As reported by John Hill in the March 9, 2011 edition of the Providence Journal, a new bill has been introduced to the Rhode Island General Assembly regarding job applications and criminal convictions. The proposed bill would prevent businesses from asking job applicants if they have a criminal conviction during the initial application process. Only once the business decides the person is qualified for the job, could the business inquire about the applicant's criminal record. Proponents of the bill wanted to ensure that applicants have a chance to explain their criminal past.
Pursuant to Rhode Island General Law 12-1.3-3, some people are eligible to have their criminal record expunged. The law states 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.
If the motion for expungement is granted, the Court will 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.