Misdemeanors & Your Record

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A criminal conviction has the potential to follow you for the rest of your life. Although the majority of convictions are not for violent crime or other major offenses, any conviction leaves a mark on a person’s criminal record. Fortunately, however, the legal system has provided ways to clear minor convictions from your criminal record. This process is called expungement.

Expungement has the potential to repair many of the difficulties a criminal record can cause. Many workplaces refuse to hire anyone with a criminal record. If you have a conviction cleared from your record, many of the jobs that were out of reach solely because of your history will now be attainable.

Misdemeanors vs Felonies

In the United States system of criminal law, crimes are divided into two main categories: misdemeanors and felonies. Felonies are the more serious offenses and usually involve prison sentences. Crimes that are felonies include arson, robbery, assault, and certain property-related or financial crimes. The effects of a felony on your lifestyle can be severe: in many states, convicted felons lose the right to vote.

Misdemeanors are considered less severe crimes and are less likely to be punished by jail time. Often punishment only consists of community service and/or fines. Petty theft, DUIs, and vandalism are usually misdemeanors. In comparison to a felony conviction, a misdemeanor conviction tends to have less severe effects. You can still vote and run for office, but a record can make it difficult to get certain jobs and licenses.

Expungement

There are certain conditions that must be met in order for a crime to be expunged. In most cases, you need to have completed all the requirements handed down by the court before you can apply for expungement. Importantly, only misdemeanor crimes can be expunged. Felony crimes are extraordinarily difficult to remove from a record: an overturned conviction and a Presidential pardon are among the only ways.

In Rhode Island, all crimes except for “crimes of violence” are eligible for expungement. Crimes of violence are offenses such as murder, armed robbery, and assault. The State of Rhode Island also only grants expungement to first-time offenders. If you have multiple convictions on your record, you cannot have one expunged.

If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime, you may be able to remove it from your record with the help of a expungement attorney. A skilled Rhode Island expungement lawyer understands your situation and has the knowledge to help you clear your record.

Joseph Devine

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