How to Expunge my Public Records in Idaho

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Deleting a public record refers to removing every documentation of the record in all its forms from any public database held by government agencies so that no reference can be made to the event listed on the record. By deleting a public record, it will be as though the record never existed or the event therein never occurred. Certain public records such as arrest and conviction records can often attract social stigma that negatively affects the lives of the persons named on the records. The American Bar Association estimates there are 48,000 ways a person can be affected by a criminal record in the U.S. These “collateral consequences” include housing, employment, occupational licenses, immigration, and many others.

These handicaps create a desire within Idaho residents to have public records deleted. However, Idaho makes no provisions for deleting public records. The state allows record sealing which removes public access from public records so that residents can live relatively free of previous mistakes.

What is a Public Record in Idaho?

The Idaho Code's definition of a public record is a broad concept. It includes but is not limited to any writing containing information relating to the conduct or administration of the public's business prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state agency, independent public body, corporate and political, or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics. "Writing" as defined in the Code refers to information maintained in many forms, including typewritten or handwritten documents as well as pictures, maps, tapes, magnetic or punched cards, and computer media.

Enacted in 1990, the Idaho Public Records Act is the state law governing access to public records in the state. The government of Idaho considers open government as a cornerstone of a free society. Its commitment to open government is affirmed in the provisions of the Idaho Public Records Act. The Act protects each citizen's right to monitor the actions of state and local government entities by providing access to government records. The Idaho legislature balances the interests of public access and an individual’s right to privacy, through its adoption and amendments to the Public Records Act. This balance is achieved by exempting certain records or portions thereof from disclosure. Some of these include:

  • Court records that would result in the release of confidentiality
  • Law enforcement investigations
  • Juvenile records
  • Voting records of the sexual offender classification board
  • Records concerning discrimination investigations
  • Workers compensation records
  • Prisoner records
  • Current and former public employees
  • Income tax information
  • Hospital and medical care records
  • Idaho Housing and Finance Association
  • Voter registration cards
  • Trade secrets

Pursuant to the Public Records Act, all agencies at state and local levels of government are covered except for the state militia. Anyone can request public records without having to present a statement of purpose. However, the Act prohibits the sale or distribution of any list of persons contained in public records for use as a mailing or telephone number list except where permission is obtained from those on the list.

The public nature of certain records can negatively impact the lives of people. People with criminal records may have difficulty finding jobs and housing and obtaining certain types of loans. Due to these and other reasons, many residents may want those records deleted. While deleting a public record is impossible, such individuals may be able to seal public records, thereby obtaining almost the kind of relief as deleting the record. We also help Idaho citizens seal their records in order to help address barriers caused by previous misdeeds.

Does Idaho allow Expungement?

Yes, but in limited circumstances. In Idaho, a record can only be expunged if:

  • An individual was arrested or served with a criminal summons and was not subsequently charged by indictment or information within one year of the arrest or summons
  • An individual was acquitted of all offenses arising from an arrest or criminal summons. Such persons may have the fingerprint and criminal history record taken in connection with the incident expunged upon the person's written request. Note that this does not include cases where the charges were amended or dismissed.
  • An individual is convicted of a juvenile offense

Anyone who is required to register as a sex offender in Idaho may become exempt from their information expunged from the Idaho Sex Offender Registry ten years after release from incarceration, parole, probation, or supervised release. Also, such persons must complete sex offender treatment and present evidence that they have not committed additional offenses and are no longer a risk to the community. To prove this, a court hearing may be required. Note that expunging your information from the sex offender registry does not expunge your conviction. Your conviction will still be available publicly.

In juvenile matters, upon adjudication, a petitioner who:

  • Has not been convicted of any excluded crime;
  • Has not been convicted of a felony, or a misdemeanor wherein violence towards another person was attempted or committed since the termination of the court's jurisdiction or his release from the juvenile corrections center; and
  • Has no pending proceeding involving such felony or misdemeanor

can have juvenile records expunged if the court finds that:

  • The petitioner has been held accountable
  • The petitioner is developing skills necessary to become a contributing member of the community
  • Expungement of the petitioner's record will not compromise public safety

The court will order all records in the petitioner's case in the custody of the court and all such records, including law enforcement investigatory reports and fingerprint records, in the custody of any other agency or official sealed. All references to the adjudication, diversion, or informal adjustment will be removed from all indices and other records available to the public.

Only convictions, charges, or arrests that occurred before the age of 18 qualify for expungement. Expungement of juvenile records in Idaho is governed by the Idaho Code 20-525A. This section outlines the specific requirements based on the type of criminal charge, that is, misdemeanors, status offenses, or felonies. Misdemeanor or status offenses, such as truancy and alcohol age violations can be expunged provided the offenders were not committed to the Department of Juvenile Corrections or subject to diversion or informal adjustment. Such persons can file for expungement either after turning 18 or one year after their court supervision ends, whichever occurs last.

