Who is eligible? A first-time offender who has successfully completed his or her sentence.
What constitutes a “conviction”? “Conviction” means a fine, a period of probation and/or “suspended” time, or any period of incarceration.
When can you get your conviction expunged? If you are a first-time offender under the State’s expungement law, a misdemeanor conviction is eligible to be expunged five (5) years after the successful completion of the sentence; a felony conviction is eligible to be expunged ten (10) years after the successful completion of the sentence.
What’s the difference between an expungement and sealing your record? A “filing” (which means staying out of trouble for one (1) year as a sentence in a misdemeanor case) or a “deferred” sentence (which means staying out of trouble for five (5) years as a sentence in a felony case), if successfully completed, would not constitute a conviction. If you receive a filing or a deferred sentence in your case, immediately after your filing or deferred sentence is completed, you can move to seal the case (which would have the same effect as expunging a conviction from your record).
Exceptions to expungement law:
“Crime of violence” – pursuant to R.I.G.L. § 12-1.3-1(1), the following crimes are ineligible to be expunged:
assault with intent to commit first-degree sexual assault
assault with intent to murder
assault with intent to rob
entering a dwelling house with intent to commit larceny
entering a dwelling house with intent to commit murder
entering a dwelling house with intent to commit robbery
entering a dwelling house with intent to commit sexual assault
first-degree child molestation
first-degree sexual assault
kidnapping with intent to extort
larceny from the person
second-degree child molestation
second-degree sexual assault
Domestic misdemeanor filing – if you have received a filing on a misdemeanor involving a domestic offense (i.e., domestic assault, domestic failure to relinquish a telephone), you cannot have the sentence sealed for three (3) years after the successful completion of the one-year filing period. R.I.G.L. § 12-1-12(c).
To contact Attorney Godin about a criminal matter in RI that you would like to have expunged/sealed, please call The Law Office of Katherine Godin, Inc. at (401) 274-2423 or email her at email@example.com.
 You can immediately move to seal your deferred sentence if you were sentenced after June 25, 2010. If you received your deferred sentence prior to June 25, 2010, you must wait ten (10) years after you have successfully completed your five (5) year deferment period. The reason for this is that the Rhode Island legislature did not make deferred sentences immediately sealable until 2010. Unfortunately, several Rhode Island Superior Court judges have found that this new legislation is not retroactive to sentences imposed before the effective date of the legislation. R.I.G.L. § 12-19-19(c).