What Evidence and Arguments Can You Use in DC Record Sealing Cases?

If you are hoping to seal or expunge your record in DC, you may be wondering what kind of evidence and arguments you can present in favor of sealing your record. Below, a DC record sealing lawyer answers some commonly asked questions about the evidence and arguments that you can use to build your case. For more information, contact an attorney today.

What Are The Most Common Arguments in DC Expungement Cases?

Typically there are more interest of justice motions filed than actual innocence motions filed. Part of that is because anyone who is convicted of a crime is not eligible to file an actual innocence motion so that really limits the pool of people who file actual innocence motion.

But also, it’s much harder to prove someone to be factually innocent of a crime than it is to show that someone who was arrested one time ten years ago has moved on, reformed themselves, and become a productive member of society.

You know there’s a huge amount of literature on people aging out of crime, how crime is a young man’s game, that kind of thing. Somebody at 60 is very different than that same person was at 20. That person might have been guilty of the crimes for which they were arrested at 20, but for whatever reason, they were never convicted. 40 years later that person is going to be able to prove he is a changed man and fairness dictates that he finally be released from his record.

Another large advantage to the interest of justice motion is that a person may file one motion to seal an entire criminal record instead of one motion per case, as is required for an innocence motion. For example, somebody has three arrests and no convictions on his record. He can file one interest of justice motion to seal all those records.

If he is going to file an innocence motion, he needs to prove he was innocent in each of those cases in individual innocence motions. And that takes a lot more time, it’s much more costly, and for some people it’s much more beneficial to finish the process quickly and have it all done in one motion.

Can You Present New Evidence in DC Record Sealing Cases?

Absolutely. Particularly in the interest of justice cases, all of the evidence is really going to be new, because the motion is about what has the person done since they were arrested or since they were convicted. In the innocence cases, often those kinds of motions are filed after somebody was arrested for a crime, but never actually charged with the crime for whatever reason. So, there won’t have been very much evidence collected. So that person is going to need to go collect his own evidence and provide that to the judge for the judge to review to prove that they were innocent.

How is Expungement Different From Criminal Cases?

Well, administrative cases are really a different animal – they don’t involve the criminal code. Administrative cases involve violations of government regulations.

As far as these record sealing cases go when compared to a criminal case, the main difference is this isn’t a criminal prosecution, the government is not accusing anybody of a crime. They’ve already accused them or they’ve already arrested them for it.

So, everything here in the record sealing case is driven by the clients. He or she decides that they want to get their record sealed. He or she retains an attorney, that attorney drafts the motions, collects the evidence, and  files the motion on behalf of the client. There are certain deadlines written into the statute, but all of them can be adjusted by a judge in the judge’s discretion, at least to a point.

And the biggest difference is that the client’s liberty is not on the line in this motion – they’re not going to end up in jail if the motion is denied.