Any criminal conviction can have serious and life-long implications.Today's job market is incredibly competitive - a criminal conviction, however inconsequential or seemingly irrelevant, can be the difference between a dream job and unemployment. Additionally, a criminal conviction can have an effect on your ability to get Federal Student Loans, housing, a professional license, security clearance, etc. It is understandable that one of the most common questions I get is about "expunging" or erasing a criminal conviction.
If you are being held back by past conviction, I can help.
Unfortunately, in this digital era, you are never going to get all records from a case completely removed from the public eye; anything that was once on the internet is always going to be there. Now I am willing to bet this is a little disappointing, most people who are interested in expungement want their conviction “completely off” their record - as if it never occurred. This is just not going to happen. Additionally, even if you could erase all the records for the internet, Idaho, unlike many other states, doesn't have a mechanism to do this (call you local state legislator to complain, not me). A search for your case on the Idaho State Repository, now becoming iCourts, will always show a record of your case.
The only exception to this rule is if the court has sealed the case. Generally, Idaho courts are unwilling to seal a case except under very rare circumstances. Most of the time this is limited to juvenile or certain domestic relations cases unless the defendant can show some dire reason for the case to be sealed.
Even if the Idaho records were sealed or expunged, there would be a record on the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC). This is a national database that only law enforcement personnel have access to, but that record lists every arrest and every charge in your history. It is very rare for these records to ever get expunged or erased.
However, this does not mean your record is stuck looking the way it does forever! The good news is that in Idaho, you get one Withheld Judgment. ONE. If you plead guilty to a charge, whether misdemeanor or felony, you can ask the court to grant you a Withheld Judgment. This means that the Court will never actually enter a judgment of conviction against you. The case will behave as if you were convicted, this is not a get out of jail free card - you will still have to complete any punishment and probation the court orders in the case - however, after you have successfully completed probation, you can ask to have your case dismissed. The true advantage to a Withheld Judgment is that it allows you to honestly say that you have not been convicted of a crime.
Even if you were not granted a Withheld Judgment In Idaho, you can have your case dismissed based on Idaho Code 19-2604. Pursuant to this statute, if you successfully completed your probation without issue and you can show good cause, you may have your case retroactively dismissed. This means that instead of "Guilty" the record will read "Dismissed By Court." While this might not completely erase all record of the case, I have had a very high success rate with this option. It is effective in cleaning up my client's records and it is relief that the court is willing to provide.
The last option that I believe is worth perusing is a reduction in the conviction. If you were convicted of a felony you may be eligible to have the case retroactively reduced to a misdemeanor. Again, this will not completely erase all record of the case but removing a felony conviction can drastically change your life. This is also relief that the court is typically open to granting as long as the defendant completed probation without issue.
Gun Rights Restoration
Many of the people interested in cleaning up their record are seeking to have their gun rights restored. You lose your right to own, purchase, or possess a gun when you are convicted of any felony or a misdemeanor domestic violence offense. In order to restore these rights you must petition the Idaho Commission of Pardons and Parole. Unfortunately, this is not a quick process and can take years to complete. However, the help of an attorney may speed up this process. I have assisted many people through this process and have a high rate of success. If you are interested in restoring your gun rights, call me for a free consultation.