If you are found guilty of a crime in the state of California, do not assume the conviction will remain on your record indefinitely. Once you have completed your court-ordered sentence and complied with all terms including probation, you will be that much closer to obtaining an expungement. An expungement clears your record, restores your good name and makes life easier in all regards. However, this is not the type of legal challenge you should attempt to handle on your own. You need a team of seasoned legal experts on your side to comply with the court’s nuanced requirements for record expungement, clear your record and restart your life with a clean slate.
Defining Record Expungement
Record expungement is a process that seals or even destroys court records pertaining to alleged criminal actions. Have your record expunged and no one will be able to find out you were arrested for a supposed criminal act or convicted of such an act. Your record will no longer be accessible to anyone but a handful of government employees. Furthermore, record expungement liberates you from having to reveal information about the incident in question. Though there are several terms that relate to expungement such as “expunction”, “destruction” and “removal”, they produce the same effect of clearing your record and helping you make the most of your life.
California’s Requirements for Record Expungement
Those found guilty of a crime are allowed to request a record expungement a full year after serving the sentence, complying with the terms of the sentencing and completing probation. However, record expungement is not available to those serving an additional sentence for a second crime. Nor is record expungement available for those charged with an additional crime. The majority of felonies are excluded from consideration for expungement including those in which time has been served in state prison. If you are found guilty of a crime that mandates you register as a sex offender in the state of California, you are required to continue registering as such an offender following your record expungement.
Why It Makes Sense to Clear Your Record With a Record Expungement
Even if you serve your court-ordered sentence following your conviction, comply with all terms as mandated by the court and complete probation, your criminal record will hang over your head like a dark cloud for the rest of your life. You can avoid such a scenario by leaning on our record expungement attorneys to clear your record. A criminal record will make life difficult in numerous regards. An arrest for an alleged crime or the criminal conviction itself makes it challenging to obtain employment, rent an apartment, apply for college, obtain financial aid and even travel outside of the United States. This is precisely why so many people arrested and/or convicted for alleged crimes seek a record expungement through our law office.
The Expungement Process
The challenge of expunging a criminal record is greatly ameliorated with the assistance of proven record expungement attorneys. Though it is possible to file for record expungement on your own, the chances of such a request being respected and granted by the court are slim-to-none. The better option is to lean on an attorney to handle the nuances of this complicated legal process on your behalf. Our attorney will determine if your case is eligible for record expungement. Our legal team has experience handling all the subtleties of the record expungement process, from filling out the eligibility application to meeting the court’s deadlines, completing all the proper forms and beyond.
The record expungement process requires copies of your criminal record and additional court documents. Furthermore, the proper paperwork must be filled out in full and submitted on the court’s nuanced timeline. Submitted documents must be accompanied by the appropriate filing fees to boot. From the petition for expungement to attending hearing dates in a court of law and beyond, our legal team has you covered every step of the way toward the end goal of record expungement. Petitions often require a series of documents such as the certificate of eligibility from the California probation department, the acceptance of service, prosecutor and victim statements, the petitioner’s reply, finding of facts and conclusions of law.
We have our fingers on the pulse of California’s idiosyncratic record expungement laws. If you are unclear about any stage of the record expungement process, meet with our legal team and we will explain this nuanced information in-depth for full clarification. Our team will work on your behalf with the California probation department to generate a report for the court to determine whether you are eligible for record expungement. Thought a prosecutor might challenge the expungement with a filing of an objection prior to the expungement hearing, our legal team can counter this argument.
Most importantly, we will make a compelling case for the expungement of your record before the judge. The judge will analyze our legal argument for record expungement in addition to the probation department report detailing how you have behaved since the legal issue. Most judges are especially concerned about whether the incident in question was isolated or one in a series of transgressions. If the report shows the legal issue is isolated, the expungement will likely be issued.
The Power of Record Expungement
A criminal arrest or criminal conviction has the potential to spur undesirable and even some particularly harsh consequences down the line. The worst part is such an arrest or conviction will continue to punish you years after you have paid your debt to society. Unfortunately, even something as simple as an unjust arrest for an alleged crime can damage your reputation even though you were never convicted. The rise of the web, technology and easily accessible background checks makes it incredibly easy for anyone with an internet connection and a few dollars to view your full history. As noted above, a black mark on your legal record makes it difficult or even impossible to purchase an automobile, rent a home, obtain gainful employment, obtain student loans and live a normal life.
