ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque man says he’s trying to move on from his life as a convicted felon and is hoping a new state law can help. The Expungement Law goes into effect January 1, but KRQE News 13 found out this man will have to wait years to have his record wiped clean.
“In the past, I have made some mistakes. It’s not a thing I’m proud of. It’s not a thing I’m happy of,” says Jamare Baity.
Back in 2014, Jamare Baity was convicted of drug trafficking, a second-degree felony. He finished his probation back in June and says he’s doing better.
Baity owns a notary and fingerprinting business, but in order to be an official notary signing agent, he needs to have a clean record. Last month, Baity filed a petition to wipe his criminal record clean, citing House Bill 370, which was just passed this last legislative session.
“I can get the respect. I can apply for things that I do need to apply for,” he says.
State Representative Moe Maestas, (D)-Albuquerque, helped sponsor the bill. “People can remove criminal history off of public view,” he says.
But for Baity, getting his record wiped hasn’t been as easy as he thought.
“He needs to wait a little while longer. The time has not kicked in yet. The time is six, eight, or 10 years. The clock starts the day you finish your probation,” says Maestas.
According to the bill, people like Baity who have a second-degree felony, have to wait for eight years before they’re eligible to petition. That means Baity needs to wait until 2027 before he’s eligible.
The District Attorney’s Office also has a say in petitions like Baity’s.
“What was the type of offense for which they were convicted? How long has the time been? What has been their activity? Has there been another crime since then?” says Adolfo Mendez, the Chief of Policy & Planning at the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office.
Even though he has another eight years to wait, Baity says it won’t change his outlook on life.
“I want to be a law-abiding citizen. I have been. I’m going to continue to be with this or without it,” says Baity.
There are exceptions to the bill. Crimes against children, sex offenses, embezzlement, and DWI offenses are ineligible.