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How does expungement work?

A criminal conviction could change a person’s life, and so might an expungement. A successful expungement process may lead to records associated with an arrest or conviction becoming sealed. Once sealed, others may never find out about the record unless the person who procured an expungement decides to make a disclosure. State laws vary, and New Mexico residents must follow local rules when hoping for the desired outcome.

Expungements in the state of New Mexico

New Mexico allows significant latitude for persons seeking an expungement of their criminal records. Many felonies and misdemeanors are eligible for expungement consideration. However, several are not, including ones involving children, certain violent crimes and sexual assault. Anyone seeking an expungement may benefit from discussing their eligibility with a criminal defense attorney before going forward.

Waiting periods exist for specific crimes and convictions. One person may apply for an expungement sooner than another individual as statutes dictate different waiting periods for certain convictions. An attorney may explain the state’s laws regarding eligibility, the waiting time required for specific convictions and when the waiting time starts. With some convictions, the eligibility clock may begin at the end of the convicted person’s sentence, not when the person begins the sentence.

The value of an expungement

The expungement of a criminal record presents many potential benefits for someone looking to put past history behind them. Public databases and other resources would no longer reveal information about dispositions and convictions. A background check could look much more positive when such information no longer registers.

Expungements may open doors to a new life. Employers, landlords, and others might have prejudices against someone with a criminal record. Thanks to the expungement process, not only could someone benefit from sealed records, but the person could answer in the negative to questions about previous convictions.

How to begin the process

Filing the specific paperwork to request an expungement is necessary. Errors and omissions might undermine the process, so it’s important to seek professional help. A criminal law attorney may assist with each step.