If you have a criminal record, you face numerous obstacles in finding suitable employment, leasing an apartment, attending school or university, and obtaining a professional license.
But under certain conditions, records of a criminal arrest and conviction can be expunged.
What Is An Expungement?
An expungement is a court order that dismisses your conviction and erases it from your public record1.
An expungement means that records of your conviction are not publicly accessible so that employers, potential employers, landlords, and any other member of the general public cannot view these records.
It also means that you can state under oath that you have never been convicted of the crime and not fear being charged with perjury.
What An Expungement Can Not Do
While your record of the conviction is no longer publicly accessible, an expungement does not mean that these records have been destroyed, nor does it mean that you need not disclose the expunged conviction in all instances where you are asked about it.
For example, you will have to disclose the expunged conviction if applying for any type of public employment or for military service. Police departments will not hire any applicant with an expunged felony conviction, for instance..
Also, if you are subsequently arrested and charged with a crime, the courts and prosecution will be able to access your expunged records and use it to enhance your offense or sentence if you are convicted.
Still, getting your record expunged is essential to getting your life back on track and to enjoying a normal life. The benefits of expungement include:
- Your conviction is not publicly accessible
- No employer may deny you employment or discriminate against you based on an expunged conviction
- Your credibility as a witness cannot be impeached in court or if you are deposed
- It removes a fatal bar to your ability to obtain a professional license
- It may remove a reason for deporting you if you are not an American citizen
Your eligibility to apply for and receive a record expungement depends on the following circumstances in your case:
Requirements For Eligibility
- No state prison time was served2.
- All conditions of your sentence and probation have been completed2.
- No other criminal charges are pending2.
- You did not violate your probation though this is not necessarily a disqualifying condition2.
If you did violate your probation, then you will have to explain how an expungement will benefit you and your family situation. The court will look at the nature of your violation, how long you were on probation and your overall criminal record.
Effect Of An Expungement
The effect of an expungement includes:
- You may state under oath that you were never convicted of that particular crime
- You do have to disclose your conviction and that it was expunged if you are applying for a public license or for public sector employment
- You have to disclose the conviction and expungement if running for public office
- Disclose it if you are applying for a license or contract with the State Lottery Commission
- If you reoffend, your expunged conviction can be used by the court to enhance your sentence
- You right to own or possess firearms is not restored3
Requirements For Disclosing Your Conviction
You will have to disclose your conviction as well as the expungement under certain circumstances:
- If applying for a public or professional license
- If running for public office
- Should you apply for a license or contract with the State Lottery Commission
An expungement does not totally erase your record. Should you commit a subsequent offense, the court can use your prior conviction to increase your sentence and to extend the time of your license suspension if you commit a DUI.
Further, your right to own or possess firearms is not restored.
Steps To Receive An Expungement
To receive an expungement, you or your attorney will do the following:
- Move the court to grant early termination of your probation
- Request that your felony conviction be reduced to a misdemeanor if you were convicted of a felony that is considered a wobbler
- File an application for expungement using Form CR-180, Petition for Dismissal
Once the court orders the expungement or dismissal, an order is sent to various criminal databases to delete your record.
Hiring An Attorney
The Aizman Law Firm has a 100% success rate with regard to expungements that are required to be granted by law. T
his includes arguing on our clients behalf when judges have wrongly denied these motions and we have had them reversed.
Our goal is to make sure that the law is upheld and our clients receive the relief that the legislature has set forth for them.
Contact us at 818-351-9555 for a free case evaluation.
- California Penal Code 1203.4(a)(1) – In any case in which a defendant has fulfilled the conditions of probation for the entire period of probation, or has been discharged prior to the termination of the period of probation, or in any other case in which a court, in its discretion and the interests of justice, determines that a defendant should be granted the relief available under this section, the defendant shall, at any time after the termination of the period of probation, if he or she is not then serving a sentence for any offense, on probation for any offense, or charged with the commission of any offense, be permitted by the court to withdraw his or her plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere and enter a plea of not guilty; or, if he or she has been convicted after a plea of not guilty, the court shall set aside the verdict of guilty; and, in either case, the court shall thereupon dismiss the accusations or information against the defendant and except as noted below, he or she shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she has been convicted, except as provided in Section 13555 of the Vehicle Code. The probationer shall be informed, in his or her probation papers, of this right and privilege and his or her right, if any, to petition for a certificate of rehabilitation and pardon. The probationer may make the application and change of plea in person or by attorney, or by the probation officer authorized in writing. However, in any subsequent prosecution of the defendant for any other offense, the prior conviction may be pleaded and proved and shall have the same effect as if probation had not been granted or the accusation or information dismissed. The order shall state, and the probationer shall be informed, that the order does not relieve him or her of the obligation to disclose the conviction in response to any direct question contained in any questionnaire or application for public office, for licensure by any state or local agency, or for contracting with the California State Lottery Commission. [↩]
- California Penal Code 1203.4 PC, See Footnote 1 [↩] [↩] [↩] [↩]
- California Penal Code 1203.4(2) – Dismissal of an accusation or information pursuant to this section does not permit a person to own, possess, or have in his or her custody or control any firearm or prevent his or her conviction under Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 29800) of Division 9 of Title 4 of Part 6. [↩]