Building a DC Record Sealing Case

There are many different elements to building a strong record sealing case in the District of Columbia including the filing of various motions and the determining of your eligibility. Contact a DC expungement lawyer in order to ensure that your case is as strong as possible.

The following are frequently asked questions on how to build a strong defense in a record sealing case in DC.

What To Look For In a DC Record Sealing Cases

The first thing I want to know is why is this person trying to seal their record because that can inform the decision to file an innocence motion or interest of justice motion. I also want to know about the person’s full criminal history. I want to know about every time they’ve been arrested and what, if anything, they were charged with.

I also want to know how the cases ended. Were the charges dropped after a diversion program?  Were you acquitted at trial?  Were you convicted after a guilty plea? There’s a variety of ways a case can end and I need to know that in order to determine whether they are eligible to seal their record, and if so, by which means.

And I also want to know very broadly what the person has been doing since they were arrested. Have they done nothing, have they been employed, did they serve in the military? That information is going to help me inform them about their options on how to seal their records.

Many people want to know how long the process is going to take. They want to know if anybody is going to still be able to see this record after it’s sealed. They want to know if they are potentially good candidates to have their record sealed.

There’s no way to predict exactly what a court or prosecutors are going to do, but my extensive experience with these kinds of cases has given me insight into what might be successful and what might not be successful in a record sealing case.

Challenges of Record Sealing Cases

The most challenging part about record sealing cases is they vary so much. They’re very fact specific, so every motion is going to be different, everyone has a different story that they’re telling the judge and that’s a lot of what these motions are about. They’re telling a story to a judge about why this person may have a troubled past, but they no longer act that way.

The other thing that makes these cases challenging is really disappointing people because of the way the statute is written. Some people are never going to be eligible to seal their record and they’re going to have to live with that criminal record. That can be a heavy burden.

And that’s always heartbreaking particularly for people who might have come from a rough background and did some bad things when they were teenagers or in their early 20’s. Now, they’re 50 years old, have two kids in college and they’ve been married for twenty five years. And I have to tell them “Sorry, this is just something that you can never have sealed.” That is an incredibly frustrating and saddening message to deliver.