Attorney for Expungement and Restoration of Rights

Attorney for Expungement…

Proudly Serving Wyoming and South Dakota

Having a criminal record can make it more difficult to find a job, rent an apartment, or get into college or technical school. If you were convicted of a crime you may have had to forfeit some of your rights such as the right to vote, to serve on a jury, to hold office and, in some cases, to bear arms.

If you have a criminal record, you might be eligible for an expungement and to seek restoration of your rights. However, the process can be complicated and an experienced expungement and restoration of rights attorney can help.

What Is Expungement?

Expungement is the process of removing or having your criminal record sealed from public view. Once your criminal record has been expunged you can truthfully answer, in all but a few limited circumstances, that you do not have a criminal record.

If you were charged with a crime but never convicted, you may be eligible to have your criminal record expunged in as little as 180 days after you were arrested. If you were convicted, depending on the nature of the crime, you may have to wait anywhere between 6 months to 10 years after your sentence has expired.

Why Should You Have Your Record Expunged?

Criminal records are used for a variety of purposes, including background searches conducted by employers when applying for a job, when renting an apartment, and when applying for school. Having a criminal record can make it more difficult to get hired, find an apartment, or be accepted into the school of your choosing. By having your criminal record expunged, no one other than law enforcement can see your criminal record, which can make it easier to put your criminal record behind you and move forward with your future.

Criminal records are more than just court documents and convictions. They also include arrest records, even if the criminal charges were eventually dismissed. Criminal records can be difficult to understand, and it is helpful to have an attorney review your criminal record to determine whether your record can be expunged and to help you with the expungement process.

Types of Expungement

If you have a criminal record as a juvenile (i.e. you committed a crime when you were under age 18) your juvenile record will be automatically sealed when you turn 21. Otherwise, the nature of your criminal record will determine whether you are eligible for expungement, the expungement statute that applies, and how long you will need to wait before you are eligible for expungement.

Non-Conviction Expungement

If you were charged but never convicted, the record or your arrest can be expunged under W.S. §7-13-1401 if:

  1. At least 180 days have passed since the arrest or from when the criminal charge was dismissed;
  2. There are no formal charges pending when the expungement request is made; and
  3. At least one of the following is true:
    1. You were not convicted of any criminal charge relating to the event that led to the arrest (in other words, there was a full acquittal on all charges, if any); or
    2. no criminal charges of any kind were filed against you as a result of the event that led to the arrest; or
    3. the prosecutor or court dismissed all criminal charges against you relating to the event.

Misdemeanor Expungement

If you were convicted of a misdemeanor you can apply for expungement under W.S. §7-13-1501 if:

  1. At least one (1) year has passed after the end of a sentence for a status offense (something that is only illegal for certain groups of people, such as consuming alcohol if you are under age 21) or at least five (5) years have passed since the end of a sentence for a non-status offense;
  2. The misdemeanor did not involve the use of a gun; and
  3. You are not a substantial danger to yourself, any victim, or society.

Felony Expungement

If you were convicted of certain eligible felonies you may be eligible for expungement under W.S. §7-13-1502 if:

  1. At least ten (10) years have passed since:
    1. the end of the sentence, including probation; and
    2. the completion of any court-ordered program; and
    3. full payment of any court-ordered payment to the victims (restitution); and
  2. You have not pled guilty, no contest, or been convicted for any other felonies; and
  3. No guns were used in the felony for which you seek expungement; and
  4. You are not a substantial danger to yourself, any victim, or society.

Violent crimes, sexual crimes, and felony DWUIs are not eligible for expungement

How a Lawyer Can Help with an Expungement

If you are considering expungement, a lawyer can help by obtaining your criminal record and reviewing it to determine whether you are eligible for expungement. If you are eligible, a lawyer can file a Petition for Expungement with the appropriate court. If there are any objections to the expungement the case will be set for a hearing and the judge will decide whether expungement is appropriate.

Once your record has been expunged it can only be viewed by law enforcement. Other sources that previously published information about your criminal record, such as internet and newspaper articles, will remain available to the public.

Restoration of Rights

A person convicted of a felony forfeits many rights, including the right to vote, to serve on a jury, and to hold office. Violent offenders forfeit their right to bear arms. To regain these rights, you must apply for a restoration of rights through the Department of Corrections.

First-time offenders convicted of nonviolent offenses will automatically have their right to vote restored if they completed their sentence after January 1, 2010. People convicted of a violent crime or who have been convicted of multiple offenses must apply for a restoration of rights under W.S. §7-13-105.

Applying for a restoration of rights is a complicated process, particularly for violent offenders or people with multiple criminal convictions. An experienced lawyer can help.

Get Help from Just Criminal Law

At Just Criminal Law, criminal defense attorney Christina L. Williams and her dedicated team of criminal defense professionals are here to help with expungement and restoration of rights. If a criminal conviction is making it more difficult for you to move forward towards a successful future, contact us today by calling 307-686-6556, emailing, or completing our online form. Spanish language services are available upon request.