Criminal convictions in California can impede on your freedom to find good employment, housing, and state licenses. Thankfully, there are options to help clear your record. A Record Expungement Attorney in San Bernardino, CA can help clear your record. The information in this guide deals with criminal convictions. Different statutes and procedures will apply to federal, military, or out-of-state convictions. You can obtain more information by contacting:
- the Federal Defender's Office for federal convictions;
- Judge Advocate General's Office for military convictions (Army, Navy, or Air Force);
- The Public Defender's Office for convictions outside of California.
Clearing up your criminal record is a good way to start afresh after your brush with the legal system. However, before you can start clearing your record, you have to first establish what information is on your criminal record. You will need to obtain all the information for all your convictions (if you have more than one). Information to find will include:
- case or docket number(s)
- date(s) of conviction
- penal code and section number for which you were convicted
- plea or verdict
Depending on the type of record clearing for which you want to petition the court, you may need more information, including:
- formal or informal probation and the probation period
- details regarding fine payments and restitution
- evidence that you complied with probation terms and conditions
- details of sentencing, including the name of the facility and the release date
- details about parole and the date on which it ended.
- You should be able to obtain copies of your criminal record from the California State Department of Justice's Criminal Record Review Unit at a fee or glean the information from the court papers, from the superior court in which you were convicted, from your probation officer, parole officer or from your lawyer.
TYPES OF RECORD CLEARING IN CALIFORNIA
If you have been arrested and or convicted in California, there are three ways to have your record expunged, namely:
- Record Sealing
- Diversion or deferred entry of judgment
RECORD CLEARING: SEALING YOUR CRIMINAL RECORDS
Most people prefer to have their records sealed. A judge will assess your records to determine whether you have met the requirements and then order your records sealed from public access. Certain limitations apply, depending on the end result and the type of remedy you request.
- You can petition under PC 851.8 if you were arrested, but there has been no formal court case in which you were accused of a crime within 60 days. If the court finds you factually innocent, it should order your records to be sealed and destroyed.
- You can petition under PC 851.8 if you were arrested and a case against you was dismissed. If the court finds you factually innocent, it should order your records to be sealed and destroyed.
- You can petition under PC 851.85 if you were acquitted at trial. If the court finds you factually innocent, it should order your records to be sealed and destroyed, including records of your arrest and subsequent detention.
- You can file an oral or written motion under PC 851.86 to all parties if your conviction was set aside and you were factually innocent. If the court finds you factually innocent, it should order your records to be sealed and destroyed, including records of your arrest and subsequent detention.
- You can file a petition under PC 851.87 if you have successfully completed a pre-filing diversion programme. The court should order your records to be sealed and destroyed, including records of your arrest and subsequent detention.
- You can file a petition under PC 851.90 if you have successfully completed a drug diversion program (under PC 1000, 1000.5, or 1000.8). The court should order your records to be sealed and destroyed, including records of your arrest and subsequent detention.
- You can file a petition under PC 1203.45 if you were younger than 18 years when you committed a misdemeanor offense, and if you are eligible or if your record has previously been expunged under PC 1203.4 or PC 1203.4a. In this case, you can ask for your records to be sealed, including records of your arrest and subsequent detention.
- You can file a petition under PC 1203.47 if you have a petition granted under the Welfare and Institutions Code (WIC 781) for PC 647(b) and or PC 653.22 violations. In this case, you can ask for your records to be sealed, including records of your arrest and subsequent detention.
- You can file a petition for expungement under PC 299 if you are listed in the DNA and Forensic Identification Database with the Department of Justice, but carry no qualifying pending charges or offense that justifies your inclusion. In this case, you can ask for your records to be destroyed, including DNA samples, specimen, and your profile.
RECORD CLEARING: DISMISSALS
Both misdemeanors and felonies may be dismissed, which clears the path for you to apply for expungement.
- You can file a petition under PC 1203.3 in order to request that your probation be terminated early, together with a PC 1203.4 to request a dismissal if you are still on probation after a misdemeanor conviction.
- You can file a petition under PC 1203.4 for dismissal of a misdemeanor conviction if you have completed probation.
- You can file a petition for dismissal of a misdemeanor or infraction conviction under PC 1203.4a if you were never given probation.
If your offense could be charged as a misdemeanor or felony, it is known as a wobbler. You can tell whether the felony is a wobbler by referencing the sentencing options in the code section. A wobbler is an offense that is punishable by:
- a county jail or state prison sentence;
- imprisonment pursuant to PC 1170 (h) or county jail.
You can clear your criminal record of a felony by obtaining a dismissal.
- You can file a petition under PC 1203.3 to request an early termination of your probation, along with a PC 17(b) to have your felony reduced ad PC 1203.4 to request a dismissal if you are still on probation after being convicted of a wobbler felony.
