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  • Benefits of Expungement

    Posted on by JACK MKHITARIAN

    Benefits of ExpungementAn expungement order could change your life. You could have better job opportunities, a chance to move into better housing, and advance your education if you expunge your criminal record. Think of what you could do for yourself and your family if you had the opportunity. If your criminal record is holding you back from achieving your goals, you should immediately talk to one of our criminal defense attorneys.

    Expunging your record is a complex legal matter. Working with a skilled and knowledgeable defense attorney with experience helping people expunge their records can help you protect your privacy and help you move on from mistakes you made in the past. 

    At the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, we believe in the benefits of expungement and have helped numerous clients just like you turn their lives around. We can help you navigate the complicated legal process and argue on your behalf. Contact us today if you have questions about expunging a criminal record.

    What Is Expungement?

    If you have been arrested, the case might have ended with an acquittal, getting your case dismissed, or you might have paid your debt to society by serving out your sentence. Yet, despite having resolved your case, that criminal arrest or conviction record continues to impede your progress in life. Due to this phenomenon that can plague those with only minor criminal histories, New Mexico allows people like you to expunge your records and get a fresh start. 

    New Mexico’s expungement law removes records from public view.

    In particular, an expungement order removes public access to any reference to an arrest, complaint, indictment, information, guilty plea, conviction, acquittal, dismissal, or discharge. As a result, the public cannot access documents regarding these events from the court clerk’s office, police department, corrections facility, or any court, corrections, or law enforcement website. 

    An expungement order officially allows you to answer “no” if anyone asks you if you’ve been arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime.

    Once the court expunges your case, you no longer have to acknowledge your past troubles—with only limited exceptions. New Mexico’s expungement statute still allows members of the district attorney’s office, police, and individuals performing background checks for security clearances, to view your expunged records. 

    What Charges Can the Court Expunge?

    New Mexico’s expungement statute limits the type of cases the court can expunge. Generally, a court will expunge all misdemeanor and felony cases that ended in an acquittal, dismissal, nolle prosequi, no bill, pre-prosecution diversion program, a conditional discharge, or other discharge. The court can expunge these records after one year from the final disposition date. 

    The court may also expunge records from a conviction for a municipal ordinance violation, traffic violation, misdemeanor, or felony. However, the court’s authority is limited. 

    A judge cannot expunge convictions for certain offenses, including the following:

    • Offenses committed against a child,
    • Offenses that caused great bodily harm or death,
    • Sex offenses,
    • Embezzlement, and
    • DUI charges.

    Expungement is a complex issue, and having a lawyer guide you through this process ensures that you have the best chance of having your records expunged.

    Expungement Procedure

    You may petition the court for expungement only after you have completed your sentence and paid all the fees and fines assessed against you, including restitution to the victim. 

    You must have no charges pending against you when you file your petition.

    The law requires you to wait a specified amount of time after the resolution of your case or the completion of your obligations—whichever is later—before you file your petition. 

    A judge will hold a public hearing on your petition to expunge your record and may allow it if doing so serves the ends of justice. The judge will look at several factors, including the following:

    • The nature of your crime, i.e., how serious it was; 
    • Your age at the time of the offense; 
    • Your general criminal history; 
    • Your employment history; 
    • The time that has passed since you wrapped up your sentence; and 
    • Any specific consequences you could suffer if the judge denies your motion. 

    The prosecutor has a chance to object to your petition. Prosecutors usually want their convictions to stick and could oppose expungement vigorously. Their stance will depend on your unique situation—they might agree to your petition if you make a persuasive case.

    Representation from a skilled and reputable lawyer can level the playing field for you. Our criminal defense lawyers have significant training and experience persuading judges to find for our clients. We have the skills necessary to prove to the court that expunging your criminal history is just. And we know how to stand up to prosecutors who are only interested in preserving their track record rather than seeing that justice is done.

    What Are the Benefits of Expungement?

    Expunging your record can give you a sense of hope for the future. Even a traffic charge or silly misdemeanor offense can prevent you from getting the most out of life. Still not convinced that going through the hassle is worth your time and energy? Here are a few reasons why expungement is worth the effort.

    Better Job Opportunities

    You might like the job you have now, but what would happen if your employer shuts down and you have to find another job? If anything happens in the years ahead that necessitates finding other work, potential employers could run background checks and find that you have a criminal record. When faced with hiring a person with a clean record or a person with a criminal arrest record, most employers will choose the person whose record is clean.

    Expunging your record levels the playing field so you can hopefully get the job you want now and in the future.

    Better Educational Opportunities

    Schools still consider your background when admitting new students. You might not be able to get into the school you wish to because you have a record.

    Better Housing Opportunities

    Property owners exercise caution when renting. Landlords like to know if their tenants will pay on time and not damage the property. A criminal record does not mean you will default on your rent or cause damage. However, many landlords feel more comfortable renting to someone with a clean record.

    Erase the Stigma of a Criminal Record

    The events that led to your criminal charges are probably not your proudest moments. The regret or embarrassment you may feel can follow you around for the rest of your life when you know the information is out there for the world to see. Expunging your record removes the stigma and shame associated with a criminal record and helps keep your past private.

    Interested in Expunging Your Record?

    Contact the New Mexico Criminal Law Office today. We have been fighting for people’s rights since 1997. Since then, we have earned a sterling reputation as dedicated defense lawyers who deliver results. We are immediately available for a free consultation. Let us help you get your life back on track.