Do you have a criminal conviction on your record in Montana? Do you want a fresh start in life? Is there anything that you can do? The Montana expungement process is often misunderstood. Today Marty Judnich will bust some of the most common myths about expungement in Montana.
Are you eligible for expungement?
Ready to put your past behind you? Check your expungement eligibility right now. It’s fast and easy!
Why pursue an expungement?
Here’s the biggest one: whenever you’re asked (like on an apartment rental or job application) you can now check “no” when asked if you’ve ever been convicted of a misdemeanor– assuming the expunged offense was your only offense, of course.
Hunting and gun ownership in Montana play a huge role in many people’s lives. Unfortunately, a misdemeanor conviction can affect your ability to own a gun, apply for a hunting license and actually hunt. A successful expungement can clear your record and restore your ability to enjoy the outdoors and your Second Amendment rights!
Myth #1: Any criminal conviction can be expunged in Montana
BUSTED: Felony convictions cannot be expunged in Montana. There is a separate procedure called conditional discharge that applies to felony convictions. However, that process simply ends probation early and will not erase a past felony conviction.
All misdemeanor convictions can be expunged in Montana and will be discussed further.
Myth #2: You can immediately expunge a misdemeanor conviction
BUSTED: Current laws in Montana state that you must wait at least five (5) years after the completion of a misdemeanor sentence to apply for expungement.
But completing your sentence does not refer to the date you were sentenced. Instead, completion means when court ended jurisdiction over the sentence. This is usually either six (6) months or one year after you were sentenced by a court.
Myth #3: The Court has to grant an expungement no matter what
BUSTED: The expungement law mandates that judges should expunge most misdemeanor convictions under usual circumstances. However, there are specific offenses such as DUI and Partner or Family Member Assault that the courts have the authority to deny expungement petitions for. But even still with the help of an experienced expungement lawyer, these convictions can usually be successfully expunged — but it’s not a guarantee.
Myth #4: I only get 1 shot at the expungement process and if it is denied I can never go back and try again
CONFIRMED: Gotcha! This one is true.
The expungement process is a one time opportunity and if not done correctly, will be an opportunity forever lost to try to clear your record.
For this reason, it is a good idea to hire an experienced attorney to present an accurate petition before the court. Working with a skilled expungement attorney ensures the process is done right.
You don’t want to waste your only opportunity to clear your record.
Myth #5: I can expunge my entire misdemeanor criminal record with multiple convictions
BUSTED: The current law only allows for the most recent misdemeanor conviction to be eligible for expungement.
If you have two or more prior convictions, only the most recent conviction is eligible for expungement. The older conviction is not eligible to be expunged.
Get help with your expungement in Montana
If you or a loved one would like a free consultation to discuss the opportunity to expunge a Montana misdemeanor from your record, contact the Judnich Law Office.
Give our office a call today at (406) 721-3354 to speak with one of our experienced attorneys. We’re here to help!
Marty is a former criminal prosecutor in the Cascade County Attorney’s Office and now uses that experience to defend those accused of crimes. A University of Montana School of Law graduate, Marty focuses his practice on personal injury and criminal defense and is a premier DUI defense attorney. He is also well versed in the insurance claims industry and has negotiated significant settlements with nearly every major insurance company.