If the charge was a felony or if the juvenile was committed to the Department of Juvenile Corrections, then the offense can be expunged five years after:

  • Release from the Department of Juvenile Corrections; or
  • The termination of the criminal case; or
  • Reaching the age of 18; whichever occurs last

Idaho courts will not expunge a conviction for any of the following crimes from a juvenile record:

  • Administering poison with intent to kill
  • Aggravated battery
  • Armed robbery
  • Arson
  • Assault with intent to commit a serious felony
  • Assault with intent to murder
  • Assault or battery upon certain personnel, felony
  • Forcible sexual penetration by use of a foreign object
  • Infamous crime against nature, committed by force or violence
  • Injury to a child, felony
  • Kidnapping
  • Murder of any degree
  • Rape, excluding statutory rape
  • Ritualized abuse of a child
  • Sexual exploitation of a child
  • Unlawful use of destructive device or bomb
  • Voluntary manslaughter
  • A violation of the provisions of Section 37-2732(a)(1)(A), (B), or (C) of the Idaho Code, when the violation occurred on or within one thousand feet of the property of any public or private primary or secondary school, or in those portions of any building, park, stadium or other structure or grounds which were, at the time of the violation, being used for an activity sponsored by or through such a school
  • A violation of the provisions of Section 37-2732B of the Idaho Code, related to drug trafficking or manufacturing of illegal drugs.

How do I Expunge My Criminal Record in Idaho?

To have your non-conviction records expunged in Idaho:

  • Complete the Expungement Application Form
  • Obtain certified documents from the arresting agency and the court showing that you are eligible for expungement, such as a criminal citation or criminal complaint and summons, indictment or information, and court order of acquittal or dismissal
  • Make copies of all documents and keep one complete set for yourself
  • Mail the completed application form and the supporting documents to:

Idaho State Police

700 S. Stratford Drive, Suite 120

Meridian, ID 83642

Note that no fee is required for filing a petition to expunge non-conviction records in Idaho.

To expunge juvenile records:

  • Obtain a petition form from the County Court
  • Complete the expungement petition form
  • Attach any required supporting documents
  • File the petition in the County Court where you were convicted or charged if there was no conviction. You will need to file a separate petition for each criminal record you seek to have expunged.
  • Attend the hearing. A hearing will be held typically within 14 days.

Will My Expungement Record Show up on a Background Check in Idaho?

Expunged records in Idaho will not show up background checks conducted through state agencies or non-FCRA compliant background check entities. Hence, you can lawfully state that the expunged criminal record does not exist. An expunged record will still be available to law enforcement agencies or with a court order.

How to Seal a Record in Idaho

Idaho offers other forms of record relief to individuals who do not qualify for expungement. These include withheld judgment, record dismissal, reduction in conviction, and record sealing.

You can ask the court to grant you a withheld judgment if you plead guilty to a charge, misdemeanor, or felony. This means that the court will not enter a judgment of conviction against you, however, you must complete any punishment and probation ordered by the court in the case. A withheld judgment allows you to honestly say that you have not been convicted of a crime. Idaho only allows any individual one withheld judgment.

Pursuant to Idaho Code 19-2604, you can have your case dismissed even if you were not granted a withheld judgment. This means that instead of "guilty", the record will read "dismissed by the court." There are two key factors to being eligible for having a conviction dismissed. Firstly, you must have completed your probation without violating the terms at any point. The second factor is whether the court finds “good cause” to dismiss the conviction. Persons who served a sentence at the Idaho State Penitentiary do not qualify to have their cases dismissed under this statute. Such persons may qualify to have their charges reduced from felony to misdemeanor.

If you were convicted of a felony in Idaho, you may be able to have the felony conviction retroactively reduced to a misdemeanor upon a written petition to the court. If less than five years have passed since the defendant’s discharge from probation, the prosecuting attorney must agree with the reduction. If at least five years have passed, then the prosecuting attorney’s approval is only needed if the defendant was convicted of the offenses listed under Section 19-2604(3)(c)(i)-(xv). While a reduction of a felony conviction to a misdemeanor may not completely erase all records of the case, removing a felony conviction can help reduce the barriers to a productive and comfortable life.

Idaho also considers sealing a record on a case-by-case basis. When a record is sealed, physical and electronic records may be temporarily or permanently sealed or redacted by order of the court. The offender must file a motion to seal and then the court is required to hold a hearing on the motion to seal. In ruling on whether specific records should be redacted or sealed, the court determines and makes a finding of fact as to whether the interest in privacy or public disclosure predominates. One or more of the following determinations must be made in writing before a court can enter an order sealing a record:

  • That the documents or materials contain highly intimate facts or statements, the publication of which would be highly objectionable to a reasonable person
  • That the documents or materials contain facts or statements that the court finds might be libelous
  • That the documents or materials contain facts or statements, the disclosure of which would reasonably result in financial harm to a person having an interest in the documents or materials, or compromise the security of personnel, records, or public property of the judicial department
  • That the documents or materials contain facts or statements that might threaten or endanger the life or safety of individuals
  • That it is necessary to temporarily seal or redact the documents or materials to preserve the right to a fair trial.

