Expunge My Record. Please! – Guest Post By Courtney Peterson

She's back from the slippery south, and my daughter Courtney Peterson has joined my practice, at least for now. After spending the past couple years as a prosecutor in Idaho and Kentucky, she serves up her first post here. Want your prior criminal conviction dismissed or expunged in Idaho? Here's what you need to know… Idaho Code § 19-2604 is our state's expungement law and it allows a judge to expung a criminal record after the successful completion of probation. The statute applies to three types of convictions – (1) sentences that have been imposed but suspended, (2) sentences that have been withheld, and (3) sentences where a judge has retained jurisdiction over a defendant who has completed a "rider." The statue provides that if a defendant has at all times complied with the terms and conditions of probation, a judge may terminate the sentence or set aside the plea of guilty or conviction of the defendant and finally dismiss the case and discharge the defendant. In the case of a sentence where a rider has been given without a withheld judgment, a judge may amend the judgment to misdemeanor conviction. There are two key phrases to keep in mind when reading § 19-2604. The first is "at all times." For purposes of this statute, complying with that language means that a defendant must strictly abide by all the terms and conditions agreed upon when placed on probation. What happens if your probation officer or the state files charges against you for allegedly violating your probation and then dismisses those charges because you've cleaned up your act and have become a model probationer? You are likely not entitled to that conviction being expunged. The Idaho Supreme Court addressed this idea of strict compliance in State v. Thompson when it stated "The phrase 'at all times' means just that. A defendant who has at any time filed to do what he or she was required to do while on probation in a particular case has not at all times complied with the terms and conditions of his or her probation." Just one hiccup on probation could mean that you will not qualify to have your criminal record expunged. The second key phrase to keep in mind if you want a complete dismissal of your conviction is "may." A judge MAY dismiss your conviction if he or she finds that (1) you've at all times abided by the terms and conditions of your probation and (2) it is compatible with the public interest. Is expunging your record compatible with the public interest? Probably. Expunging your record will most likely make it easier for you to obtain employment and once again become a productive member of society. Have you complied completely with your probation? That's the question. Want to see if your record can be expunged? Give us a call and we will be happy to talk about your case.

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