Updated: February 01, 2021 10:44 PM
Created: February 01, 2021 09:30 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Hundreds of New Mexicans had their criminal records wiped clean last year thanks to the Criminal Expungement Act.
In the first full year under the law, the courts granted 212 expungements all across the state. In Bernalillo County, there have been 102 expungements granted to date.
"In our district we've seen about 260 petitions filed," said Josh Allison, 2nd Judicial District Court Judge.
"We expected double, triple, even quadruple that number and we just haven't seen those figures," said Judge Allison. "I think it's just people don't know about it. And I think that's probably the large part—we did see a dip in cases when the public health emergency initially started, but now we're back ramping back up to where we were pre-pandemic statewide. So I don't think that's the cause—I think it's likely people just don't know about it."
Most of the expungements granted in Bernalillo County have involved people with criminal records without convictions. Other possible expungements include those with criminal records that included convictions and expungements due to identity theft.
While there is a waiting period before you can apply for an expungement, some crimes are simply not eligible under the law.
"DWIs for example those are not allowed to be expunged, crimes against children—not allowed to be expunged. Violent crimes in many cases are not allowed to be expunged and then also embezzlement," said Judge Allison.
If you're interested in applying for expungement, you have to petition the same court where the criminal charges were heard. The process itself can take anywhere between three to eight months—and you don't necessarily need a lawyer to apply.
The Second Judicial District Court provided the following resources for people interested in expungement:
The court's Center for Self-Help and Dispute Resolution can assist people with filling out the forms to enter a petition for expungement. That center has three phone lines that can be called, as well an email address through which requests for help can be submitted.
Second Judicial District Court's Center for Self-Help and Dispute Resolution:
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