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Expungement procedure Criminal Records, Expungement

Discussion in 'Criminal Records, Expungement' started by Guest, May 23, 2014.

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  1. Guest

    Guest Law Topic Starter Guest


    I am writing to this advice forum in regards to 3 legal incidents I encountered in the past. For all of these incidents I was not convicted of the charges brought against me. Chronologically, I first received a domestic violence charge and later received two charges for marijuana paraphernalia on separate incidences.

    The domestic violence charge involved my father and occurred during my phase of teenage turmoil. In that incident, I did regrettably hit my father leaving a small bruise and my mother called the police because I was in a very agitated state and had a previous history of self-injurious behavior, which obviously caused them great concern.

    When the officer arrived, he asked my father if he wanted to press charges and my father obviously declined but the officer decided to take the initiative to have the state press the charges anyway. My relationship with my father was rocky during my younger years, but even after that incident we quickly mended our relationship and are closer than ever today. Ironically, it was my parents who called the police and as a result, it was also my parents who then posted my bail and paid for the legal charges. (I have always had a good relationship with my parents, but during my teens there were rocky periods which I have now matured out of.)

    For this incident, being that it was a first offense, I enrolled in a program that required I participate in psychotherapy and after a certain amount of time the case was sealed and there was no conviction.

    The second incident was a marijuana paraphernalia charge. I was driving in a car with friends and we were pulled over because of a tail-light being out (or something of that nature, I cannot recall exactly). Anyway, I do not recall what gave the officer probable cause to search the vehicle and passengers, but when I was taken aside the officer informed me that he could smell marijuana on my clothes and asked if he could search my person. Attempting to be as polite as possible, I asked if I had a right to deny the search and he told me that the odor was enough for probable cause and asked that I remove whatever was in my pockets to make things easier, since (as he claimed) he had a right to search me regardless. After being told this, I informed him that I had a pipe in my pocket and handed it to him. My friends were then allowed to leave (even though they had open alcohol in the car which I was unaware of and we were all under-aged. The officer smelled the water bottle containing vodka and then placed it back down and did not mention anything about it, so I’m not sure how that got through). Anyway, I was taken to the police station, given a citation charging me with possession of paraphernalia and given a court date.

    For this incident (since apparently the domestic violence charge is considered a different category of offense), the charge was considered a first offense and I was given another deferral program. For this program I participated in out-patient rehab and after completing the program, the case was sealed.

    Okay, now for the third and final incident. My first year of college I was living in a dorm room, and as you may have gathered, in my youth I was a habitual marijuana consumer (no other drugs =]). On the night of the arrest I had purchased some marijuana and grinded it up in my dorm room, brought it outside, and consumed it with some friends. My friend had left his phone in my dorm room and we planned on going out for the night so we decided to run back to my room before leaving. As I entered the hall of my dorm room I did not realize that an RA and police officer were right behind me. I later learned that there had been two other marijuana related incidences in the building and so they were doing a sweep of each floor to check for any other dormitory violations. The odor was contained within my dorm room with the door closed, but without realizing a police officer was walking up right behind me, I opened my door and the odor escaped into the hallway. The officer immediately turned to me and asked what the odor was. I do not recall my response, but I have always been polite when dealing with law enforcement. We were sat down in the hallway while reinforcement was called and I was given a form which would grant a consent to search.

    By that time I was a bit more legal-savvy, and asked the officer if I could refuse to sign the consent. He told me that I could, but that the odor was enough for probable cause and if I refused to sign he would order for a warrant which would waste both of our times, cause hassle, and make things more difficult for myself. Taking this into consideration, I figured that I had no choice but to sign the consent and so the officer entered my room and I showed him where my paraphernalia was located. (I only had marijuana paraphernalia, the actual marijuana had just been consumed luckily, since that would have meant an additional charge). Like before, I was given a citation for a paraphernalia charge and a court date the next month. Upon going to court I learned of a program they have called a “pre-trial diversion program” and discovered that I was eligible to enroll. Due to my previous charges I was placed into the highest level, meaning that while other first-offenders simply had to pay a fine and stay out of trouble, I also had to do community service and more out-patient rehab. I completed the program successfully, and again, the charge was either dismissed or sealed.

    For your reference, the first two charges (domestic and paraphernalia) occurred in Illinois while the second charge occurred in Indiana. From what I understand, enough time has elapsed that I am eligible to have the charges changed from sealed to expunged. My question is: what is involved in this process, where can I obtain information about the forms that I need to fill out, and will any of this require an attorney? I will soon be applying for graduate school and am currently applying for research assistant positions related to my career goals. So far I have had no problem passing background checks since I am aware that since I was not convicted, I do not have to reference these incidences on applications. However, as I begin to apply for more important things like graduate school and career-related positions, I am concerned about this information being seen. Especially since I am studying psychopharmacology research and, obviously, a history of drug-related charges would not look good on an application for a position in drug research.

    I appreciate you taking time to read my lengthy story and would greatly appreciate any insight, advice, or recommendations that you may have. Thank you for your time!

    Kindest Regards

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