Can a Sex Crime be Expunged?
Having a criminal arrest or conviction on your record creates negative and unwanted consequences that could affect you the rest of your life. Even after you have served a sentence in prison, you find that the debt continues toward society. You cannot find employment, housing becomes an issue, and government aid programs deny you at every turn.
Background checks today make it easier for people to access a complete history of anyone, including any legal records – whether you served time in jail or prison or never served a single day. These legal records can create issues in your everyday life, especially if you were arrested but never charged.
When it comes to a sex crime, the damage can be far-reaching. You may be prohibited from living in certain neighborhoods, have limited employment opportunities, and so forth.
Unfortunately, the state of New Mexico is one that only allows expungement in a very limited number of instances – and sex crimes are not one of them. Even if you completed probation, your adult criminal record would remain a matter of public record. Therefore, the best way to protect yourself is to act before taking a deal, going to court, or allowing it to become part of your permanent record.
Protecting Yourself from a Permanent Criminal Record in Albuquerque
While you cannot delete most criminal charges in the state, you have ways to avoid the permanent persecution that comes with a sex crime conviction. It is crucial that you work with a qualified criminal defense attorney from the moment you are arrested because these cases are highly time-sensitive. The sooner you act, the easier it will be to protect yourself.
Crimes of Moral Turpitude
Even if you are arrested for a sex crime in New Mexico, but never charged or convicted, you could have a permanent record. That means the arrest will still show up on some background checks. The state does not allow the expulsion of arrest records for crimes of moral turpitude, and sex crime offenses fall under this category.
Reversed Convictions: A Rare Exception to the Rule
Those who were convicted of sex crimes before DNA technology reached the advancements it has today may find that their convictions are reversed, and charges dismissed out of innocence. In these rare instances, the state does allow a person to expunge their record and have their DNA evidence removed from the state’s database. In this case, you must be found innocent, and the court reverses the conviction and frees you from prison to qualify. Even then, the state has specific circumstances that must be met; therefore, you should consult with a criminal defense attorney before assuming that you would qualify for this rare exception.
What is a Sex Crime?
Sex crimes are any crimes that involve unwanted or offensive touching in a sexual manner. Every state has their definition of sex crimes.
In New Mexico, a sex crime can include everything from rape to attempted rape, incest, spousal rape, sexual assault, sexual contact, sexual harassment, exploitation of a child, and even exploitation by a therapist. The state has a broad definition of sex crimes, which makes it more likely you could face this serious charge.
Furthermore, New Mexico imposes harsh penalties for sex offenders. While the intention is to deter future behavior, these harsh penalties can also affect those who are falsely accused of a crime.
Act Quickly – Start a Defense against Your Sex Crime Allegations Now
If you have been accused of a sex crime, hiring an attorney immediately is the best defense you have against a lifetime of consequences. An attorney will examine the evidence, look at how law enforcement handled the case, review the history of the alleged victim, and work to find areas where your rights were violated, prove your innocence, or get evidence dismissed so that the prosecution is forced to reduce the charges.
Sex crime accusations can be permanent and affect you forever. Therefore your attorney is unlikely to take a plea bargain if a sex crime charge is on the table. However, you decide to take the plea arrangement or not but realize that with the right attorney, you can defend your rights in court.
The Sex Offender Registry – Can I Get Removed?
Unfortunately, even if you were able to have the record sealed or dismissed, you may have to remain on the sex offender registry for several years or a lifetime depending on what the courts have decided. Therefore, you could still honestly say you have not been convicted of a felony, but the sex offender registry would appear on a background check regardless.
Furthermore, even if you are not a resident of New Mexico, but you are here for work or going to school, the state requires that you register with their state database through the county sheriff’s office where you will reside. You must also supply a sample of your DNA for inclusion in the database.
Currently, the minimum registration period in New Mexico is ten years, but a judge may impose a more extended registry period depending on the crime you have been convicted for and if you have previous convictions. You must then renew your registration annually. Each time you move, change jobs or change contact information you must notify the registration of these changes.
Some states require automatic lifetime registrations, including California, Colorado, Oregon, and Florida. Therefore, regardless of whether you served a day in jail or 10 years in prison, you are still registered for a lifetime in those states.
Avoid the Long-Term Consequences – Speak with a Criminal Defense Attorney Now
The lifetime of persecution and punishment for false accusations can be devastating. If you have been arrested for a sex crime, do not wait to contact an attorney. The sooner you hire a criminal defense attorney, the easier it will be to protect your ability to seek employment, receive government funding, and even find housing.