Every so often I get a question from someone who is experiencing the negative effects of an old criminal conviction. They ask the question (can I get my Maine criminal conviction expunged)?
Unfortunately the answer to the question (can I get my Maine criminal conviction expunged?) is that all Maine criminal convictions are permanent on your adult criminal record. But, in a very limited number of circumstances, the Maine Governor can issue what is called “Executive Clemency.”
What is Executive Clemency?
Executive Clemency in Maine means that the State’s Executive, in the fo of the Maine Governor, has the power to issue a pardon for a criminal conviction. This means that if you wish to have a Maine criminal conviction pardoned, then you would need to appeal to the Maine Governor. Typically, the process for an Executive pardon is a lot longer than what people expect, and there are no guarantees that a person’s petition for a pardon would be granted, or even heard. For example, a petition that seeks a pardon for the sole purpose of being able to get back your right to own and possess firearms is explicitly excluded.
What do I get from an executive pardon?
If you get an Executive pardon in Maine, then the criminal charge on your record is changed to “Confidential.” “Confidential” records can be released only upon specific inquiry for the purpose of immigration and international travel, among other situations. These situations are covered in the Criminal History Record Information Act, Maine Statutes 16 M.R.S.A. § 701 through 710.
The Best Time to Fight a Criminal Charge is Before Conviction
In order to avoid the need to ask for a pardon, you need to be proactive when facing criminal charges in Maine:
- Hire a criminal defense lawyer
- Never plead guilty to criminal charges
- Understand what a conviction will mean for you in the long run as well as the short run
- Understand that no criminal conviction is “minor” because of long term effects
The best time to address a criminal charge in Maine is to fight the charge while it is pending at the Criminal Court with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. The worst time to address a criminal charge is after a conviction is on your record. If you have questions about criminal charges in Maine, please feel free to contact The Nielsen Group for your confidential and free legal consultation. I am always happy to take the time to answer your questions and put your mind at ease.
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