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Sealing and Expunging Criminal Records in Idaho

In Idaho, criminal records are public records accessible to prospective landlords, schools, professional societies, and employers. This often limits a record bearer’s chances of getting a job, being admitted into a school or professional body, and other civil or social privileges. To help mitigate these circumstances, the Idaho Judicial Branch allows some records to be expunged depending on the conviction or crime committed. Once expungement occurs in Idaho, the criminal offense is removed from the individual’s case file, while a sealed record is only made unavailable for viewing by the public.

The Difference between Sealing and Expunging Criminal Records

Idaho heavily restricts the sealing and expungement of adult criminal records. The sealing of a criminal record makes the document inaccessible or unavailable for viewing or copying to members of the public unless a court order or subpoena challenges the restriction. Criminal record expungement in Idaho refers to the removal of conviction information, arrest details, deferred judgment, or sex offender registry information from an individual’s criminal history.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching more straightforward, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

How to Seal a Criminal Record in Idaho

In Idaho, a case’s records can only be sealed following the issuance of a court order. The individual seeking to have criminal records sealed is required to file a motion requesting the restriction, after which the court will hold a hearing to deliberate the petition. The judge is charged with deciding if it is in the public’s interest to have the records sealed or disclosed. The judge will also determine if;

  • There are facts or statements in the case file that might be defamatory
  • Granting access or publishing the documents will lead to financial or economic loss and breach of security of the workers, records, or property directly related to the case or cause to a party involved.
  • The documents contain some intimate details or facts that will be offensive to any person that gains access to the records.
  • Temporarily sealing the records will maintain the individual’s right to a fair trial.
  • The document contains details that endanger the safety or cause harm to an individual.

It is worthy to note that even if an individual’s issue falls under one of the conditions, the Idaho courts and judges rarely grant the order to seal a criminal record.

What Crimes Can Be Expunged in Idaho

Idaho only allows expungement in very few instances. The process covers documents like arrest records, DNA records, fingerprints, information on the sex offender registry, juvenile records, and some criminal history records. For expugnable crimes, Idaho addresses situations surrounding an offense rather than the crime itself. Categories of people eligible for expungement include:

  • Persons granted exemption from registering as a sexual offender under the Idaho Code § 18–8310.
  • A juvenile whose photograph and fingerprint was collected when in custody, as seen in the Idaho Code § 20–516.
  • Any juvenile offender with crimes listed under the Idaho Code § 20–525A and meets eligibility requirements.
  • Persons having DNA records stored on the state database, but the conviction for which the DNA record was put on the database has been reversed or dismissed, following Idaho Code § 19–5513.
  • Individuals arrested and served criminal warrants but did not get indicted or charged within a year of the arrest, or an individual acquitted of all crimes arising from the criminal warrant according to Idaho Code § 67–3004.

Except an individual or offender falls into these categories, an expungement is not likely in the state of Idaho. An offender or individual that is not eligible for expungement can try the withheld judgment route. In Idaho, alleged violators that plead guilty to a misdemeanor or felony charge are allowed to ask for a withheld judgment from the court. Withheld judgment means there will be no record of conviction against the accused, but the offender must serve the probation, sentence, or punishment. Afterward, individuals can request for the court to dismiss the case. Once the court grants the request, the offender can deny being convicted of a crime before.

How to Expunge Criminal Records in Idaho

Based on the conditions to expunge criminal records in Idaho, the process is outlined below for each category.

  • According to Idaho Code § 18–8310 sexual offenders are ineligible to request record expungement, especially as it pertains to sexually-based offenses.
  • For juvenile criminal records, requestors can submit a request to the juvenile court to have the records expunged. The court will honor the petition after the person has served a sentence and has not been convicted of any crime since release.
  • Those who haven’t been charged before the one-year statute of limitation has elapsed, or those acquitted of their charges may submit a written request for expungement to the agency maintaining fingerprint and criminal history records pertaining to the case as stipulated in Idaho Code § 67–3004.
  • Interested persons can request, with copies served to the court where the trial took place, the prosecuting attorney, and the bureau of forensic services, for the expungement of DNA records in cases where the court reversed the conviction of the accused person was acquitted of all charges. The court judge retains the authority to grant or deny the request, and his or her decision is not subject to appeal, as stipulated in the Idaho Code § 19–5513.

Do Sealed Records Show Up In Idaho Background Checks?

No. Sealed records do not show up in background checks in Idaho. Once the expungement is concluded, the public cannot view the case files anymore. Also, the case documents will not show up when employers, professional societies, or landlords run a background check.

Who Can See Sealed Criminal Records in Idaho

In Idaho, sealed criminal records cannot be accessed or viewed by anybody but the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The FBI maintains a repository known as the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), which is a national database that can be accessed by law enforcement officers around the country. Whether a case is expunged or sealed, it remains on this database and can be accessed by law enforcement.

How to Obtain Sealed Records in Idaho

In Idaho, interested persons can obtain sealed records through a court order. The requestor must submit an application stating the reason to access the sealed criminal files to the court, which granted the sealing order. If the judge is satisfied with the grounds highlighted, the judge may give a court order to unseal the record.

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