In 2019, New Mexico passed the “Criminal Record Expungement Act”. This new law went went effect on January 1, 2020, and it allows many individuals to have their arrest or conviction records expunged. With respect to criminal convictions, in most cases, the law allows a person in who has been convicted of a violation of an ordinance, misdemeanor, or felony to petition the district court for an order to expunge arrest records and public records related to that conviction.
A person may also expunge arrest records and public records related to a case when there was no conviction if has been at least one year from the date of the final disposition of the case and there are no other charges or proceedings pending against that person. Such records can be located by members of the public online in most cases and may have resulted from any of the following situations:
- you went to trial but were acquitted or the judge entered a directed verdict;
- the state decided not to proceed with the case (filed a nolle prosequi), the court dismissed the case before trial, or you were arrested but the grand jury decided not to indict;
- you were referred to a pre-prosecution diversion program;
- you received a conditional discharge; or
- the proceedings were discharged for some other reason.
Most people recognize that having a criminal conviction on your record can create numerous difficulties, including obstacles in obtaining employment, housing, and professional licensing, among other things. Even if you ultimately were not convicted of the charges, however, the records of your arrest and/or the fact that charges were filed will still appear on your public record and may still cause many of those same difficulties, as well as others. Perhaps your coworker, boss, or a prospective dating partner decides to do a case search on the court’s website and, in doing so, comes across a case in which you were wrongfully arrested and charged with something you did not do. Even if the case disposition reflects that the charge was later dropped, the allegations alone may negatively affect their perception of you. Consequently, even if prior charges have since been dismissed or you were acquitted, asking the court to expunge those public records is still a worthwhile endeavor.
If you aren’t sure if your case qualifies for expungement, contact an attorney, or simply click Here to take our short survey to see if you may be eligible for expungement.
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