In the District of Columbia, the law has a special provision for those arrested for possessing a fake identification card or misrepresenting his/her age to enter an establishment that sells alcoholic beverages. D.C. Code § 25-1002.
Often, the prosecutor’s office (Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, commonly known as “OAG”) will offer diversion to those arrested for a first or second offense under D.C. Code § 25-1002. Diversion is an alternative to the standard criminal justice process and usually includes: (1) community service hours, (2) payment of a fine, and (3) not being re-arrested for any criminal offense during the pendency of the case. Usually, if these conditions are met, the OAG prosecutor will dismiss the charges against those who have successfully completed diversion.
At the conclusion of six (6) months after a conviction under D.C. Code § 25-1002, six (6) months after the dismissal of the charges upon satisfactory completion of a diversion program, or six months after the government declines to prosecute (commonly referred to as “NO PAPER”) for an arrest under D.C. Code § 25-1002, the individual may file a motion with the presiding judge to expunge and seal the records of his/her arrest, prosecution and/or conviction for this offense.
If the presiding judge grants the motion to expunge and seal, the records of your arrest by law enforcement (e.g. MPD, U.S. Park Police, etc.) will be sealed from public view. Moreover, the D.C. Superior Court records of your prosecution will also be sealed from public view. Thereafter, the conviction will be expunged or “purged” from your record.
However, in order to qualify for sealing and expungement under this provision, you must not have any pending felony, misdemeanor or other criminal offense or been convicted of any new felony or misdemeanor or other criminal offense in the preceding six (6) month period. Also, all fines imposed by the court must be paid prior to filing the motion to seal and expunge. Finally, the OAG prosecutor, may decline to offer diversion to any person charged under D.C. Code § 25-1002, who has previously been convicted of a felony, misdemeanor or other criminal offense.
Once the court grants the motion to seal and expunge the conviction, the government will retain a copy of the conviction, shielded from the public, for purposes of determining whether the individual has received an expungement in the past and/or for background checks for applicants to serve as law enforcement officers. The individual will still be required to disclose the arrest and/or conviction if he/she applies for a position for law enforcement or is asked on a direct questionnaire. For more details please see D.C. Code § 25-1002.
An experienced District of Columbia criminal defense attorney can help you evaluate your circumstances, determine if you are eligible for sealing and/or expungement, and prepare your motion and file it with the D.C. Superior Court. Please contact Attorney Terry Eaton at (202) 780-4270 to get the process underway for your fresh start.