An Act To Clear a Path to Employment
Sec. 1. 15 MRSA c. 310-A is enacted to read:
SEALING OF PUBLIC CRIMINAL RECORDS FOR CERTAIN OFFENSES
§ 2281. Definitions
As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.
§ 2282. Requirements for sealing
An individual is eligible to have all records of a criminal conviction sealed from public inspection under this chapter if:
§ 2283. Automatic sealing of records; process
§ 2284. Motion for sealing after objection by bureau
§ 2285. Motion for sealing based on reduced waiting period
An individual with an eligible criminal conviction may file a written motion in the underlying criminal proceeding seeking a court order sealing the records of that conviction prior to the expiration of 7 years after the date of conviction if the individual meets the requirements of subsection 1. The court shall decide the motion in accordance with this section.
§ 2286. Effect of sealing
This bill establishes an automatic process for an individual who has been convicted of a Class C, Class D or Class E crime to have the records of that conviction sealed if the crime does not involve domestic violence or sexual assault; the individual has not been convicted of any other crime in this State or another jurisdiction; and at least 7 years have passed since the date of conviction. If the Department of Public Safety, Bureau of State Police, State Bureau of Identification objects to the automatic sealing of an individual's criminal conviction records, the individual may file a motion in the underlying criminal proceeding requesting that the records be sealed.
The bill provides for a reduction in the 7-year waiting period for the sealing of records of an eligible criminal conviction if a convicted individual files a motion with the court demonstrating that the individual obtained a high school diploma or postsecondary certificate or degree after the date of conviction.
The bill prohibits the use of sealed criminal conviction information by all employers that are not criminal justice agencies. The bill also authorizes individuals whose conviction records have been sealed to respond to inquiries, other than inquiries from a criminal justice agency, as if the sealed conviction and underlying crime had never occurred.