Can You Clean Up a Criminal Record?
New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Helping with Expungement
A criminal record of any kind is a permanent record that follows you everywhere. When applying for jobs your criminal record might become an obstacle, or if you need to get financial aid you might be denied because of one past mistake.
While a criminal record was designed to serve as a reminder of past crimes and deter further criminal activity, it can have exceptionally harsh repercussions on a person’s life. More so, one simple mistake when you were young could set you up for a lifetime of denials and disappointment – regardless of how well-behaved you have been since then.
In New Mexico, the only way to “clean up” a criminal record is expungement. Expungements essentially erase your criminal records on all depositories, computers, and hard copies – making them non-existent.
What is Destroyed in a Criminal Record Expungement?
The term “destroyed” is misleading. However, several statutes dictate how records are destroyed if a judge grants you the expungement.
- DNA Test Results – DNA records from past cases are in various depositories. Therefore, physical samples, lab results, and any information regarding your identity are destroyed (Section 10.14.200.12).
- Arrest Records – Arrest records are completely removed, including notations about the arrest in the state and federal systems (Section 29-3-8.1).
- Juvenile Arrest Records – Juvenile records are deleted in court systems, law enforcement departments, and any rehabilitation programs offered by the state. Essentially, no inquiry would yield a result.
Who Qualifies to Clean Up their Criminal Record?
An expungement is a powerful tool that essentially removes any history of a criminal act. Therefore, not all cases or defendants qualify.
New Mexico is one of the few states that permit records of misdemeanor and petty misdemeanor cases to be expunged if there is no record of disposition. If you have any record of disposition, you cannot expunge the record – even if you did not serve time in jail or if the charges were dismissed.
For first-time drug offenses, you may qualify if you were younger than 18 at the time of your arrest – if the charges were dismissed or even discharged after probation conditions are met.
Reverse convictions also qualify for expungement. After all, the court has cleared your name. Therefore, you can request that all records, including DNA results, be expunged.
Crimes of Moral Turpitude Do Not Qualify
Any arrest record for a crime of moral turpitude does not qualify for expungement. Moral turpitude describes acts that violate the acceptable standards of the community, risks public safety, or violates good morals.
Sadly, this could include first-time DUI arrests and other misdemeanor offenses that involve intoxication.
Getting Started with an Expungement with a New Mexico Defense Lawyer
Unless you know the legal system’s inner workings, you need a criminal defense attorney to help you clean up your criminal record. A defense attorney can advise you on your rights for expungement, determine if you have a valid petition, gather evidence, and argue on your behalf.