What is Elimination?
Puerto Rico offers expungement also known as "elimination" for both adult and juvenile criminal convictions. Elimination deletes your criminal conviction record and restores you to the status you had before the offense. The Commonwealth removes the record from all law enforcement and court sources.
Who is Eligible for Elimination?
In general, you are eligible to have a misdemeanor or a felony conviction eliminated unless the offense was a violent sex crime, abuse of a minor, or corruption.
All of the following must also be true:
- You have no other convictions;
- You have completed your sentence;
- You have a good reputation in your community;
- You have waited six months after completing your sentence for a misdemeanor or five years for a felony; and
- You have submitted a DNA sample if the law required it.
If you are uncertain whether you are eligible for elimination, consult with an attorney.
What Effect Does Elimination Have?
Once Puerto Rico grants an elimination, all state law enforcement agencies and courts remove the record of conviction. Your conviction is erased. In most cases, you can legally deny being convicted.
When Can I Apply for Elimination?
You can apply for elimination of a conviction only after you have completed your sentence. Then you must wait for a certain period of time.
Here is when you can apply:
- If your conviction is for a misdemeanor, you must wait six months.
- If your conviction is for a felony, you must wait five years.
How Do I Apply for Elimination?
Here are the two steps to apply for elimination for a misdemeanor conviction:
- Apply to the Puerto Rico Police Superintendent. For more information, call the central police department at (787) 793-1234.
- Provide all necessary documents. The superintendent requires a sworn statement, documents that support and are pertinent to your request for an elimination, and a $20 internal revenue stamp.
Here are the three steps to apply for elimination for a felony conviction:
- Apply to the "court of first instance" for an order of elimination. This is the trial court where you were convicted.
- Submit documents and evidence to support your request that show you have a good reputation and character.
- Wait for a response. The Puerto Rico Department of Justice will either oppose or "yield" to your request. Then the judge decides. There is usually no hearing. For more information, call the court clerk or secretary.
If the judge denies your request for elimination of a conviction, you have the right to appeal to the Puerto Rico Court of Appeals.
You may have to pay a filing fee when applying for elimination. If you cannot pay the fee, you have the right to have the fee waived. To get a fee waiver, file a petition to "proceed as an indigent person." This means you have a low income and cannot afford the fee. The judge will decide if you qualify for a fee waiver.