After completing finals or returning from summer break, many underage Washington, D.C. students head out to the local pub or nearby beer store to purchase alcohol with a fake ID. If you are a parent, think back to or imagine one of your first nights in Washington, D.C. (or any other major U.S. city) when all the bars were open, loud music was playing and everyone wanted to get out and have a good time. However, you not of legal age to purchase alcohol. Rather than staying home, you grab your wallet (or purse), a fake printed fake ID and head out with your friends. After arriving at a pub and waiting in line to get inside, a bouncer pulls you aside to question the authenticity of your ID. Waiving his flashlight over the ID, the bouncer recognizes the fake and signals to an undercover officer. Within minutes you are pulled out of line, placed in handcuffs and told you are being arrested for misrepresentation of age. You are horrified and soon begin picturing everything you had worked for being washed down the drain. After an arrest like this it is likely one of your biggest questions would be whether this arrest would be on your permanent record. Generally, an experienced Washington, DC criminal defense attorney will ensure that the arrest is removed from your record.
The sealing process for a misrepresentation of age charge works in the following way. After being arrested for Misrepresentation of Age you will be assigned a court date for your arraignment. You and your lawyer will attend this Court date at which time your lawyer will enter a plea of not guilty while asserting your constitutional rights. At the conclusion of this hearing, an experienced attorney will seek to have you entered into diversion where you will be required to complete some community service hours and agree to not be arrested on any new charges. After all of your community service hours are complete, you will return to court and your attorney will request to have your case dismissed. After your case has been dismissed, and six months has passed, your attorney will draft and file a Motion to seal your criminal case. As long as there are no pending cases or new convictions, and the Motion is drafted and filed correctly, your Misrepresentation of Age case should be sealed promptly.
In Washington, D.C. Misrepresentation of Age is treated differently than most other misdemeanor offenses when it comes to being able to seal the criminal record. Under DC Code § 25-1002(c)(4)(A), once 6 months has passed since the conviction or dismissal, the criminal record is eligible to be sealed. Under the same section, if your arrest was “no papered” the record of the arrest can be sealed after 6 months.
Now 6 months may seem like a long time, but most misdemeanors require at least 2 years before they become eligible for expungement or sealing. Having your record sealed will allow you to truthfully and legally answer certain questions regarding the lack of prior arrests. A sealed record is done in the interest of justice and allows an individual to go forward and live a normal life as the mar of a criminal record is no longer accessible to the public.
When looking to get your criminal record sealed you should consult a Washington, DC criminal defense attorney and be honest about anything that has happened since the arrest or conviction. Your lawyer should be well informed of the facts of your case so that there are no surprises when your lawyer drafts and files a Motion to Seal your arrest.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for Misrepresentation of Age, and desires to have their record sealed, call Scrofano Law, PC at 202-946-5783 and ask for attorney Christopher J. Mutimer.