Criminal Law Client Alert: Rhode Island Criminal Expungements and New Revisions to Expungement Laws

Why should I expunge prior criminal offenses?

In today’s world, employers, educational institutions, landlords, neighbors and even in-laws have access to more information than ever before including your personal criminal records.  Therefore, it is extremely important to take advantage of Rhode Island’s expansive criminal expungement statutes to ensure your prior transgressions don’t negatively impact you today.  Working with Barton Gilman’s experienced criminal defense and expungement attorney can help you get the second chance you deserve.

What types of criminal offenses can be expunged?

Generally, Rhode Island’s criminal expungement statutes allow for a wide variety of offenses to be expunged from your criminal record.

  • Charges were dismissed or found not guilty. First, if you were charged with a crime and ultimately had the charges dismissed or were found not guilty of those offenses, you are eligible to “seal” those records.  This is extremely important because despite the fact that you were exonerated of the charges against you, they will still be on your criminal record in the Rhode Island public access system as well as the Rhode Island Bureau of Criminal Information.
  • Convicted of misdemeanor or felony offense. Even if you were found guilty of a felony or misdemeanor offense, you will be eligible to expunge your criminal record if: (1) you are a first time offender, (2) you have waited the required period of time (5 years for misdemeanors and 10 years for felonies), and (3) you have not been convicted of a “crime of violence.”

New changes to expungement laws allow for expungement of convictions for decriminalized offenses

On July 2, 2018, Governor Raimondo signed House Bill 8355 into law which allows people to “have criminal conviction records expunged if the offense is decriminalized subsequent to the conviction.”  For example, the revisions to R.I.G.L. § 12-1.3-2 allows for the expungement of prior convictions for first offense simple possession of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, and delivery of marijuana.  The experienced criminal defense and expungement lawyers at Barton Gilman LLP have personally handled countless criminal expungements and are equipped to present sufficient proof regarding the decriminalized offense to seamlessly have the expungement granted.

For more information regarding Rhode Island criminal expungements and to determine whether your prior criminal charges and/or convictions are eligible to be expunged, please contact Gregory N. Hoffman at and Rui P. Alves at or by phone at 888.273.9903.

Gregory N. Hoffman focuses his practice on complex family law, criminal law, general civil litigation and probate matters. He actively practices in the courts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island litigating cases such as divorce, child custody, child support, domestic violence, criminal defense and personal injury.  In addition, Greg devotes a significant amount of time developing comprehensive and cost-effective solutions in the drafting of a variety of domestic relations agreements such as Separation Agreements, Marital Settlement Agreements and Antenuptial Agreements.

Rui P. Alves is an experienced Rhode Island and Massachusetts litigator and advocate in family law, criminal law and government relations matters in both state and federal court. Rui concentrates his practice on helping individuals and corporations craft solutions for complex issues related to domestic relations, criminal defense and government affairs.