Criminal convictions and traffic infraction adjudications never go away.  If you are convicted of a crime or adjudicated of a traffic infraction in Maine it will never “come off your record.”  The only way to eliminate a criminal conviction from your record is to successfully appeal the judgment of conviction to the State Supreme Court (Law Court); to establish a basis to set it aside under the post-conviction review statutes; or to successfully petition the Governor for a pardon.  The only way to eliminate a traffic infraction adjudication from your record is to successfully appeal the judgment.  The passage of time does not erase a conviction or adjudication from a person’s record in Maine.  The information remains a matter of record, always.

Also, if you are convicted of a crime and are later charged with another crime, the fact that you were previously convicted will be “held against you.”  No matter how long ago the previous conviction occurred, you will never be viewed quite the same the second or subsequent time around as someone who has never before been convicted.   After a certain period, an old conviction or adjudication will no longer serve to increase mandatory minimum punishments or mandatory license suspensions or revocations, but again, it will never simply disappear from your record.  There have been days when I have watched numerous young people return to the Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court, in Portland, at the end of a deferred disposition period on a shoplifting theft charge.  It is amazing to watch them, one after another, walk up to the podium to explain that they have, for one reason or another, failed to meet the simple requirements (a small amount of community service, completion of a shoplifter’s alternative course, and payment of a monthly supervision fee) to be allowed to withdraw their guilty pleas and have their charges dismissed.  Those theft convictions are never going to go away and, yes, if there is a next time, even ten or more years from now, those convictions will be “held against them.”

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