Backlog & Timeframe
Interviewer: is there going to be a waiting list going on for people that want to get all their cases expunged?
Brett Hollett: It’s new for all of us, so it’s going to be a wait and see approach. As soon as the law goes into effect, if an individual is looking to do this, the sooner they act, the quicker their case or petition can be docketed. The judge will go down his docket and he’ll hear as many cases as he can as quickly as he can. The longer you wait obviously, the further out your case will be docketed and you may have to incur some delay because of it.
Interviewer: Have a lot of people been notified about this change recently?
Brett Hollett: There’s a big push by the Criminal Defense Bar to get the word out to our clients and to others around the state. I think this will help tens of thousands of people. Like I said, the law hasn’t gone into effect yet and it just passed and was signed by the Governor on April 7th. We’re in that first month and a half of trying to get the word out to people to let them know that expungement is now possible. It’s a resource now that’s available to them and that we’re here to help.
Interviewer: What is the general timeframe for the whole expungement process? How long is that going to take?
Brett Hollett: We don’t really know yet. Since the law hasn’t gone into effect yet we don’t have any past data to rely on. The law does state that the district attorney’s office will have 45 days to object. I assume once the case is docketed, you would have to wait the 45-day waiting period to see if there was an objection filed. If no objection was filed, your petition would be ruled on its merits sometime after that 45-day period. Again, I think it would depend on the Judge’s docket. It may vary county by county, depending upon how many cases are docketed in that county.
Interviewer: During the process, do you think that there’s going to be an opportunity to get the whole process expedited?
Brett Hollett: Possibly. I think the only way to make sure the process is as quick as possible is to make sure your petition is filed correctly the first time around and that everybody gets proper notice because if that doesn’t happen, it’s just going to create a time lag and your petition may get kicked out and you may have to start all over again. I don’t know that we’re going to be able to fast-track them because there are statutory time limits in the law that requires the D.A.’s office to have 45 days to file an objection to the petition and so forth. I think making sure that your petition is correctly filed at the outset is probably the most important thing you can do and will probably help you expedite the process as much as possible.
Interviewer: Is there a certain statute of limitations for an expungement?
Brett Hollett: No. Any nonviolent felony or misdemeanor charge(s) you have ever been arrested for or charged with are eligible to be expunged, as long as you meet the statutory criteria.
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