My Expungement Was Denied, Why?
A criminal conviction on your record can limit you in many ways. For example, you could encounter difficulty obtaining employment or securing an apartment, both activities that might require a background check. This could happen based on your arrest record, even if you were never convicted for the alleged offense. New Mexico has extensive laws for expunging your criminal record. You could potentially clear your criminal record of eligible entries with an expungement. When you expunge a criminal record, members of the general public can no longer access that record.
New Mexico requires you to satisfy numerous qualifications to obtain an expungement. In some cases, the reasons for a denied expungement relate to a lack of understanding of those qualifications. If you need your criminal record expunged or your expungement was denied, our team at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices is here to help.
New Mexico Expungement Laws
New Mexico’s Criminal Record Expungement Act defines expungement as “. . .the removal from access to the general public of a notation of an arrest, complaint, indictment, information, plea of guilty, conviction, acquittal, dismissal, or discharge record, including a record posted on a publicly accessible court, corrections or law enforcement internet website. . .” Most expungements fall into one of two categories: (1) expungement of an arrest and (2) expungement of a conviction.
Even if you are not convicted, an arrest shows up on your criminal history. Thus, if law enforcement arrests you on suspicion of committing a criminal violation but the prosecutor decides not to bring charges, that arrest still shows up when a potential employer runs a background check.
Additionally, prosecutors sometimes offer a deferred sentence arrangement in lieu of a conviction. For these criminal records, you can typically obtain an expungement after successfully completing a diversionary program.
If you entered a plea agreement or were otherwise convicted of a crime, you can still potentially get your record expunged. However, if you wonder why an expungement would be denied, it’s helpful to know that certain types of convictions bar expungement. New Mexico prohibits individuals convicted of the following crimes from expunging their conviction:
- Crimes against children;
- Sex crimes;
- Offenses involving driving under the influence; and
- Offenses that caused great bodily injury or death.
New Mexico considers these crimes particularly serious and indicative of a person’s criminal tendencies and, therefore, bars their expungement.
Other Reasons for a Denied Expungement
There are a number of other qualifications necessary before you can successfully obtain an expungement. As a result, many individuals find the expungement process frustrating and confusing. An expungement lawyer at the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices can help walk you through the process and ensure that you know whether you qualify for an expungement.
Before you can file for an expungement, you have to wait a certain amount of time. The length of time you have to wait depends on the category of offense for your conviction. Typically, a more serious offense has a longer waiting period than a lesser offense. Some of the wait times for certain offense levels are provided below:
- Municipal ordinance violation: two-year waiting period;
- Most misdemeanor convictions: two-year waiting period;
- Fourth-degree felony conviction: six-year waiting period;
- First-degree felony conviction: ten-year waiting period; and
- Any conviction for a crime committed against a household member: ten-year waiting period.
During the mandatory waiting period, you cannot receive additional criminal convictions. If you get arrested during the waiting period but are not convicted of the charge, you can still secure an expungement once your newest case is closed.
Interest of Justice
To secure an expungement in New Mexico, you must complete all of the requirements associated with your conviction. For example, if you were ordered to pay restitution, the restitution must be paid in full. Otherwise, you would avoid the full extent of your punishment by having the conviction expunged.
In New Mexico, a court can only grant an expungement if the judge finds that “justice will be served” by doing so. When determining whether an expungement would serve the interests of justice, the court considers:
- The defendant’s age, employment history, and prior criminal record;
- Consequences of the inability to obtain an expungement;
- Amount of time that has passed since you completed your sentence;
- Amount of time that has passed since you committed the crime;
- Nature and gravity of the underlying offense; and
- Objections raised by the district attorney.
The district attorney can object to the expungement on any of the grounds the court can use to consider granting the expungement. If the district attorney presents evidence of numerous arrests without a conviction, you run the risk of having your expungement denied.
With an expungement attorney, we can help prepare an argument that demonstrates why granting your expungement would serve the interests of justice. Reach out to our office today to get started.
Was Your Expungement Denied in New Mexico? Contact Our Team of Lawyers Today for Assistance
At the New Mexico Criminal Law Offices, our lawyers understand the negative impact an arrest or criminal conviction can have on your life. We can help you get a fresh start by helping secure an expungement of your criminal record.
Our lawyers have over two and a half decades of combined experience representing individuals charged with criminal violations. During that time, we have helped countless clients expunge their arrest records and criminal convictions. We pride ourselves on giving every client the individual attention their case deserves. If you want to know why your expungement was denied or would like to begin the expungement process, contact our office today at 505-200-2982 or contact us using our form to get started on your free consultation.