Albuquerque, New Mexico Expungement Lawyers
Albuquerque, New Mexico Expungement Lawyers Can Help Set Your Life Back on Track
If you are a resident of New Mexico who has been involved with the criminal justice system, you have likely spent your time since your arrest trying to move your life forward, despite your history constantly coming back to haunt you. Even in the absence of a conviction, a criminal arrest leaves a record that follows you wherever you go, sometimes holding you back from achieving your greatest dreams.
Up until this past January 2020, there was not a lot that you could do about it. In many cases, once you were arrested, you had to “sweat” every job application you put in – quite literally – for the rest of your life. But now that has changed. Not for everyone; there are still some charges that cannot be expunged. However, the vast majority of crimes will now be eligible for expungement.
The Criminal Record Expungement Act
The name of the new law, enacted in January, is The Criminal Record Expungement Act (CREA). The first thing to know is that certain cases are not included in this act. In other words, if your arrest was for any of the following, then you are not eligible for expungement under the CREA:
- A crime involving violence and bodily harm or death to another
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- A sexual crime
- A crime against a child
So if your arrest was for any of the above categories, then the CREA does not apply to you and you will not likely get your case expunged. Now let’s look at what the CREA actually does.
In cases where the accused was never convicted, the arrest record can now be sealed (expunged) in its entirety with only a few exceptions. So if your case was dismissed, if you participated in a diversion program that ended in a dismissal of the charges, or if you went to trial and were acquitted, the chances are quite good that you can get an expungement in Albuquerque, New Mexico. However, there is a one year waiting period before you can petition the court to expunge the record. During that year, you must remain arrest-free and must not have a criminal case pending.
Most surprising, the CREA also allows you to get convictions expunged from your record. So if you entered a plea of guilty or went to trial and were convicted, you are allowed to expunge your record as long as your charges do not fall within the category of exceptions listed above.
You will have to be patient, however, because the amount of time that you must wait before asking the court to seal your record varies according to the criminal charge. And remember that, during this waiting period, you must remain arrest-free in order to successfully petition the court to expunge your record. Here is a rundown of the time required based on the seriousness of the offense:
- Non-Convictions: From the date of disposition, the defendant must wait one year
- Municipal Ordinance Violations: 2 years (All of these refer to the amount of time one must wait and be arrest-free, counting from the completion of their sentence.)
- Misdemeanor Conviction (except crimes against household members): 2 years
- Misdemeanor Aggravated Battery Conviction: 4 years
- 4th Degree Felony Conviction: 4 years
- 3rd Degree Felony Conviction: 6 years
- 2nd Degree Felony Conviction: 8 years
- 1st Degree Felony Conviction: 10 years
- Any crime against a household member: 10 years
When the judge is considering whether or not to grant your petition for expungement, they are being asked to consider whether “justice will be served by an order to expunge.” They are asked to make this determination based on the following criteria:
- The type of charge for which the petitioner was convicted – its nature and severity;
- The petitioner’s criminal history and age;
- The petitioners work history;
- The length of time since the offense occurred, and the time since the sentence was completed;
- Will the petitioner suffer any ill effects or consequences if the petition is denied, and what are the nature and gravity of those effects; and
- The court will consider any additional arguments for denial of expungement from the prosecution prior to making a determination.
Speak with an Expungement Attorney Today
To get started, schedule a free case evaluation with the attorneys at New Mexico Criminal Law Office. We have helped countless defendants just like you fight against the ongoing oppressive effects of having a criminal record. A mistake should not permanently alter your life, and we all deserve a second chance. But you can only get that chance if you use a compassionate attorney who has the experience to successfully guide you through this legal process. The attorneys at the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices have all the knowledge and drive necessary to ensure that your rights are upheld. So call us today, or contact us online to set up your consultation.