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What is Expungement?
An expungement is like clearing the record of your offense and giving you a fresh start.
Until recently, misdemeanors in Montana couldn’t be expunged. Thanks to changes to state law, that has changed. An expungement is when you petition the court to have records of your misdemeanor offense destroyed.
How Does Expungement in Montana Work?
- Must have completed the entire misdemeanor sentence– including fines, any conditions of sentencing, etc.
- Has to be at least 5 years since you completed all terms of your sentence. Does not mean 5 years since sentencing. In reality, the more time that has passed, the more likely your expungement will be successful.
- You can’t have been charged with any new offenses since completing your sentence.
- You must file a petition in District Court. Must meet all of the legal requirements: this means you need the help of a lawyer to do this right the first time.
- If your crime harmed a victim, the victim will be contacted and asked for his or her input.
What Happens If Your Expungement Is Successful
If your expungement is successful, the case is dismissed and all legal records relating to your misdemeanor, including court records will be destroyed. This means there will be no record that you were ever arrested, charged, convicted, or sentenced.
Remember, a judge can say no to an expungement request. The most common reason is if the judge believes that expunging your conviction would put public safety at risk. For example, the court will take a harder look at crimes like:
- Partner or Family Member Assault (Domestic Assault)
- Protective Order Violation
- Misdemeanor DUI
DUI Expungement in Montana
Misdemeanor DUI convictions in Montana can now be expunged, but they will be looked at very closely by the courts and are less likely to be successful. The court will look at:
- Time since conviction and sentence. Remember the 5-year minimum is just that, a minimum.
- Likelihood to reoffend. The more assurance you can provide that you’ve been a good person and have turned your life around, the more likely your expungement will be granted.
Why Fight For An Expungement in Montana?
Here’s a big one: when applying for a job, you can now check “no” when asked if you’ve ever been arrested or convicted of a misdemeanor– assuming the expunged offense was your only offense, of course.
An expungement is a great way to put your past behind you and move forward with your life.
Contact The Judnich Law Office To Learn More
At the Judnich Law Office, we’re experts in Montana expungement law. We take every case seriously and we’ll take the time to examine every detail of your case.
That’s why our past clients have received such great results!