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Serving all of RI Including the Warren, Providence, Cranston, Newport, Bristol, Warwick, Barrington, East Providence, and Pawtucket Areas
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In April of 2013, Attorney Allison C. Abilheira, argued a landmark case before the Rhode Island Supreme Court, State v. Doris Poulin. Her victory was a victory for all of those in Rhode Island with a criminal record. The Poulin decision gave individuals the opportunity to seal a criminal case, even if they had previously pled nolo contendere to a felony and received probation as a sentence.
The Rhode Island expungement lawyers at Abilheira Law, LLC have helped shape sealing and expungement law in Rhode Island and can help you erase your criminal record. If you would like to find out more, please reach out to our firm!
Ways to Clear Your Criminal Record
If you have a criminal record, there are two possible avenues to remove charges and/or convictions: Motion to Seal and Motion to Expunge. While the end result of both Motions to Seal and Motions to Expunge are the same, they are actually two different legal processes with unique eligibility requirements and policies behind them.
Our team of Rhode Island criminal defense attorneys can walk you through your rights, your viable options, and help you pursue the best legal path for your particular situation. When you come to our firm, you can be confident knowing we take the time to provide you with the support and personal attention you deserve.
Motion to Seal
A Motion to Seal removes a criminal charge from your record and is appropriate in situations where:
- You have been exonerated of a crime.
- This includes dismissals, a not guilty finding after trial, no true bill after grand jury proceedings, or no information after the felony screening process.
- You do not have a felony conviction on your record.
- Only felonies that resulted in a fine, a suspended sentence, or a term of imprisonment will qualify as a “felony conviction” so as to exclude someone from sealing a case.
- This disqualification does not apply to individuals found “not guilty” after trial. They may file a Motion to Seal regardless of a prior felony conviction.
A Motion to Seal can be filed on a misdemeanor or a felony.
Additionally, there is no waiting period for a Motion to Seal, meaning that individuals can file the Motion immediately after the acquittal or exoneration.
Motion to Expunge
A motion to expunge removes a criminal case resulting in a probation sentence or conviction off your record. There are two types of Motions to Expunge: those for first time offenders and those with multiple misdemeanor offenses.
Motion to Expunge- First Time Offenders
Rhode Island General Laws § 12-1.3-2(a) allows for expungement for first time offenders. You may be eligible for this form of expungement if:
- You are a first time offender (you do not have any other misdemeanor or felony convictions or probation sentences)
- You have waited the requisite period of time since the completion of your sentence: five (5) years for misdemeanors and ten (10) years for felonies
- During the waiting period, you have not been convicted of nor arrested for any felony or misdemeanor
- There are no criminal proceedings pending against you
- You have exhibited good moral character
Motion to Expunge- Multiple Misdemeanor Convictions
Rhode Island General Laws § 12-1.3-2(b) allows the expungement of multiple misdemeanor convictions. You may be eligible for this form of expungement if:
- You have been convicted of more than one (1) but less than six (6) misdemeanors
- You have not been convicted of a felony
- You have waited ten (10) years since the completion of your last misdemeanor sentence
- During the ten (10) year waiting period, you have not been arrested nor convicted of any felony or misdemeanor
- You have no pending criminal cases
- You have exhibited good moral characters during the waiting period
Recognizing that criminal records can impact employment opportunities, higher education, government assistance, and housing, motions to seal and expunge were created by the Rhode Island Legislature as a way to give those with criminal records a second chance. Let our legal team help you get your second chance!
Schedule an Initial Consultation with a RI Expungement Lawyer Today
The skilled Rhode Island expungement attorneys at Abilheira Law, LLC, can help you achieve your second chance. If you believe you may fit into either of these categories, call our firm today and we can evaluate your specific case. If you are eligible for sealing or expungement, we can begin by filing a motion on your behalf and appearing in court to argue your case. With your criminal history sealed or expunged, you can start a new chapter in your life without the burden of a criminal record.
Now is the time to restore your reputation. Fill out a free evaluation to tell us about your case.