Even if you were never convicted of a crime, having an arrest record can limit your opportunities to secure employment and housing. It can also disqualify you from getting involved with volunteer work and civic organizations. New Mexico is among the states that allow residents to expunge criminal records if the original charge was not a felony or a charge of moral turpitude, according to the New Mexico Department of Public Safety. In New Mexico, expungements can be handled outside of court, so you may not need to hire an attorney.
Gather existing information you have on your arrest or criminal records. Check you own files for old copies of police reports, court dispositions or any correspondence with police and courts. You'll need the date (or at least the year of the arrest and estimated month), the arresting police agency and the location of the incident.
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Contact the arresting police agency. Provide the information you recall or were able to gather. Based on that, officers may be able to provide copies of their original report as well as any details of the incident and resulting police and/or court action that you could not recall. There is a chance that the police agency does not have the record, but that does not mean it does not exist somewhere else.
Visit the criminal court that handled the case, or the one that would have had jurisdiction over the community where the crime or alleged crime took place. Even if the charges were dropped before the case went to court, you want to verify if any record of the incident or arrest exists in the court files.
Call the New Mexico Department of Public Safety Law Enforcement Records Bureau at 505-827-9181 and request a petition to expunge arrest information. Petitions must be initially requested in that manner and cannot be obtained on its website. Provide details on the alleged incident, the arrest or charge and how the case was resolved. Let the agency know where arrest records exist if you have that information. But even if you don't know if records exist, the same request for expungement should be made.
Aaron Gifford is based in New York. He has been on staff at the "Syracuse Post-Standard," the "Watertown Daily Times" and the "Oneida Daily Dispatch." He's also written for "Long Island Newsday," "Empire State Report" magazine and "In Good Health." He has been writing professionally since 1995. Gifford holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University at Buffalo.