Can my criminal history be expunged in Rhode Island?


The presence of criminal arrests or convictions on your record can devastate your ability to get or keep a job, not to mention ruin your reputation. Maintaining a clean criminal history and expunging old records should be your top priority.


Recent changes in Rhode Island criminal laws have substantially increased the possibility of expunging prior criminal convictions. Prior to these changes, in Rhode Island you could only expunge a conviction if you were a first offender, that is, you had no other prior or subsequent criminal convictions.

Today, under Rhode Island law you can now expunge multiple misdemeanor convictions under certain conditions:

  1. You cannot be convicted of a felony
  2. You cannot be convicted of more than five misdemeanors
  3. You need to be trouble-free for ten years since your last misdemeanor conviction sentence was completed

Keep in mind that expungements are always discretionary, and the court could insist upon proof of good moral character. In addition, all outstanding fines, fees and costs must be paid in full.


The changes in the expungement law do not affect Rhode Island’s current laws concerning the sealing of dismissed cases. In Rhode Island, criminal convictions are expunged but dismissals are sealed. Any case that involves a sentence of probation, jail or fine must go through the expungement process. A dismissed case can be sealed so long as you do not have a felony conviction.

So, what exactly is a conviction under Rhode Island law? A conviction, for purposes of the expungement statute, is any sentence that includes probation, suspended jail time, jail time or a fine. Deferred sentences are not convictions under Rhode Island law so long as they are successfully completed.

If you have a criminal history that you would like to expunge, contact my office to schedule a free consultation. You may be eligible to expunge your record now, or you may be eligible to pursue post-conviction relief against one or more prior convictions to make your expungement eligible.

Schedule your free consultation now: 401.421.1440.