We receive daily inquires regarding the expungement of convictions, dismissing convictions, and reducing felony judgments to misdemeanors. Here are the Idaho options for someone who has completed probation. I hope this post helps demystify the procedures.
Idaho generally allows each person one withheld judgment, but not every offense will support a withheld judgment. For example – there are no withheld judgments likely available for rape, robbery or murder. A withheld judgement requires the defendant to plead guilty and go through a sentencing proceeding. This usually requires that a presentence investigation report be completed for a felony offense. At sentencing, the judge may place the defendant on probation and impose specific conditions without entering a judgment – that is – by withholding the entry of judgment. If the defendant complies with the Court’s conditions, no judgment of conviction is entered, but if the defendant violates the terms of probation, the judge can resentence the defendant and enter a judgment of conviction. A successful withheld judgment will allow you to say honestly that you’ve never been convicted of a crime. But, as with the following, a record of your charge will remain. Once probation is completed successfully, a person whose judgment has been withheld can file a motion to have the court dismiss the case.
Idaho Code § 19-2604 details the eligibility requirements to have a conviction dismissed. Two key factors determine eligibility. The first is whether you completed your probation without EVER violating the terms. If you have either admitted to a probation violation or the court found you guilty of one, you will not be eligible for a dismissal of your conviction. The second factor is whether the court finds ‘good cause’ to dismiss your conviction. Good cause will likely be found if you never violated your probation.
If you served a sentence at the Idaho State Penitentiary, you are not eligible to have the case dismissed under this statute. You may, however, be eligible to have your charged reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor.
Reduction to misdemeanor:
Under Idaho Code §19-2604, a felony conviction may be reduced to a misdemeanor upon petition to the court. If less than five years have passed since the defendant’s discharge from probation, the prosecuting attorney must agree with the reduction. If at least five years have passed, then the prosecuting attorney’s approval is only needed if the defendant was convicted of the offenses listed under § 19-2604(3)(c)(i)-(xv).
Specific to juvenile offenders:
Idaho Code § 20-525A details eligibility for juveniles to have their conviction expunged, with certain serious violent offenses excluded. For felonies, eligibility begins the latest of reaching 18 years of age, five years after release, or five years after the end of the juvenile court’s jurisdiction. For misdemeanors, eligibility is the latest of one year after the end of the juvenile court’s jurisdiction or reaching age 18. The procedure for expungement allows the court, after a hearing, to expunge a juvenile record if it finds that the juvenile has been held accountable, is a contributing member of society, and that expungement will not risk public safety. The result of the expungement will result in records being sealed and removed from public access and the juvenile may deny the existence of any record.
Effect of a Dismissal:
It is useful to know the effect of a dismissal of a conviction on your record. In Idaho, even if you have your conviction dismissed or have been granted a withheld judgment, the record for your being charged will remain on the Idaho State Repository(iCourts?). The record will then read “Dismissed By Court” or “Dismissed”. There is no way to have your record completely cleared unless it is a juvenile conviction or certain domestic violence convictions where the case is sealed.
For more information about getting a conviction dismissed, give us a call at (208) 342-4633.