I received a ticket for possession of drug paraphernalia about a year ago, and recently have been concerned with how this is going to appear on my record as I begin to look to rent and apply for school loans. I am wondering what my options are to clear my record, or how long I will have to wait for it to come off on its own? It was cited in Clay county, MN and was my first criminal offense, I have had no others since and will not be getting any more. Also, what does the charge appear as if one is viewing my record? I never had to attend court, I just paid the fine and plead guilty, I made a big mistake.
Criminal Defense Attorney
It sounds like this is going to be on your record permanently. That's what a guilty plea does: it turns a charge into a permanent criminal conviction. This isn't going to just "come off on its own." Many states offer a program called judicial diversion, which allows qualified first-time offenders to have the charge dismissed and expunged from thier record following successful completion of probation. However, I think you're too late for that. Diversion generally has to be set up on the front end, before pleading guilty.
On the bright side, this sounds like a misdemeanor and not a felony. Misdemeanors are generally not as bad. They don't carry the same stigma a felony would to employers, banks, schools, and apartment managers. Bottom line, I don't think this can be removed now but if it's a misdemeanor it shouldn't hold you back too much in life. I don't know how it would appear on your record. It would probably at least say Possession Drug Paraphernalia.