RI Expungement Blog

Discussing current issues involving the expungement of Rhode Island criminal records while providing insight and assistance those seeking expungement.

New Push for Expungement Bill in the Rhode Island General Assembly

As detailed in the Providence Journal last week ('At the R.I. Assembly: New push for expungement bill'), the Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved new expungement legislation which now awaits approval in the Senate.  The Bill seeks to correct the current expungement law involving deferred sentences.  Currently, the Rhode Island Expungement Law treats individuals seeking to expunge deferred sentences differently based upon when the sentence was imposed.  There are currently three tiers to Rhode Island’s treatment of deferred sentences for expungment purposes.

The legislation pending in the Rhode Island General Assembly would seek to correct the inequitable treatment of those deferred sentences which were imposed between January 2001 and July 2010.


If you plead nolo contendre and received a deferred sentence more than 15 years ago (January 25, 2001 at the time of this blog post), you are now eligible to have your deferred sentence expunged.  This is because, under the most extreme reading of the Rhode Island expungement law with respect to deferred sentences, you have completed your five year deferred sentence agreement AND waited the ten years required by the Rhode Island Supreme Court prior to the expungement of your case.  If you fall into this category, do not delay and move promptly to ensure that your deferred sentence is expunged.


If you plead nolo contendre and received a deferred sentence sometime between January 2001 and July 2010, your deferred sentence will be treated differently for expungement purposes.  Unlike those cases that occurred before January 2001, you have not waited the required fifteen years (five years for the deferred sentence and ten years after that) to have your case expunged under the current interpretation of Rhode Island’s expungement case law. 

Moreover, you do not enjoy the benefit of the legislation passed in 2010 to allow individuals to expunge their deferred sentences after only five years.  The 2010 Expungement law update states that any individual who receives a deferred sentence is eligible to expunge the case upon completion of the deferred sentence agreement.  However, the Rhode Island Supreme Court has only applied this law prospectively, meaning it does not apply to cases which were resolved prior to the passage of the law in July 2010.

The effect of this is that those individuals who received deferred sentences between January 2001 and July 2010 must wait fifteen years (five years for the deferred sentence agreement and ten years after that for the expungement waiting period) prior to expunging their record.  The current legislation being considered by the Rhode Island Legislature in 2016 would seek to correct this inequity and allow individuals in this 2001-2010 timeframe to expunge their deferred sentences now.


Those individuals that received a deferred sentence after the July 2010 passage of the Expungement Law update are permitted to expunge their cases immediately upon the successful completion of the deferred sentence agreement.  Neither the Supreme Court nor any pending legislation would alter or change this eligibility timing.


We understand that the Rhode Island Expungement law is complicated.  We also hope that this information has been informative and helpful.  If you are confused or unsure of the expungement eligibility of your deferred sentence, give us a call or fill out our free expungement consultation form.  We would be happy to review your case and give you a no-nonsense opinion regarding your eligibility.  Call us today at 401-228-8271.

Expunging Acquittals After Trial: A Little Know Exception

In 2015, the Rhode Island Legislature passed a little know amendment allowing individuals who have been acquitted of criminal charges by Judge or Jury after trial to expunge records related to those arrests regardless of their prior criminal history.  Contact Attorney Matthew Marin for more information at 401-228-2817.

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President Obama Tells Federal Agencies to "Ban the Box" on Federal Job Applications

Earlier this month, President Obama announced a new executive order to reduce potential discrimination against former convicts in the hiring process for federal employees.  The belief by proponents of such bills, including the President, is that if disclosure of such records is made later in the hiring process these convicts are more likely to be hired.  If, as is often the case, the disclosure is made at the outset of the process these applications are screened out and the applicant's qualifications are never reviewed.  According to the Justice Department, approximately 60-75% of former inmates cannot find work within the first year.  You can read the full story as covered by NBC News by following the link below:




Expunging A Suspended License Charge in Rhode Island

Suspended license charges in Rhode Island present a myriad of issues when looking to have these charges expunged from your record.  Unlike many other criminal charges, the sentence for driving on a suspended license in Rhode Island can vary from case to case, court to court, and Judge to Judge.  Generally speaking, for a first offense driving on a suspended license in Rhode Island one can expect to find the following possible sentences:

  • Dismissal pursuant to Rule 48A
  • Dismissed with Court Costs
  • $250 Fine plus Court Costs

For expungement purposes, the Dismissal pursuant to Rule 48A (which means by the Prosecutor/Police) and Dismissed with Court Costs are treated the same.  Both are immediately eligible for expungement after the dismissal is complete (as long as you do not otherwise have a Felony Conviction on your record).  There is no Court imposed expungement fee to have the case removed and there is no waiting period before the case can be expunged and removed from your record.

