Clearing your path to a brighter future!
A criminal record can create barriers to people's ability to move forward with their lives. Convictions, dismissals, and arrests are public records unless they are removed. Beginning January 1, 2020, New Mexicans will have the opportunity to clear their public record of convictions of certain offenses under the Criminal Record Expungement Act or criminal charges. 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 the removal of their publicly available criminal record.
What is Expungement?
Expunged criminal records are removed from general public access and are no longer reported on background checks. A “criminal record” means notation of arrest, criminal complaint, indictment, criminal information, finding or plea of guilty, conviction, acquittal, and dismissal or discharge record, including information posted on a court or law enforcement website.
What is Eligible for Expungement?
Acquittals and dismissals, including dismissals after a referral to a pre-prosecution diversion program or an order of conditional discharge, for both misdemeanor and felony charges are eligible for expungement.
Convictions, with certain exceptions, are also eligible for expungement. The exceptions are convictions for the following: 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, and 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 by the law has passed.
When Can I Petition for Expungement?
Anyone charged in New Mexico with a crime not resulting in a conviction – i.e. the charges were dropped, the case was dismissed, or the jury acquitted – will be eligible to petition the court one year after the final disposition of the case.
There is no waiting period for anyone wrongfully charged with a crime because their identity was stolen.
For convictions, the waiting time period depends on the charge:
- Misdemeanor or municipal ordinance convictions: two years from end of sentence
- Misdemeanor aggravated battery or fourth degree felony convictions: four years from end of sentence
- Third degree felony convictions: six years from end of sentence
- Second degree felony convictions: eight years from end of sentence
- First degree felony convictions or a conviction under the Crimes Against a Household Member Act: ten years from end of sentence
Rothstein Donatelli can help you determine whether you qualify to petition for expungement.
Do I Need an Attorney?
Our attorneys can navigate a complicated judicial system and provide you thorough and vigorous legal representation to give you the best chance for a brighter future. The court will consider several 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.
Where Do I Start?
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.
Contact us for a more information.