For first-time offenders, Rhode Island has established expungement procedures. These laws apply to both misdemeanor and felony offenses. A copy of the conviction record will be provided upon request by the Department of Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Identification Unit. These records are obtained for a fee.
The legal process of removing an arrest or conviction from a person’s criminal record is known as expungement. A motion is filed in the court where the conviction was handled under Rhode Island law. The Attorney General’s Office will either grant or deny the expungement after ten days. When an expungement is granted, the arresting police department is notified and the file in question is expunged. The court clerk’s office will set a date for at least ten days after the filing date.
Certified copies of the court order will be provided to the Attorney General, the arresting police department, and the probation department after an expungement has been granted. Each department will either destroy the record on paper or electronically, or both.
Eligibility for Expungement
Except for crimes of violence, all criminal charges in Rhode Island may be expunged. First degree arson, manslaughter, murder, robbery, larceny from a person, kidnapping with intent to extort, first degree sexual assault, first degree child molestation, second degree sexual assault, second degree child molestation, assault with intent to murder, assault with intent to rob, burglary, larceny, sexual assault, entering a dwelling house with intent to murder, and assault with intent to commit first degree sexual assault are examples of violent
First-time offenders in other crimes may have their criminal records expunged. A first-time offender in Rhode Island is someone who has never been convicted of or placed on probation for a misdemeanor or felony. This must be applicable to the crime at hand, whether it is a felony or a misdemeanor. Those who have been previously placed on probation are ineligible. For eligibility, no other criminal proceedings may be present in court.
An individual must wait a certain amount of time after committing a crime before filing for expungement. The time period is determined by the crime classification, and no other criminal convictions may have occurred in the interim. Those seeking misdemeanor expungement must wait five years after the completion of any outstanding cases, convictions, or probation before applying. Those seeking expungement for felonies must wait ten years after their convictions, probations, and pending cases have been completed before applying.
Even if a person files for expungement and meets all of the requirements, an expungement may not always be granted. Expungement is at the judge’s discretion and is granted on a case-by-case basis. Before granting the request, the judge will consider the convictions, the individual’s past behavior, the success of rehabilitation, the individual’s purpose in assisting the community, and the moral character of the individual. If the court does not find the request to be in its favor, it will be denied. A lawyer is frequently recommended for a smooth and quick process.