create barriers to people's ability to move forward with their lives. This new law provides an exciting opportunity for individuals to remove these barriers by allowing people charged with or convicted of qualifying offenses to request to have their publicly available criminal record removed (“expunged”).
Anyone charged in New Mexico with a crime not resulting in a conviction –that is, where the charges were dropped, the case was dismissed, or the jury acquitted – will be eligible to petition the court for expungement. Dismissals resulting from completion of a pre-prosecution diversion program are also eligible for expungement. This petition may be filed one year after the final disposition of the case. Anyone wrongfully charged with a crime because their identity was stolen does not have to wait until a year has passed.
Convictions for most offenses are eligible for expungement after a certain period of time. Some criminal convictions are never eligible for expungement, such as: an offense committed against a child, an offense that caused great bodily harm or death to another person, a sex offense as defined in Section 29-11A-3 NMSA 1978, embezzlement pursuant to Section 30-16-8 NMSA 1978, or an offense involving driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs (DWI). Any other conviction is eligible to be expunged after the time period designated in the new law has passed. This time period may be anywhere from two years to ten years depending on the offense. The court will consider a number of factors in determining whether to grant a petition to expunge a criminal conviction, including objections made by the district attorney and whether justice will be served by the expungement. Therefore, it is important to retain the assistance of an attorney to help you throughout this process.
Rothstein Donatelli can help you remove barriers created by a criminal record by first helping you identify whether you are eligible to petition for expungement and then by providing vigorous legal representation throughout the expungement process.