As discussed in our previous blog post, Expungement...No Such Thing in Idaho?, Idaho does not expunge cases. Instead, criminal defendants may request a withheld judgment. If granted at the time of sentencing AND certain requirements are met after sentencing, the court can dismiss the case. You only get one withheld judgment in your lifetime in Idaho, so requesting one is a strategic decision that should be made at the time of sentencing.
It is not uncommon for our office to receive calls from potential clients asking why their 5 or 10-year case has not been dismissed despite being granted a withheld judgment at sentencing. And the answer is this: you do not receive the benefits of a withheld judgment until the court enters an order officially dismissing the case. An order can only be entered after all the terms of probation are complete, and the burden is on the defendant--and the defendant alone--to request the order.
So the timeline goes like this...first, you must request and be granted a withheld judgment at sentencing. You cannot go back to the court months or years after sentencing and request one. If you don't request it at sentencing, you have no chance of receiving a withheld judgment. Second, you must successfully complete your probation without issues and fulfill all the conditions of your probation, such as pay all restitution. Third, after probation is complete, you must file a motion with the court requesting that it retroactively dismiss the case for "good cause." Finally, you must wait for the court to enter an order dismissing the case.
Therefore, the burden is on the defendant to: (1) request a withheld judgment at the time of sentencing AND (2) go back to the court after successfully completing probation and request a dismissal. Although a withheld judgment will not completely erase all record of the case, our office has a high success rate of obtaining withheld judgments for our clients and believe they are effective in cleaning up a record.
Give our office a call if your case has not been dismissed, despite being granted a withheld judgment at sentencing and successfully completing probation, and we can help you obtain the dismissal you deserve.