A misdemeanor conviction in Idaho can result in a range of penalties. These may include a few days behind bars, fines, probation, court-mandated community service, license suspension, and more. The penalties for a misdemeanor offense are typically light. However, it is the indirect impact of a misdemeanor conviction on your life that may be more daunting for you.
The conviction becomes a part of your criminal record. This means that potential employers, landlords, and others can see the misdemeanor offense on your record during a routine background check. Even if the conviction has been caused by a very minor offense, the presence of the charge on your record can cast a poor light on your reputation. This has a real bearing on your social opportunities.
This is why you may want to have the misdemeanor charge removed from your record. There are several ways of going about it. Here is a look at these.
Getting a Misdemeanor Expunged
One of the ways to get rid of a misdemeanor charge from your record is to have it expunged. When a charge is expunged, it is effectively removed from your record for good. As a result, anyone checking up on your background will not be able to see that you were charged with a misdemeanor.
However, qualifying for expungement is hard and this is an option in very few cases. This is because you can typically have a record expunged only if you were acquitted, or if you were not charged following an arrest. If your misdemeanor arrest or conviction meets these requirements, you have the option of having your record expunged.
Deferred sentencing, which is available under Idaho Code Section 19-2601, is also known as partial expungement or withholding judgment. In deferred sentencing, a judge allows you to complete community service or some other form of probation. The judge also postpones a definite pronouncement of your innocence or guilt until you complete the probation.
In most cases, the charges are dropped at the end of deferred sentencing. If you are able to avail yourself of deferred sentencing following a misdemeanor offense, the details of your arrest may still appear on your record but a criminal conviction will not be a part of the record.
Having Your Record Sealed
Depending on the unique circumstances of your misdemeanor case, you can also have your record sealed. When your record is sealed, this means that the physical and electronic records of the particular conviction are no longer accessible or viewable for the public.
To have a record sealed, you will be required to file a motion. The court then holds a hearing to determine whether your request to have a record sealed is suitable. Typically, you have a valid reason for having a record sealed if it contains highly personal details or details that could result in financial harm to a person. You can also seek the sealing of a record if the public availability of its details can be libelous, or create a security risk for one or more persons. It is also possible to argue that a record needs to be sealed in order to allow a person the right to a fair trial, as the availability of the record can bias the parties that view it.
It is typically quite hard to qualify for a record sealing. However, you have another option that you can avail of if record sealing isn’t available for your misdemeanor conviction.
Idaho Code 19-2604 allows you to seek a dismissal of the charges from your criminal record. This is usually available if you pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge and then underwent the requisite probation. Unlike expungement or sealing, Idaho courts are more willing to consider retroactive dismissal requests.
Once you make such a request, the court will require you to show that you have a good cause for dismissal. If the court then approves your request, your criminal record will show ‘dismissed by the court’ instead of showing ‘guilty.’ This can make a huge difference in many cases.
Hire a Drug Possession Defense Lawyer in Boise, ID
If you have been charged with drug possession in Boise, Idaho, it is important to get legal help. A good lawyer will help you explore your legal options and see how best to defend you so that the charges against you are reduced or dropped. Here at Hooper Law, we offer drug possession defense in Idaho cases. We can help you get a misdemeanor possession charge expunged, sealed, or dismissed from your record. Call us today to discuss your options in a free consultation.