If you were charged with a first offense driving on a suspended license and were sentenced to a $250 fine, you need to review your other criminal history to determine if you are eligible for expungement.  If you have no other criminal record, you would be eligible to have the case expunged from your record after waiting five years from the date of the conviction.  If you have other charges/convictions on your record, it is in your best interest to have an experienced Rhode Island Expungement lawyer review your record and determine if you are eligible to have the case expunged from your record.  If you are eligible to have the case expunged from your record, once the process is complete the Court will impose a $100 expungement fee payable to the Court in which your case was handled.

If you have ever been charged or issued a ticket for Driving on a Suspended License in Rhode Island, contact Attorney Matthew Marin today for a no obligation expungement consultation to determine if the case can be expunged and removed from your record.  We are available 24/7 at 401-228-8271 or by email at marin.matthew@gmail.com.

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U.S. Federal Judge Says Its 'Time For A Change' in Expungement Law

Last week, Eastern District Judge Raymond Dearie lamented the fact that he could not erase the criminal record of a woman who successfully "turned her life around."  Arecent Article in the New York Law Journal details Judge Dearie's comments.  Judge Dearie went on to say that basic ideas of fairness provide that someone who makes a mistake deserves a second chance.

Unlike in Rhode Island, there are no Federal statues which provide for the expungement of an arrest record.  Most Federal Courts have declined to follow a 1977 ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit which held that expungement was a power given to a judge's "equitable discretion" though the relief should be granted in "extreme circumstances."

While the Rhode Island expungement statutes are much more liberal and broad than the equitable powers of the Federal Judges, there are still highly frequent instances in which the Rhode Island expungement laws are extremely harsh and unfair.  Moreover, the Rhode Island Expungement statute provides our Judge's without any discretion to grant an expungement if it does not fit the precise terms of the expungement statute.  

Much can, and should, be done to alter the harsh and unfair nature of the Rhode Island Expungement statutory scheme.  First and foremost, Rhode Island Judge's should be granted the discretion to grant expungements even if they do not meet the technical requirements of the Expungement statute.

If you are one of the 65 million Americans living with a criminal conviction and dealing with the collateral consequences of that record, contact Attorney Matthew Marin today for a no obligation expungement consultation to see if we can help clear your record.  We are available 24/7 at 401-228-8271 or by email at mm@matthewtmarin.com.

Full Text of the New York Law Journal Article can be found here:


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Great Article Detailing "The Joy of a Clean Slate"

One of the pleasures of assisting Clients through difficult junctures is the light at the end of the tunnel.  Fortunately for our Client's, Rhode Island has relatively liberal expungement laws allowing those charged and in some cases convicted of criminal misdemeanors and felonies to have their criminal records sealed and expunged.

As was the case recently in Maryland, each year Rhode Island tweaks the expungement laws to allow individuals to expunge more records and, in some cases, to have them expunged in a faster period of time.  If you have a criminal case on your record, give us a call today so that we can provide you with a no obligation, free expungement consultation.  We are available 24/7 at 401-228-8271 or via email at mm@matthewtmarin.com.

Please find a link to the Baltimore Sun Article titled "The Joy of a Clean Slate" below:


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RI House Approves Bill that would Ban Public Disclosure of Decriminalized Marijuana Possession Charges

Earlier this month the Rhode Island House of Representatives approved a bill that would clarify the treatment of adult violations of Rhode Island civil violations of the marijuana law.  At conflict is whether to treat civil violations of possession of one ounce or less of marijuana as a publicly available "conviction" or to seal them from public view.

The prevailing view, prior to the introduction of the House bill, was that these civil violations were not publicly available records.  However, conflicting statutory provisions put that interpretation in doubt.  In an effort to clarify the situation and end all doubt, the House bill would seal first and second offense civil violations for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana from public disclosure.  The bill now requires passage in the Senate prior to becoming law.

To read the full article as covered by Katherine Gregg in the Providence Journal, follow this link:  http://www.providencejournal.com/article/20150505/NEWS/150509566/13764


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