A bill that allows people to get an arrest or conviction taken off their record is making its way through the legislature. The Criminal Record Expungement Act is gathering a lot of support even across party lines.
House Bill 370 is sponsored by Albuquerque Democrat Antonio “Moe” Maestas and it allows people who have completed their sentence to petition the court and get their permission to have their record expunged.
He says the bill allows people to move on with their lives and get a second chance. Maestas says it’s especially beneficial when people are applying for jobs.
“You’re in your 40s and you got arrested when you were 19, that would not show up if it’s expunged. It’s an economic development tool for folks to get better jobs as well as better safety,” said Maestas.
Prosecutors and police would still have access to the records but they would be removed from public view. Some offenses wouldn’t be eligible for expungements such as homicide, sex crimes, crimes against children, great bodily harm, DWI or embezzlement.
However, critics say people shouldn’t have the right to hide their past from the public especially employers. Rep. Maestas says if this is passed, New Mexico will be one of the last states in the country to pass this type of law.