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  • How to Expunge a Felony in New Mexico

    Posted on by JACK MKHITARIAN

    How to Expunge a Felony in New MexicoHaving any conviction on your record can create problems for you. And felony convictions typically cause more significant issues than misdemeanors. You might be wondering how to expunge a felony in New Mexico. If so, you probably already know that felony convictions make it tougher to find a job, get a professional license, locate suitable housing, apply for a loan, vote, own a firearm, and further your education. And if you are not a citizen—even if you are in the country legally—you might run into immigration issues if you have a felony conviction.

    Don’t let a mistake in your past ruin your future. At the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, we believe that you should not have to pay over and over for one mistake. We help people expunge their felony convictions so that they can get beyond their troubled pasts and move on to brighter futures for themselves and their families. Contact us today to find out what we can do for you.

    What Is Expungement?

    Expungement is the legal process courts use to delete a criminal charge from the public view. Once the expungement process is complete, there will be no public record of your charges, arrest, police report, booking, sentence, or probation. The expungement order applies to online databases maintained by public entities, so it’s as if your arrest never happened. Any record of an arrest or a conviction will not appear on your background check except when you try to purchase a firearm. That means that, when asked, you could truthfully and lawfully state that you have no record of the arrest and do not have a conviction.  

    However, you should be aware that your arrest records will continue to exist. The district attorney, law enforcement, and certain federal agencies can view the documents for a limited purpose, but the public cannot see them for any reason. You should also be aware that an expungement order does not apply to private entities or websites that might possess your information, such as a local TV station. 

    Can a Felony Be Expunged?

    The New Mexico Criminal Record Expungement Act indicates that the court can grant an order expunging certain felony convictions. The law allows for the expungement of records upon release without a conviction. Release without a conviction refers to dispositions such as the following:

    • Acquittal or not guilty findings;
    • No bills (the opposite of true bills, “no bills” occur when the grand jury finds that the prosecution has failed to present enough evidence to indict);
    • Nolle Prosequi;
    • Dismissals;
    • Successful completion of pre-prosecution referral programs; and
    • Discharges.

    In other words, the case must end in your favor to apply for an expungement for a felony without consideration of the severity of the charges.

    The law is not as favorable if you want to expunge a felony conviction. You cannot file a petition to expunge your felony conviction if any of the following apply:

    • The charges involved an offense committed against a child, 
    • Someone suffered great bodily harm or died, 
    • Your conviction was for a sex offense, 
    • Your conviction was for embezzlement, or 
    • You were convicted of a DUI.  

    Also, the judge must determine if expunging your conviction meets the ends of justice. The judge will consider your age, personal history, the offense severity, adverse consequences you’ll endure if the court denies your petition, the length of elapsed time between the crime and petition filing, and any reasons the district attorney presents in opposition to your petition. 

    How Do I Expunge My Record in New Mexico?

    The law says you must file a petition to expunge in the district court that heard your case. You have to do some homework before filing your petition. First, you need to know your criminal history. You should ask the court that heard your case for a copy of your criminal record that was generated for your case. That will give you a good starting point. However, you might also want to look at your criminal history as a whole. You can do so by requesting a copy of your FBI background check. You will need a copy of your RAP sheet from the New Mexico Department of Public Safety to submit to the court 90 days before you file your petition. Our lawyers are very familiar with the expungement process and could help you collect the documents you need to file in conjunction with your expungement petition.

    The law requires you to file a petition in the district court to begin the expungement process. The particulars of your situation determine which version of the expungement petition your attorney will file. The forms differ if you have a conviction or if you have a release without a conviction. 

    Ironically, your petition to expunge becomes a public record when you file it in the clerk’s office unless you ask the court to seal it. A knowledgeable lawyer will file a motion to seal your petition when filing your petition to expunge. 

    The law establishes waiting periods for people who wish to expunge their records. A person who received release without a conviction must wait for one year before filing a petition to expunge. Individuals with felony convictions must wait for the time specified in the statute. The waiting periods change depending on the type of charges you have.

    Why Choose the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices to File Your Expungement Petitions?

    Working with our skilled and experienced criminal defense lawyers ensures that the expungement process goes as smoothly as possible. You can only put your case behind you if you meet the requirements to expunge your case. We will work with you to accumulate all relevant information, file all documents timely, and comply with the notice requirements to the district attorney and other entities as the law requires.

    Most importantly, we will fight for you. Even though you can file the paperwork on your own, you probably have a different level of experience arguing in court than our lawyers do. Our attorneys have decades of courtroom experience aggressively advocating for our clients and protecting their rights.  

    Contact New Mexico Criminal Law Offices Today.

    There is too much riding on the outcome of your petition to leave it up to chance. Your future and your family’s future will be in excellent hands when you allow the experienced, knowledgeable attorneys from our office to represent you. Our lawyers are proud to say that no one will work harder. Our track record of results proves what we can do. Contact us today for a free consultation.