Do Expunged Records Show up on a Background Check?
Good people can make mistakes. However, sometimes a single mistake can have a lasting impact on your life. When it comes to criminal convictions, certain offenses can seriously interfere with your ability to get a job or qualify for certain benefits. However, in recognition of the fact that we all make mistakes, New Mexico law allows for those with certain eligible convictions to expunge their records. Typically, once your record is expunged, employers and anyone else who obtains a copy of your criminal record cannot see any information related to the expunged arrest, charge, or conviction.
At the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, we not only help our clients defend against the charges brought against them, but we also assist in getting their records expunged. Our team of experienced defense lawyers is committed to each of our clients and understands the challenges that having a criminal record presents. We will diligently prepare your New Mexico expungement petition to avoid any unnecessary delays so you can put the past behind you and move on with your life.
The New Mexico Criminal Record Expungement Act
Every state is responsible for creating its own rules when it comes to expungements. In 2020, New Mexico lawmakers passed the New Mexico Criminal Record Expungement Act. Under the new law, many – but not all – criminal offenses can be expunged. For example, the following crimes are not eligible for an expungement:
- Sex offenses
- DUI and DWI offenses
- Crimes resulting in serious bodily injury or death
- Crimes committed against a child
Any crimes that are not listed above are eligible for a New Mexico expungement. However, when it comes to getting your record expunged, the law distinguishes between cases that did not result in a conviction and those that did. The primary difference in getting these cases expunged comes down to the amount of time you must wait to file an expungement.
Expungements in Cases Not Ending in a Conviction
If you were arrested and charged with a crime, but the case did not end in a conviction, you are most likely eligible for an expungement, provided the crime is covered under the New Mexico Criminal Record Expungement Act. Examples of this situation include cases that are withdrawn by the prosecution or thrown out by the judge, cases ending in acquittal (a not guilty verdict), and cases that are successfully resolved through your participation in a qualifying diversionary program. However, to obtain an expungement, you must wait for one year after the case ended to file for an expungement. During this period, you must not get arrested and cannot have any other open criminal cases. If you are arrested, this will delay your ability to obtain an expungement.
Expungements of Criminal Convictions
The New Mexico Criminal Record Expungement Act allows certain criminal convictions to be expunged from your record, making them inaccessible for anyone who pulls up your criminal background. This means that if you plead guilty or took the case to trial and were found guilty, you may still be eligible for a New Mexico criminal record expungement. The amount of time you must wait to file for expungement varies, depending on the type and seriousness of the offense. For example, most misdemeanors require a two-year waiting period, while a felony conviction requires a waiting period of between four to ten years. Also, any crime committed against a household member — misdemeanor or felony – requires a ten-year waiting period.
Getting Your Record Expunged
Just because you are “eligible” for an expungement does not mean that the judge will automatically approve your request to clear your record. For example, in some cases, the prosecution may object to an expungement. Under state law, the judge presiding over the case must determine that “justice will be served” by granting the expungement. The judge may consider the following factors:
- The nature of the offense;
- Your work history;
- Your prior record;
- How much time has passed since the conviction and since you completed your sentence;
- The negative effects you would experience if the expungement was denied; and
- Any input from the prosecutor.
Typically, a judge will want to know the reason why you are seeking an expungement. Those who can show that they have turned their lives around since their conviction is more likely to get their record expunged. Thus, creating a compelling case for expungement is crucial.
Importantly, if you are able to get your record expunged, there are still limitations on the benefits of expungement. For example, even if your record is successfully expunged, the court system may still be able to pull up your record for certain limited purposes. Most notably, this occurs if you get arrested again. In this case, an expunged record could be used as a reason not to allow you to participate in a diversionary program. Depending on the situation, an expunged conviction could also be brought up by the prosecution in a sentencing proceeding.
The expungement process can be complex and time-consuming, especially if the prosecution opposes expungement or your petition does not initially comply with the law’s requirements. Even a small error in the application process can result in a significant delay. Thus, those who are serious about expunging a criminal record should seek out the assistance of an experienced expungement attorney for immediate assistance
Are You Trying to Get a New Mexico Criminal Record Expungement?
If you are applying for housing or a job and have a criminal record from years ago, consider getting your record expunged. At the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, we help clients prepare expungement petitions and clean up their records, so they can put their past behind them and move on with their lives. With decades of combined experience handling all types of criminal cases, we have the knowledge, skill, and dedication necessary to see your case through to the end. To learn more about how we can help you with your New Mexico expungement, call us today or reach out through our online form.