Even though you may have successfully had charges dismissed against you in Rhode Island, they may still appear visible to employers, family, landlords and other members of the public. You may want to get those charges "sealed" to prevent people from seeing and accessing the disposition of the charge. Attorney David Ellison has filed countless Motions to Seal on behalf of his clients in Rhode Island. We may be able to help determine if you are eligible to seal a charge.
Eligibility for a Motion to Seal Rhode Island
A sealing can be done on a misdemeanor or felony charge in Rhode Island. In order to be eligible for a sealing, you must have the following:
- have been acquitted or otherwise exonerated of all counts in a criminal case, including, but not limited to, dismissal or filing of a no true bill or no information
- have not been convicted of a felony (there is an exception here to seal for an acquittal after trial)
- satisfied in full any and all outstanding court-imposed and/or court-related fines, fees, costs, assessments, and/or charges
What is the Law for a Motion to Seal?
A Motion to Seal comes from Rhode Island General Laws § 12-1-12.1 “Motion for sealing of records of persons acquitted or otherwise exonerated.”
(a) Any person who is acquitted or otherwise exonerated of all counts in a criminal case, including, but not limited to, dismissal or filing of a no true bill or no information, may file a motion for the sealing of his or her court records in the case, provided, that no person who has been convicted of a felony shall be entitled to relief under this section except for those records in cases of acquittal after trial.
(b) Any person filing a motion for sealing his or her court records pursuant to this section shall give notice of the hearing date set by the court to the department of the attorney general and the police department that originally brought the charge against the person at least ten (10) days prior to the hearing.
(c) If the court, after the hearing at which all relevant testimony and information shall be considered, finds that the person is entitled to the sealing of the records, it shall order the sealing of the court records of the person in that case.
(d) The clerk of the court shall, within forty-five (45) days of the order of the court granting the motion, place under seal the court records in the case in which the acquittal, dismissal, no true bill, no information or other exoneration has been entered.
(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, in all cases involving a filing subsequent to a plea of not guilty, guilty, or nolo contendere to a charge of a crime involving domestic violence, the court having jurisdiction over the case shall retain the records of the case for a period of three (3) years from the date of filing. The records shall not be expunged or sealed for a period of three (3) years from the date of the filing.
(f) The defendant shall be advised at the hearing that any and all bail money relating to a case that remains on deposit and is not claimed at the time of sealing shall be escheated to the state's general treasury in accordance with chapter 12 of title 8.
If you have a charge that you believe is eligible for sealing and may need some assistance in doing so, do not hesitate to contact Rhode Island Sealing Lawyer David Ellison today at 401-230-5520.