Thursday, December 26, 2019

New Mexico Expungement Law Takes Effect January 1st 2020


Photo Credit: NPR


The New Mexico Legislature passed House Bill 370, The Criminal Record Expungement Act, in 2019 which permits those convicted of certain violations, misdemeanors, or felonies -- following the completion of their sentence and payment of applicable fines -- to petition the court for an order to expunge arrest records and public records related to that conviction. Those seeking to vacate misdemeanor convictions must wait two years following the completion of their sentence, and have no subsequent convictions, prior to seeking expungement. Those with felony convictions must wait six-years prior to petitioning the court.

After a hearing on the petition, the court shall issue a ruling within 30 days.

The new law takes effect on January 1, 2020.

The New Mexico ACLU fought for the law, and it’s now making sure people who qualify take advantage of it. Those who cannot get their records cleared include people with convictions for DWI, embezzlement, sex crimes, crimes against children and homicides.

New Mexico is one of the last states in the country to pass this type of law. Prosecutors and police would still have access to past criminal records.

For more information about what convictions qualify for expungement, click here.


What is a criminal record?70 million adults in the U.S. – about 1 in 3 Americans – has a criminal record that will show up on a routine background check. Convictions, dismissals, even mere arrests are public record and generally remain a public record unless they are somehow removed.

What is expungement?In New Mexico, expunged records are removed from public view and are no longer reported on background checks. A person whose record is expunged may answer “no” when asked if they have ever been arrested or convicted. District Attorneys and certain employers requiring security clearance may still have access to expunged records.

How will expungement help me?The American Bar Association estimates there are 48,000 ways a person can be affected by a criminal record in the U.S. These “collateral consequences” include housing, employment, occupational licenses, immigration, and many others.

What is eligible to be expunged?
Misdemeanor and felony dismissals, acquittals, and convictions with certain exceptions.
What are the exceptions?

Convictions for the following offenses are not eligible for expungement: DWI, Embezzlement, Sex Crimes (requiring registration), Crimes Against Children, and Violent Offenses resulting in Great Bodily Harm or Death of Another.

Learn more at the ACLU's Website: HOW DO I EXPUNGE MY RECORD? | https://www.aclu-nm.org/en/publications/how-do-i-expunge-my-record