Q: Am I eligible for expungement if I was charged with a DWI, but the case was dismissed?
A: Yes! Under the New Mexico Criminal Records Expungement Act, people who have been charged with a crime, but not convicted -- that is, their case was dismissed, they received a conditional discharge or pre-prosecution diversion, or they were acquitted -- are eligible for expungement regardless of the crime they were charged with. Many people mistakenly believe that the exceptions to the Act (convictions for which the public records cannot be expunged) apply to cases where a person was charged with a crime, but not convicted. That is not correct. If a person has been charged but not convicted of a crime, including 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 under Section 30-16-8 NMSA 1978, or a DWI offense, that person is eligible to have those charges expunged.
Q: I have more than one conviction – can I apply for expungement?
A: Yes. Another common misunderstanding about the Criminal Records Expungement Act is that a person is not eligible for expungement if they have more than one charge or conviction. That isn't the case! First, with regard to charges that didn't result in a conviction, the New Mexico Criminal Records Expungement Act doesn't limit the number of such charges that can be expunged from the public record. Additionally, with regard to convictions, while it is true that other convictions will be considered by a judge in deciding whether to expunge a conviction, having multiple convictions doesn't necessarily mean that a request for expungement will be denied. But it does mean that the court will need to be persuaded that it should grant the request, despite the multiple convictions. That's where having experienced counsel really helps.
Q: What information should a person have before they call Rothstein Donatelli about expungement?
A: Where there are charges or convictions that have been filed in court, it is helpful to have the case number, the offenses charged, and the offenses that resulted in a conviction. If a case is more than 10 years old, it is also helpful if the person can give us a copy of the court paperwork that shows the charges that they were convicted of or plead guilty to. Also, if the person's name has changed since the charge or the conviction, we will need to know their name at the time of the charge or conviction. Of course, while it is helpful to have those things at the first call, it is not a requirement to have them before contacting us.