As reported by Randal Edgar in the March 23, 2012 edition of the Providence Journal, a bill has been proposed in the General Assembly regarding expungements. The bill would require all fines and fees to be paid to the court before a case can be expunged. The bill includes proposals to make expungements automatic in certain types of cases, such as underage alcohol offenses and to make expungements automatic in domestic violence cases when the defendant received a filing. There is some opposition to the bill and it is currently being held for further study.
Under current Rhode Island Law 12-3.1-2, expungements are defined as:
(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.
A person is not eligible for an expungement, if he/she committed a crime of violence or committed multiple crimes. R.I.G.L. 12-1.3-1 defines "crime of violence" and "first time offender" as follows:
(1) "Crime of violence" includes murder, manslaughter, first degree arson, kidnapping with intent to extort, robbery, larceny from the person, first degree sexual assault, second degree sexual assault, first and second degree child molestation, assault with intent to murder, assault with intent to rob, assault with intent to commit first degree sexual assault, burglary, and entering a dwelling house with intent to commit murder, robbery, sexual assault, or larceny.
(3) "First offender" means a person who has been convicted of a felony offense or a misdemeanor offense, and who has not been previously convicted of or placed on probation for a felony or a misdemeanor and against who there is no criminal proceeding pending in any court.
Motions to seal are applicable in situations when a case is dismissed or a person was acquitted or exonerated of a crime. Motions to expunge are applicable to persons who plead guilty to a crime, but have not reoffended. Motions to expunge are time specific and if filed prematurely will be denied. Motions to seal can be filed anytime after the case concludes.
Pursuant to R.I.G.L. 12-1-12, motion to seal are defined as any person who is acquitted or otherwise exonerated of all counts in a criminal case, including, but not limited to, dismissal or filing of a no true bill or no information, may file a motion for the sealing of his or her court records in the case, provided, that no person who has been convicted of a felony shall have his or her court records sealed pursuant to this section.
If you or a family member have a criminal record and need an expungement, please allow Attorney Robert H. Humphrey's reputation, experience and skill to successfully guide you through the legal process. Please contact Attorney Robert H. Humphrey at 401-816-5862 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.