Rhode Island Expungement Lawyer
Motion for Expungement
Under Rhode Island law, an individual may have all records, reports, and evidence of their arrest and/or conviction destroyed if they meet certain conditions set out by statute. An expungement is highly valuable as it could remove evidence of a past event that could have a major effect on your future employment and personal life. A skilled Rhode Island expungement lawyer will file the appropriate motion, provide notice to the arresting police department as well as the Attorney General’s Office, and argue the motion on your behalf before the appropriate court. Generally speaking, an expungement can take place immediately after a dismissal, 5 years after the completion of a sentence for a misdemeanor, and 10 years after completion of a sentence for a felony.
12-1.3-2 Motion for expungement.
(a) Any person who is a first offender may file a motion for the expungement of all records and records of conviction for a felony or misdemeanor by filing a motion in the court in which the conviction took place, provided that no person who has been convicted of a crime of violence shall have his or her records and records of conviction expunged.
(b) Subject to subsection (a) of this section, a person may file a motion for the expungement of records relating to a misdemeanor conviction after five (5) years from the date of the completion of his or her sentence.
(c) Subject to subsection (a) of this section, a person may file a motion for the expungement of records relating to a felony conviction after ten (10) years from the date of the completion of his or her sentence.
12-1.3-3 Motion for expungement – Notice – Hearing – Criteria for granting.
(a) Any person filing a motion for expungement of the records of his or her conviction pursuant to § 12-1.3-2 shall give notice of the hearing date set by the court to the department of the attorney general and the police department which originally brought the charge against the person at least ten (10) days prior to that date.
(b) The court, after the hearing at which all relevant testimony and information shall be considered, may in its discretion order the expungement of the records of conviction of the person filing the motion if it finds:
(1) That in the five (5) years preceding the filing of the motion, if the conviction was for a misdemeanor, or in the ten (10) years preceding the filing of the motion if the conviction was for a felony, the petitioner has not been convicted nor arrested for any felony or misdemeanor, there are no criminal proceedings pending against the person, and he or she has exhibited good moral character;
(2) That the petitioner’s rehabilitation has been attained to the court’s satisfaction and the expungement of the records of his or her conviction is consistent with the public interest.
(c) If the court grants the motion, it shall order all records and records of conviction relating to the conviction expunged and all index and other references to it deleted. A copy of the order of the court shall be sent to any law enforcement agency and other agency known by either the petitioner, the department of the attorney general, or the court to have possession of the records. Compliance with the order shall be according to the terms specified by the court.
12-1.3-4 Effect of expungement of records – Access to expunged records – Wrongful disclosure.
(a) Any person having his or her record expunged shall be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the crime of which he or she had been convicted, except, upon conviction of any subsequent crime, the expunged conviction may be considered as a prior conviction in determining the sentence to be imposed.
(b) In any application for employment, license, or other civil right or privilege, or any appearance as a witness, a person whose conviction of a crime has been expunged pursuant to this chapter may state that he or she has never been convicted of the crime; provided, that if the person is an applicant for a law enforcement agency position, for admission to the bar of any court, an applicant for a teaching certificate, under chapter 11 of title 16, a coaching certificate under § 16-11.1-1, or the operator or employee of an early childhood education facility pursuant to chapter 48.1 of title 16, the person shall disclose the fact of a conviction.
(c) Whenever the records of any conviction and/or probation of an individual for the commission of a crime have been expunged under the provisions of this chapter, any custodian of the records of conviction relating to that crime shall not disclose the existence of the records upon inquiry from any source unless the inquiry is that of the individual whose record was expunged, that of a sentencing court following the conviction of the individual for the commission of a crime, or that of a bar admission, character and fitness, or disciplinary committee, board, or agency, or court which is considering a bar admission, character and fitness, or disciplinary matter, or that of the commissioner of elementary and secondary education, or that of any law enforcement agency when the nature and character of the offense with which an individual is to be charged would be affected by virtue of the person having been previously convicted of the same offense.
(d) The custodian of any records which have been expunged pursuant to the provisions of this chapter shall only release or allow access to those records for the purposes specified in subsections (b) or (c) of this section or by order of a court. Any agency and/or person who willfully refuses to carry out the expungement of the records of conviction pursuant to § 12-1.3-2, or this section or willfully releases or willfully allows access to records of conviction, knowing them to have been expunged, shall be civilly liable.