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Expungement/sealing a criminal record in the District of Columbia is accomplished by filing a Motion (a written request to the Court)to Seal in DC Superior Court.
The key difference between expunging a person’s criminal record and sealing it is that a sealed record still “exists” in both a legal and physical sense, while expungement results in the deletion of any record that an arrest or criminal charge ever occurred. In the District of Columbia only drug possession charges can be sealed. Other eligible misdemeanor cases are sealed. Expungement in the District of Columbia means your criminal record is erased. There is no longer any trace of the record. Sealing a criminal record in the District of Columbia means the record is hidden or sealed so that the record is not visible to the public without Court approval. In the District of Columbia most criminal records are sealed as opposed to expunged. The only criminal record that may be expunged in the District of Columbia is simple possession of drugs cases. For all intents and purposes sealing and expungement are the same thing in the District of Columbia.
Almost all traffic convictions and most misdemeanor convictions can be sealed in the District of Columbia? In fact, the misdemeanors that are not sealable are called ineligible misdemeanors. The record can be sealed as long as the waiting period has been satisfied. Here is the list of ineligible misdemeanors
Yes all arrest records can be sealed as long as the waiting period has been satisfied. Remember arrest are different from convictions.
Another question you may have is If a record is sealed, the government deletes or limits access to it. A sealed record can generally not be used against you if you are applying for a job, in other background checks or in certain legal proceedings. There are two levels of sealing under the new Criminal Records Sealing Act: a. Actual innocence(DC Code § 16-802)- arrest and case records are permanently sealed b. Interest of Justice(DC Code§ 16-803)
There is a huge difference between an arrest and a conviction. However, there is a public record for an arrest as well as for a conviction. You should seek to seal an arrest and a conviction.
Have you ever been arrested and never charged with a crime? Were you charged but the case against you was dismissed? Were you found not guilty at trial or placed on deferred prosecution or deferred sentencing for a misdemeanor? Did you have a trial and then found guilty? Did you plead guilty in Court? If the answer to any of these questions is, “Yes,” then you currently have a criminal record.
Conviction means that you were found guilty after a trial, or pled guilty or pled nolo contendere (“no contest”) to the charges. Your Superior Court records will show the disposition of your case. There are four principal parts of a criminal proceeding: arrest, charge(s), conviction and sentence. Generally, you only receive a sentence (punishment) if you were convicted of a crime. If the proceeding against you did not go beyond arrest or charging, you were not convicted. The Court can, however, require you to meet certain requirements, such as community service, drug treatment and educational programs, without having to convict you. You may have received such “punishment,” but were not convicted under the law. You were convicted if: You were found guilty at a trial or you pled guilty. It is also a conviction if you found not guilty by reason of insanity or if you pled nolo contendere (no contest). You were NOT convicted if:
In order to get a copy of your complete D.C. criminal record, you should go to the Metropolitan Police Department or Superior Court. 1.Metropolitan Police Department Records 300 Indiana Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20004. 2. DC Superior Court 500 Indiana Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20004
The only felony that can be expunged in the District of Columbia is Felony Bail Reform Act Violation.
Ineligible Misdemeanor List
The process is started by filing a motion to seal in DC Superior Court. A motion is your request for the Court to do something for you. After you file the motion the Court will give the Prosecutor time to respond. Thereafter, the Court will reach a decision of whether to seal your record.
No misdemeanors do not just go away in DC without you filing a motion with the Court to seal. There is no automatic right for the case to go away.
No, most cases are sealed based on the representations made in the motion.
It usually takes about 90 days from the date of filing for the Court to make a decision
Let us Help You – DC EXPUNGEMENT & SEALING LAWYERS
Rollins & Chan offers personalized legal counsel to each and every client. We understand how important it is to clear your criminal record, and we have the knowledge and experience to guide you through the process efficiently. We offer free initial consultations in which we evaluate your case to determine if your record can be expunged or sealed.
Read our Blog on Sealing on Actual Innocence
See Our Video on Ineligible Misdemeanor offenses for Expungement
See our Video on Getting your Criminal Record
Rollins and Chan Law Firm
By: Vargha Tebyanian
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I was very impressed by the knowledge, professionalism, efficiency, responsiveness, and attention to detail that these 2 amazing attorneys manifested through my experience with them. They listened to all of my concerns and addressed each issue one at a time and took the time to explain everything in lengthy detail. This made me feel comfortable and they delivered on what I requested from them exactly as they promised. I HIGHLY recommend these 2 for your legal services. I promise you, you will not find a better duo., A++
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