A criminal record tends to make life more complicated, as it limits your ability to find a job, obtain housing and professional licensing, obtain a firearm permit, obtain student loans, apply for government programs and more. These opportunities should be available to you. In addition, any member of the public who has access to the internet. They would not even need to perform a formal background check to learn more about your past. With the help of an experienced Record Expungement Attorney in San Bernardino, CA you can now have your old criminal records wiped clean in order to reduce the effects of a negative criminal record in California.
There are many benefits to expunging your criminal record, including:
- The relief that comes from being rid of the stigma of being a felon.
- The ability to legally assert that you have not been convicted of a crime when landlords or employers ask about your criminal record.
- The fact that you become eligible to obtain professional licensed for which you did not qualify while you had a blemish on your credit record.
- The fact that you will be more eligible for government programs, housing assistance, and student loans.
- The ability to qualify for higher-paying employment opportunities. California employment law prohibits employers from discriminating against job applicants and employees because they had their convictions expunged.
- Improved access to educational resources and college admission.
- The reduced concern about embarrassment when you fail background checks.
- Restoring your credibility as a witness in court, unless you are a defendant on trial for a subsequent crime.
- Avoiding certain immigration consequences, in some instances.
TYPES OF RECORD EXPUNGEMENTS IN CALIFORNIA
There are many reasons to seek expungement. Perhaps you did not contest a charge that occurred years ago, not realizing the impact it may have on you in time to come. Perhaps you were found guilty then and now wish to take advantage of our progressive expungement laws in order to eliminate unnecessary obstacles. Although expungement is not about asking the judge to overturn a guilty verdict, but rather to seal your records as per the provisions of California state law. However, it has the same effect. When your records are expunged, it is as though the court never convicted you.
California offers many different options for clearing your record, which is why it is so important to choose the right options. A Record Expungement Attorney can help select the correct service and submit your petitions at the right time for the best results. Some of the types of record expungements that may be performed in California include:
Arrest Record Sealing: Arrests that do not lead to conviction can be sealed, thus completely removing the blemish on your record from public view. In order to qualify to have your arrest record sealed, the court must first establish that you are factually innocent of the crime for which they arrested you. Although meeting this legal standard can be complex, succeeding in having your record sealed will completely remove it from your public California criminal record.
Proposition 62: Sealing and Expungement of Marijuana Records: If your prior marijuana offense has since become legal or qualifies as a misdemeanor (such as possession), that may qualify you to have the conviction sealed. Alternatively, your conviction can possibly be reduced to a misdemeanor.
Felony Conviction Expungement: If your felony conviction is expunged, your conviction will be dismissed, which removes your conviction from your record. This is achieved by reopening your case and changing the verdict from a felony to a dismissal. Being granted an expungement will not destroy your criminal record completely, but because you are no longer convicted, you can legally assert that you have not been convicted of a crime. As such, you will no longer be considered a felon.
Felony Reductions: Sometimes, the law may allow you to have your felony conviction reduced. If you were granted probation on a wobbler offense (a crime that may be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor), the law may grant you a felony reduction under Section 17 (b) of California Penal Code. This process may allow you to obtain a gun permit.
Restoration of Firearm Rights: California expungement law offers many benefits aside from just expunging felony convictions. If you are eligible for a felony conviction expungement for a wobbler offense, it may be possible to obtain a felony reduction as well as an expungement. In many cases, this will help restore your right to own a gun. If you lost your firearm rights due to certain misdemeanor offenses, it may take ten years to restore your rights.
Misdemeanor Conviction Expungement: If your misdemeanor conviction is expunged and it results in your conviction being dismissed, your conviction will be removed from your record. Your criminal case will be reopened, and the result will be changed from conviction to dismissal. Expungement does not result in your record being completely destroyed, but since you will no longer be convicted, you can legally assert that you have never been convicted of the crime in question.
DUI Expungement: If you succeed in having your DUI conviction expunged, the DUI will be removed from your record. This process will also reopen your initial criminal case and hang the result changed from a conviction to a dismissal. Your records will not be completely destroyed, but you will no longer be considered a convict.
Early Probation Termination: If you are currently serving probation, you may be in a hurry to have your record expunged. In some cases, you may be able to request early termination of probation. For this petition to succeed, all your court-ordered classes must have been completed, and your court costs must be paid up in full. Your lawyer may be able to expedite your expungement by submitting your petition for expungement at the same time as the petition for early termination of probation.
Pardon: In order to obtain a pardon, you must request a Certificate of Rehabilitation first. Once granted, the pardon will turn into an application.
In some cases, you may have to obtain court orders to ask third parties to remove your records.
