April 2011

Rhode Island Expungement Lawyer

“Expungement” is a legal procedure. It allows eligible and deserving individuals to have any and all records relating to their criminal charges removed, both from public records and those of law enforcement agencies. Many times, although a case has been dismissed or the filing period has expired, the records of the arrest are not automatically expunged. In my experience, many people discover this fact the hard way.

Of course not anyone with a criminal record is eligible for expungement -the law provides that any criminal charge, with the exception of a “crime of violence”, is eligible for expungement. The law defines a “crime of violence” as follows: 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. Anyone convicted of a “crime of violence” is ineligible for “expungement”. Anyone who is a “first offender” is eligible to have their criminal record expunged.

The law defines a “first offender” as follows: 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.
Anyone convicted or placed on probation on more than one occasion is ineligible for expungement. The waiting period for expungement is as follows:

For misdemeanors - (5) years after the successful completion (no intervening convictions, probation, or pending cases) of your sentence and/or probation.

For felonies - (10) years after the successful completion (no intervening convictions, probation, or pending cases) of your sentence and/or probation.

Whether you are eligible and deserving of an expungement must be determined by a judge of the court that originally heard the case. As mentioned previously in order to be eligible to have your criminal record expunged you must be a “first offender” and not have been convicted of a “crime of violence”.

The law also requires that in order to have your criminal record expunged you must be deserving of it. That is, you must be able to demonstrate to the court’s satisfaction that you are of good moral character; have been rehabilitated and; the expungement of your criminal record is consistent with the public interest, proof of which can include but is not limited to the following:
o Regular employment and financial and other support of family
o Successful completion of substance abuse and/or mental health counseling.
o Community or other public service
o Professional certification or licensing in field of employment
o Otherwise eligible for induction into the armed forces of the United States

The actual procedure for obtaining expungement is commenced by filing a motion to expunge with the court. Some but not all courts have blank motions to expunge that you can fill out and file with the court yourself. An attorney can assist you with completing the necessary paperwork including scheduling the motion for a hearing and giving you the date that it will be heard by the court. After filing the motion to expunge you are required to give notice of the date that it will be heard by the court to the Department of Attorney General and the police department that originally brought the charge. On the day that your motion to expunge is heard by the court you should be prepared to provide the following information about yourself to the judge hearing the motion:
o Have not been convicted or received probation for a “crime of violence”
o Are a “first offender”
o Possess good moral character
o Have been successfully rehabilitated and
o The expungement of your criminal record is consistent with the public interest

If your motion to expunge is granted, the court will provide you with copies of an order requiring that any and all records relating to the expunged case be deleted from the public record. A copy of this expungement order should be mailed to the Department of Attorney General and any other law enforcement agency known to have copies of these records. With certain very limited exceptions, any person having his or her record expunged shall be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the crime of which he or she had been convicted.

Again, with certain very limited exceptions, in any application for employment, license, or other civil right or privilege, or any appearance as a witness, a person whose conviction of a crime has been expunged pursuant to this chapter may state that he or she has never been convicted of the crime. According to RIGL § 12-1 3-4 (b), any person who is "an applicant for a law enforcement agency position, for admission to the bar of any court, an applicant for a teaching certificate, under chapter 11 of title 12, a coaching certificate under § 16-11. 1-1, or the operator or employee of an early childhood educational facility pursuant to chapter 48-1 of title 16," is required to disclose the fact of a conviction.

24 Hour RI Lawyer Defending Your Freedom

24 Hour Rhode Island Lawyer Defending Your Freedom – (401)-487-8691

Unfortunately, arrests and investigations don’t occur only between the hours of 9 and 5, they occur 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Police forces and federal agents work 24/7, so we are available to defend you or your loved one’s freedom 24/7 as well.

Our 24 hour criminal lawyers are on call for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, regardless of whether it’s a weekend or a holiday. If you or your loved one has been arrested or believe you are the target of a criminal investigation, contact our criminal defense lawyers now at (401)-487-8691.

Our Rhode Island criminal lawyers are on call 24 hours to come to the police station to defend your rights, get you out of jail any time of day or night, and rush to a night arraignment to try to get you released rather than spend time behind bars.

Rhode Island employs the assistance of Justices of the Peace to handle after hours arraignments and weekend arraignments. These officers of the court are generally practicing practitioners who share a rotation with the other appointed members. A night or weekend arraignment in Rhode Island can cost anywhere from $50.00 to $200.00 dollars exclusive of funds required for bail. Of course, Police Departments may not choose to utilize this off hour option, and a criminal defense lawyer can often act as a liaison in order to facilitate the process.

Do not hesitate to take advantage of this 24 hour criminal law service. Prompt and effective representation at night can even the playing field between the police and the accused. Simply call (401)-487-8691.