If you’ve ever been convicted of a crime in North Dakota, you may be wondering if it’s possible to get that conviction removed from your record in any capacity. When you have a criminal record, it can deeply impact your ability to secure employment, housing and so much more. In many cases, it is possible to get your records sealed in North Dakota. However, the process is quite specific and there are some limitations, so it’s important to hire an attorney to assist you in the process to be sure it’s done correctly.
Background of Record Sealing in North Dakota
While there is not an “expungement” process in North Dakota, there are other ways to have your record sealed. It’s common to assume expungement and record sealing are one in the same, but that’s not accurate. An expungement is the complete removal of the criminal record, while record sealing is a bit more detailed. When a record is sealed, its existence and details will not be released unless authorized by a court order. There are certain ways it can be accessed, but the general public will not have access to your records.
Am I Eligible For Record Sealing?
Only eligible individuals may petition to have their records sealed. Eligibility for misdemeanors includes at least 3 years since being charged with a new crime, as well as 3 years since incarceration, parole or probation. For felonies, it is 5 years since being charged with a new crime, as well as 5 years since incarceration, parole and probation.
However, even if you meet this criteria, some individuals are still not eligible to petition for record sealing. For instance, if the offense includes violence or intimidation AND falls into the timeframe of not being allowed to own a firearm. Additionally, if the individual is required to register as a sex offender under North Dakota law, they are also ineligible.
Steps to Sealing Your Record
Hiring an experienced record sealing attorney will help significantly in navigating the complicated steps to getting your record sealed in North Dakota. An overview of what will be done includes:
Petitioning The Court
When petitioning the court, the individual needs to provide their full name along with any other legal names, entire criminal history, regardless of the state or country it occurred in, addresses they have lived at since the date of the offense, and reasons they’d like the records sealed.
Hearing On The Petition
Following the filing of the petition, the court will hold a hearing on it. This may not be held any sooner than forty-five days after the filing, allowing time to receive any input from witnesses, law enforcement, victims and correctional facility employees who may be familiar with the petitioner and/or their offense.
Outcome Of The Petition
Following this hearing, the court will grant or deny the petition. Upon being granted, the record is sealed. However, if the petition is denied, the record cannot be sealed and the individual must wait an additional 3 years to petition again.
Get a Professional on Your Side
Record sealing without an experienced attorney assisting is quite difficult. Contact the experts at Severin Law Firm today to close that chapter and get your records sealed!