Expungement is often confused with criminal record sealing. Sealing and destroying your arrest records in accordance with SB 383 is a completely different process to record expungement. Sealing your records involves removing the records of an arrest that did not lead to a conviction. You may be eligible for record sealing if:
- you were arrested but not charged
- the criminal case was dismissed
- you were acquitted in a jury trial
- your conviction was dismissed or overturned on an appeal
- you successfully completed a diversion program
If you're unsure about the right choice for your needs, speak to a Record Expungement Attorney.
TYPES OF RECORDS THAT CANNOT BE EXPUNGED
If you read the list above, you may have noticed that some types of record expungements are missing. The reason for that is that your conviction cannot be expunged if you served time in a state prison. Likewise, you will have to first meet all the terms of your probation before your conviction can be expunged. Then, of course, some crimes cannot be expunged, namely:
- PC 286(c)—Sodomy with a child
- PC 288—Lewd acts with a child
- PC 288a(c)—Oral copulation with a child
- PC 261.5(d)—Sexual intercourse between adults over the age of 21 and minors under the age of 16
- Specific sexual assaults
- Failure to submit to police inspection of your vehicle
Most other crime convictions can be expunged, provided you meet the eligibility requirements, which usually include completing your sentence and your probation terms. Successful completion of probation means that you have:
- paid all relevant restitution and fines, and completed all community service and counseling programs;
- you attended all the required court appearances, either in person of through your attorney; and
- you remained a law-abiding citizen while you were on probation.
You will not qualify for expungement under PC 1203.4 if you were sent to a state prison at judgement, or as the result of violating your probation. However, if you served your sentence in a county jail because you committed a crime since your realignment. Your Record Expungement Attorney will be able to explain this exception to you. A probation violation does not necessarily mean that all hope is lost for expungement. During a special hearing, the court will determine whether you are a good candidate and use their discretion in dismissing your conviction. Some of the factors the judge will consider include:
- the severity of the conviction
- your overall performance during probation
- your criminal history
- evidence that shows that you deserve relief, including
- - strong community ties
- - family support
- - ability to hold a good job
THE PROCESS FOR DIFFERENT TYPES OF RECORD EXPUNGEMENTS
Several steps are involved in obtaining a PC 1203.4 expungement in California. It is a good idea to hire an experienced Record Expungement Attorney to guide you through the process, which involves:
- Case Analysis—Your attorney will first review the details of your case to determine whether you are eligible for relief.
- Research—Once your attorney has determined that you are eligible to apply for expungement of your criminal records, the legal team will perform legal research. Laws change all the time, and while your attorney is a specialist in expungement law, specific details relating to your case may require relevant research on current aspects of the law.
- Petitioning—Filing your petitions timeously is crucial. Your attorney will determine the available timeframes for filing your petition and file the appropriate paperwork at the right time for the most successful outcome. As the expungement applicant, you have to provide the prosecutor a minimum of fifteen days' notice before the hearing to enable them to review the case and submit objections, if need be.
- Expungement hearing—If the judge sets a hearing to hear arguments from the prosecuting attorneys, you and your attorney will be called to attend the hearing in court. If you are required to attend, your attorney will accompany you, otherwise, the attorney will attend the hearing on your behalf.
LIMITATIONS OF CERTAIN TYPES OF RECORD EXPUNGEMENTS
While Penal Code 1203.4 offers tremendous relief to most of the challenges that come with an arrest or conviction on your criminal record, you should be aware of the limitations. Depending on the type of conviction that was dismissed against you, expungement will not:
- end your duty to maintain registration as a sex offender (PC 290)
- restore your right to own a firearm (California "felon with a firearm" law, PC 29800)
- overturn your driver's license suspension/revocation
If you commit the same infraction, misdemeanor or felony again in future, your expunged conviction can still be used to enhance sentencing. Expunged convictions that count as strikeable offenses will count towards your three strikes.
If you are not eligible for expungement, your rights can sometimes be restored by means of alternative post-conviction relief options, including:
- California Governor's Pardon
- California Certificate of Rehabilitation
GET HELP FROM A RECORD EXPUNGEMENT ATTORNEY
If you're concerned about entries on your criminal record, the good news is that many infractions, misdemeanor, and felony convictions can be expunged, which will remove the conviction from your criminal record. Therefore, you will no longer experience the ill effects that come from a less-than-stellar criminal record and you will have access to more opportunities and benefits.
Record Expungement Attorney has years of experience in assisting clients with all types of record expungements in California, ranging from misdemeanors, infractions, and felonies to DUIs and more. Our clients reside throughout all of California and include clients currently living out of state but with the need to expunge their California record.
We can assist with arrest sealing and criminal record clearing through expungement and other remedies. If you need help with your criminal record and getting your life back on track, don't hesitate to seek the help you deserve. Call us today at 909-965-4033 to discuss your case with a knowledgeable Record Expungement Attorney.