There are many new laws to take note of as we start 2014. One law that will have a large impact is the new law that will allow individuals who have been convicted of certain class 3 or class 4 felonies to have those convictions sealed.
This is such a dramatic change because it will allow these individuals who were convicted of these felonies to have a chance at having a much more normal and active life. Without a conviction on their records, they will be able to try to get better jobs, which will impact their families as well. All too often, people who made one mistake in their lives, committed a crime and took responsibility and received a felony conviction for it will suffer a punishment long after their sentence is over. This is because the conviction stops them from getting better jobs and having all the rights they had before the conviction. This change in the law will help them to live much fuller lives.
There are limits to this new law. People convicted of only certain crimes, such as certain drug crimes, theft, forgery and other specific offenses, can take advantage of it. As it stands now, people convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) and violent crimes like domestic violence, gun offenses or sex crimes cannot have their convictions sealed. Also, depending on the basis for the conviction you may also be required to complete a drug program.
Additionally, you can't petition to seal the conviction right away. There is a wait of 5 years after the sentence was completed or since the individuals last arrest. This means there will still be a burden for individuals while they wait out these 5 years.
The Toney Law Firm is available to help you navigate the process to try to seal your record. It is important to also be aware of this new change in the law if you are facing current criminal charges, so that you can be aware of the consequences of a conviction.