Rhode Island Record Expungement Lawyer

Expunging Your Criminal Record in Rhode Island

Even minor criminal convictions will appear on a background check. They can affect your ability to find employment and housing, get credit and loans and obtain various licenses. They can even end up working against you in cases of divorce, child custody and adoption.

For minor offenses, the state provides a way for you to essentially clear your record and avoid these problems. Once you complete the process and a court orders your record expunged or sealed, these offenses no longer show up when your background is checked. The expungement process can be complicated – it’s best to consult a Rhode Island record expungement attorney for any questions you have regarding your case.

Record Sealing Versus Record Expungement

In Rhode Island, there are two devices for clearing your record: sealing and expungement. The effect is the same but the process for obtaining them differs.

Most people are surprised to learn that acquittals and dismissals remain part of their record, but they do.  Any background check would still turn up the fact that the charges were filed. There is a court fee for expungement, but not for sealing.

Who is Eligible for Record Expungement?

Rhode Island imposes three requirements for the right to have our criminal record expunged:

Who is a “First Time Offender”?

The Rhode Island expungement law is very specific on this point. To qualify as a first-time offender you must not:

Waiting Period

There is a prescribed period of time that must pass between when you completed the sentence that was imposed for the crime you want expunged and the time you seek expungement. In general:

Other time periods apply to special categories of cases. For example, if you received a deferred sentence after a plea of guilty or no contest, five years must pass from the time of that sentence. A three year period applies to cases of domestic violence.

Criteria for Granting Record Expungement

Expungement is not automatic. Satisfying the eligibility criteria described above merely gives you the right to apply for expungement. The final decision remains with the judge, who is required by law to examine whether:

Effect of Record Expungement

Expungement clears your criminal record when it comes to answering employment questions or testifying as a witness. You are no longer prevented from exercising most civil rights that are restricted for people with convictions.

Your conviction may, however, still be used as a prior offense to increase the severity of a sentence if you commit another crime. The expungement law also requires that the conviction still be disclosed in any application for employment in positions that call for special trust, such as law enforcement, the practice of law, or teaching.

Call an Experienced Rhode Island Record Expungement Attorney

Getting your record expunged or sealed can tricky. The processes must comply with the technical requirements of the law. Common questions that arise during this process include:

Rhode Island criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor Stefanie A. Murphy has been successfully defending people charged with crimes in Rhode Island for more than 11 years. If you are, or think you may be, eligible to have your record sealed or expunged, she can help. If you have already had your record expunged but something went wrong and your conviction remained public information, she can help. Call the Law Offices of Stefanie A. Murphy today for your free consultation.