Expungement of Records

Expungement of Records

What does Expungement do and what doesn’t it do?

  • Removes public records (i.e., clerk’s office, NM Case Lookup, Background checks)
  • District Attorneys and courts still have access (i.e., habitual offender sentencing)
  • Should be very effective for most jobs, housing, stigma of publicity available record
  • The “Google” problem does not go away
  • “Proceedings treated as if they never occurred”
  • A person may reply to an inquiry that “no records exist” (with an exception)


Who is not eligible?

If you were convicted for crimes against children, sex crimes requiring registration, DWI's, embezzlement, great bodily harm, or death to another human being, you are NOT eligible for expungement.

When can you apply for Expungement? 

Eligibility is determined from the date of completion of your sentence NOT from date of your conviction.

If you were the victim of identity theft you will immediately be eligible for expungement. You may apply for expungement after one year for any non-conviction including dismissed charges and conditional discharge.


If you have been convicted of a violation of a municipal ordinance, misdemeanor or felony, you may file your petition in the district court after:

(a) Two years if the petition relates to a conviction for a violation of a municipal ordinance or a misdemeanor not otherwise described in this list;

(b) Four years if the petition relates to a misdemeanor conviction for aggravated battery as provided in Subsection B of Section 30-3-5 NMSA 1978 or to a conviction for a fourth-degree felony not otherwise described in this list;

(c) Six years if the petition relates to a conviction for a third-degree felony not otherwise described in this list;

(d) Eight years if the petition relates to a conviction for a second-degree felony not otherwise described in this list; or

(e) Ten years if the petition relates to a first-degree felony or for any offense provided in the Crimes Against Household Members Act, Section 30-3-10 through 30-3-18 NMSA 1978 (This includes misdemeanor and felony Battery or Assault Against a Household Member convictions)

What factors does the court consider in deciding to expunge your records?

  • Nature and gravity of the offense or conduct that resulted in a conviction.
  • The persons age, criminal history, and employment history.
  • The length of time that has passed.
  • The specific adverse consequences if petition denied.
  • Any reasons to deny expungement submitted by the District Attorney.


What is the process?

  • A Petition is filed
  • The Court will set up a hearing date.
  • After the hearing, the district court will either grant or deny the petition.


What to Expect from Expungement:

Even after expungement, your records are not destroyed, but they will no longer be available to the general public.

The types of records that are removed are:

  • Arrests • Complaints • Indictments • Guilty Pleas • Convictions • Acquittals • Dismissals/Discharges
  • Arrest or conviction records may still be available for use in any future criminal proceedings.
  • Courts, law enforcement, and other criminal justice agencies will continue to have access to your records after expungement.

For anyone else who asks about records that have been expunged, all agencies must respond that no such record exists with respect to such person.There is an exception to this for any application or query regarding employment at any financial institution regulated by financial regulatory authorities or the Securities and Exchange Commission. Arrest or conviction records are disclosed to these regulators

Ramona Martinez-Salopek