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We have all made a mistake in our lives. Unfortunately for some, a simple mistake could haunt them for the rest of their lives. Having a criminal record can greatly hinder some of you basic rights as well as your ability to get a job. Therefore, it is important to discuss the possibility of expungement with a Rhode Island expungement attorney. S. Joshua Macktaz can help guide you through the Rhode Island expungement process so that your mistake doesn’t come back to bite you later in life.

Rhode Island Expungement: Definition

Expungement is the legal process that removes your criminal record. Therefore, making the record of your cases inaccessible to both the public and law enforcement agencies. A Rhode Island expungement is only available to those individuals without a violent crime conviction after the waiting period is over. Lastly, you must not have any previous felony convictions in order to qualify for a Rhode Island expungement.

Even if you receive a favorable ruling in your case, it is still wise to have your record expunged. Even if you are found not guilty, an account of the proceedings will still show on your criminal record. An expungement will ensure that your entire record is wiped clean.

Rhode Island Expungement: Waiting Period

In Rhode Island, there are different lengths of time that someone with a criminal conviction must wait in order to qualify for expungement. The waiting period varies depending on the severity of the charges.

  • Domestic violence convictions carry a waiting period of three years before you are able to file a motion to expunge your record.
  • Misdemeanor convictions have a five-year waiting period from the date that your sentence and/or your probationary period is complete.
  • Deferred sentences carry a waiting period of five years as long as there are no further criminal charges.
  • Felonies require a ten-year waiting period from the time that your sentence and probation are complete.

Violent crimes such as murder, robbery, sexual assault, and kidnapping are not eligible for expungement in Rhode Island.

The Rhode Island Expungement Process

The expungement process is not as simple as you may think. Also, an expungement could take months to complete. An attorney can help guide you through the process and help move the proceedings along quickly. The process for expungement in Rhode Island is as follows:

  • Retain a lawyer with experience in dealing with expungement in Rhode Island.
  • Obtain a copy of your record from the Bureau of Criminal Identification at the Attorney General’s Office.
  • Schedule a court date to hear the motion.
  • Notify both the arresting police department and the Attorney General of the date of your hearing.
  • Bring proof to show that you are eligible for expungement. Your attorney can help you determine what evidence would be good to present to the court.
  • Lastly, if the court grants your motion, you must mail a copy of the approval to both the Attorney General and the arresting police department. Once the expungement is processed you will receive a confirmation by mail.

While this process seems very straightforward, an attorney can help you avoid some of the common pitfalls. For instance, not presenting the right evidence to the court during your hearing could spell disaster for your motion. Therefore, it is best to have an attorney handle your case. Contact S. Joshua Macktaz Esq. today to learn how he can help.