Have your record expunged and you will not have to worry about the negative consequences detailed above. Record expungement really is an incredibly powerful legal tool. Once your record is expunged, you will be able to honestly state on a mortgage, rental, job or other application you have never been convicted or arrested for a crime. Simply answer “No” and leave it at that. Take a moment to think about how nice it will be to sidestep inquiries about your supposed transgressions that occurred years or even decades ago when applying for a job, an apartment, college, student loans, admission to other countries and so on. You will not have to acknowledge the event occurred, provide details or speak on the matter in any regard. This is the freedom every convicted criminal and innocent person arrested for an alleged criminal act needs and deserves.
Reasons for Denial of Record Expungement
The reasons for the court’s denial of a request for record expungement differ from one California jurisdiction and court to the next. However, there are typically some common themes in such rejections. If you have not met the waiting period requirement of a full year following the completion of your probation and sentencing, the court will almost certainly deny your request for record expungement. If your fines are not paid in full or if you have not adhered to the terms of your probation, your expungement request might be denied. In some instances, the court’s records show the case in question is still open.
A pending arrest or a conviction for a separate offense will likely lead to a denial. A case that went to federal court is ineligible for expungement. Furthermore, federal crimes are ineligible for record expungement. In certain situations the type of crime in question is ineligible. Especially serious offenses are unlikely to qualify for record expungement. The vast majority of felonies and crimes of the sexual variety cannot be expunged.
Expunging a Felony
As noted above, it is challenging to expunge especially serious felonies, especially sexual offenses such as child pornography and rape. Particularly violent crimes are also difficult to expunge. However, our legal team has a never-say-die attitude. We will fiercely advocate on your behalf to petition for an expungement with the court that convicted you of the felony in question.
Do not make the mistake of attempting to expunge a felony from your record on your own through the state’s online forms. The expungement of a felony or any other type of crime is a lengthy, complicated process that requires the attention of a seasoned attorney. We will do everything in our power to present a convincing case for the expungement of your felony yet it is ultimately up to the judge to determine if an expungement will be granted.
It is comparably easy to expunge a misdemeanor from your permanent record. Misdemeanors are not as serious as felonies so they are typically punished through a monetary fine, community service as ordered by the court and/or a year or less in jail. These comparably weak punishments make it that much easier to clear the misdemeanor from your record through an expungement. Less serious misdemeanors are especially easy to clear. In particular, less serious misdemeanors that are the first offense are comparably easy to expunge from your permanent record. Our legal team will fill out the appropriate paperwork, check with the court where the conviction occurred and zealously advocate on your behalf at all court hearings.
The record expungement process becomes more challenging when attempting to clear a serious misdemeanor from your record. Serious misdemeanors are fairly similar to felony crimes. Examples of serious misdemeanors include assault, theft and some DUIs (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs). These serious misdemeanors are referred to as “wobblers” and have the potential to be treated similar to a misdemeanor or felony. Some such wobblers do not qualify for record expungement.
The Expungement of DUIs
Though some states do not permit the expungement of a DUI conviction for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, California is much more forgiving. The Golden State permits the expungement of DUIs for those who allegedly operated a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, the DUI sentence must have strictly included probation as opposed to jail time. If you served time in jail for your DUI, expungement will prove quite challenging, if not impossible. Furthermore, DUI probation provisions must have been completed in full.
If any additional criminal charges are pending, the court will not grant your record expungement request. Though the DUI case impacts your driving record, expungement is not applicable to your driving record. A record expungement will note liminate license restrictions or any other issues handled by the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
California Record Expungement Nuances of Note
California’s record expungement laws are comparably liberal and petitioner-friendly. If you have multiple convictions, you will need to gather important information regarding each conviction. The state of California requires each conviction’s case number (docket number), the date of the conviction, the code name and section number pertaining to the violation and information regarding a verdict or plea. The California State Department of Justice Criminal Record Review Unit has full record of your criminal record information down to the very last detail. You will also need the court papers provided at the time of your conviction and most importantly, the assistance of our legal team.
Once your record is expunged in the state of California, you will be released from all possible penalties that could possibly stem from the conviction. This is the exact language used in the state’s Penal Code 1203.4. As noted above, there are some situations in which people are ineligible for expungement. If you are ineligible, our legal team can still help you obtain relief. Alternative routes to expungement include a Certificate of Rehabilitation, a California governor’s pardon and the commutation of a California prison sentence.
The Law Offices of Jonathan Franklin Can Help with Record Clearing Near You
Our legal team is here to clear your record, restore your name and get your life back on track. Give us a call at 310-273-9600 to schedule an initial consultation. Meet with our legal team and we will explain every aspect of the expungement process to finally clear your record and return your life to normalcy. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose by meeting with our attorneys.