- You can file a petition under PC 17(b) to have your felony reduced and PC 1203.4 to request a dismissal if you have completed probation after being convicted of a wobbler felony.
- You can file a petition under PC 1203.4 to request a dismissal if you were sentenced to county jail pursuant to PC 1170(h)(5) after a felony conviction.
- You can file a petition for a certificate of rehabilitation and presidential pardon if you were sentenced to a state prison or placed under Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation authority pursuant to a felony conviction.
CLEARING YOUR CRIMINAL RECORD: WHAT IS A DISMISSAL?
A dismissal, also known as expungement, clears your public criminal record, giving you the freedom to honestly say that you have not been convicted of a felony, misdemeanor or infraction on any application forms, except:
- state licensing,
- public office, and
- job applications with law enforcement.
While the Department of Justice will still have access to your records, it will not be visible to members of the public.
In order to be eligible for expungement of a misdemeanor conviction, you must have:
- Received probation for the conviction, and
- obtained early release, or successfully completed probation,
- paid full restitution as ordered in the terms of your probation,
- not be serving probation or sentences for another offense, and
- you currently have no other charges against you.
- Never been put on probation, and
- you were convicted of an infraction or misdemeanor,
- your conviction took place more than a year ago
- you have complied in full with the sentence
- you are not serving another sentence
- not be serving probation or sentences for another offense, and
- you currently have no other charges against you,
- and you have lived as an honest, law abiding citizen since you were convicted.
The court will apply its own discretion in making the decision to grant you the dismissal for which you petitioned.
CLEARING YOUR CRIMINAL RECORD: DEFERRED ENTRY OF JUDGMENT OR DIVERSION
In some cases, the court will offer you a deferred entry of judgment or diversion. Upon successful completion of a diversion program, you may file a petition for your records to be sealed after two years, including arrest records and court files. The records will remain with the Department of Justice, and it may disclose information in certain instances.
If the court assigns you to a pretrial diversion program, any criminal charges against you will be dismissed after successful completion, in accordance to PC 1001.7. It will be as though you were never arrested, and as such, you may claim that you have not been arrested or diverted, unless you are applying for a job s a peace officer. Once again, the Department of Justice is at liberty to disclose the information in response to your application.
Criminal charges against you will be dismissed if you perform satisfactorily during your deferred entry of judgment under PC 1000. You may say that you have not been arrested or diverted, as the arrest on which the deferral is based will be deemed to never have occurred.
If you successfully complete a court-assigned pre-guilty plea drug program, your arrest will be erased from the record, and you can answer that you have not been arrested or diverted. Once again, you must disclose it when you apply to become a peace officer and the Department of Justice will disclose it in such an application and other specified instances. In addition to the dismissal, you may request that the court seals the arresting agency's records and any related court documents.
If you apply PC 1008 to successfully complete your court mandated deferred entry of judgement program, the court will dismiss your criminal charges under the provisions of PC 1203.4. Additionally, you may petition the court to seal the court files and arrest records of the arresting agency.
CLEARING YOUR CRIMINAL RECORD: MARIJUANA-RELATED CASES
Adults may legally carry 28.5 grams of marijuana, but other activities related to the substance remain illegal. You may not necessarily require a dismissal if you were convicted of marijuana possession, gift, sale, transportation or importation because such arrest and conviction records are automatically purged from California criminal databases after two years. However, if your conviction resulted in jail time, your records will only be destroyed two years after your release.
If you were sentenced for certain codes of possession, cultivation, possession for sale or unlawful transportation of marijuana before November 9, 2016 and you have successfully fulfilled the requirements of your conviction, you may petition the court to dismiss your case or to redesignated it. This should result in more lenient sentencing under Provision 64. If you succeed in obtaining a dismissal, you may also petition the court to seal your criminal record.
If you are currently serving your sentence, you may petition for dismissal or resentencing under Proposition 64 sentencing provisions.
BENEFITS OF CLEARING YOUR CRIMINAL RECORDS
Once you have managed to clear your criminal record, you will enjoy much more freedom. You will not have to disclose your convictions when you apply for a position in the private sector. When applying for a state license or government job, you must respond to the question of conviction in the affirmative, and mention that the conviction was dismissed.
Ultimately, a clear criminal record allows you many privileges that are denied people with blemishes on their record due to the stigma it brings.
Record Expungement Attorney in San Bernardino, CA has many years of experience in successfully helping clients with cleaning their criminal records. When you call our offices, we will schedule an appointment with an experienced attorney who can assess the merits of your case and recommend the best course of action to help clear your criminal record and help you turn over a new leaf. Call Record Expungement Attorney today on 909-965-4033.