Who Can See My Sealed Record in Idaho?

For persons whose records were not expunged but obtained one of the other forms of record relief, a search of their cases on the Idaho State Repository will show that they were charged, even if the case has been dismissed or they have been granted a withheld judgment. The records will reflect the dispositions of the cases, such as "Dismissed' or "Withheld Judgment." Law enforcement agencies also retain access to sealed records.

How to Delete Bankruptcy Records in Idaho

Bankruptcy is the point at which a business or individual files a legal proceeding for inability to pay all or some of the debts owed. Many businesses are required to conduct background checks on employees, potential employees, contractors, and volunteers. Other businesses may choose to conduct a background check to verify the information provided by applicants on the application. Sometimes, these background checks include credit checks or consumer information gathering on potential employees. Note that Idaho does not have any restrictions on what can be reported in a background screening report beyond what the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) stipulates. Bankruptcy records are open records and can be accessed even through non-FCRA compliant records check services.

Due to discriminations and barriers that may arise from having bankruptcy records in the public domain, many have sought to have them deleted. However, a bankruptcy record cannot be removed except in instances where it is inaccurately reported. Otherwise, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy record will remain on file for 10 years while a Chapter 13 bankruptcy typically stays on record for seven years before removal.

What are Consumer Protection Laws in Idaho?

Idaho has enacted several laws to protect consumers, businesses, and the marketplace from unfair or deceptive acts and practices. Through the enacted laws, consumers can protect themselves from fraud by understanding their rights and thereby make informed and intelligent decisions in the marketplace.

Enacted in 1971, the Idaho Consumer Protection Act (IC 48-601-48-619) was designed to protect both consumers and businesses against unfair methods of competition and unfair or deceptive acts in the conduct of trade or commerce. It also provides efficient and economical procedures to secure such protection. The Idaho CPA provides a list of unlawful practices and provides consumers with a private right of action to recover damages against violators. The Act also permits the court to award a consumer the attorney's fees and costs incurred in bringing the consumer claim.

The Idaho Consumer Protection Act provides extra protection for senior or disabled consumers in the state. Any such consumers may recover statutory damages of $15,000 or triple the actual damages, whichever is greater.

Although Idaho currently has no constitutional provisions conferring a general right of privacy on residents, the state makes a provision for personal data protection. The primary privacy and data security law in Idaho is the Data Breach Notification Law (IC 28-51-104 through 28-51-107). The Idaho Data Breach Notification Law applies to any resident in Idaho whose personal information was or is reasonably believed to have been misused. The Law places specific requirements on any city, county, state agency, individual, or commercial entity operating a business in Idaho and owning or licensing computerized data that includes personal information about Idaho residents. Such entities must conduct an investigation upon becoming aware of a breach of the security of their system, to determine the likelihood that personal information has been or will be misused. On finding such misuses or potential misuse, these entities are required to notify affected Idaho residents.

Other consumer protection laws in Idaho include:

  • Idaho Antitrust Laws
  • Idaho Identity Theft Laws
  • Idaho Homestead Laws
  • Idaho Lemon Laws
  • Idaho Insurance Fraud Laws

How to Delete Lien Records in Idaho

A lien is a charge on personal property or real property for the satisfaction of duty or debt. If a debtor fails to satisfy the duty or debt, the creditor is authorized to seize the asset that is subject to the lien. A lien can be a tax lien, mechanic lien, judgment lien. The Idaho State Tax Commission can file a tax lien against your property if you owe taxes to the state. When all opportunities to appeal a tax debt have been exhausted, the Tax Commission may file a notice of lien which is attached to all your property. With a tax lien in place, the state can issue a warrant to seize your wages, bank accounts, and other assets, if necessary. A tax lien in Idaho is valid for five years unless a continuation is filed before it expires. The continuation extends the lien for another five years and can be filed repeatedly, which could make a tax lien valid indefinitely.

Liens are public information and will appear on your credit report. The public nature of such debt records often prompts residents to want such records deleted. However, the state makes no provision for residents to delete lien records. Liens can be removed by paying off the debt related to the record or reaching an agreement with the creditor to pay a lump sum as a settlement. A lien record will be removed after settling the debt.

However, a lien can show on your credit report for years after it has been released. To prove that the lien has been satisfied, call the Secretary of State's office at (208) 334-3191. Older liens may remain on the county recorder's records. If the lien has been removed before July 1, 1998, you will need to contact the appropriate county recorder. For liens satisfied after July 1, 1998, email the Tax Commission's Lien Desk with the lien's docket and filing numbers. Lien records in Idaho can be searched online using the Lien Search tool on the Idaho government website. You can also conduct a search at the local county recorder's office. The county recorder's office may charge a nominal fee for this service.

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