If you have a criminal record, chances are that you have experienced the frustration of being refused certain employment, having had your rental application denied or been turned down by the school you hoped to attend. It is difficult for anyone with a criminal record, and especially someone with a felony conviction, to be fully reintegrated into society and to enjoy the same opportunities available to most everyone else.
An expungement provides a second chance for those individuals who have completed their probation and not served any state prison time. The expungement process can be difficult and exasperating in some cases and it may often take reasoned arguments by an experienced expungement lawyer along with supporting documentation to get you the relief you want. We can set aside your conviction and have your records cleared or made inaccessible to the general public.
There are other options available to you for post-conviction relief that an attorney can advise you on if applicable to your case including record sealing, early termination of probation, reduction of a felony to a misdemeanor, obtaining a Certificate of Rehabilitation and Governor’s Pardon along with expungement.
Expunging Your Conviction
Expungement in California does not mean the destruction of your records since law enforcement and the courts will retain these records to be used under certain circumstances. It does, though, enable the court to reopen your case and dismiss your conviction provided certain conditions have been met.
Some infraction, misdemeanor, felony offenses can be expunged including;:Drug possession and other drug related crimes, Marijuana possession,Domestic violence, Theft, Burglary, Robbery, DUI, DWI, driving under the influence of alcohol or drug, Prostitution & Sex Crimes, Indecent exposure, Stolen property offenses, petty theft, shoplifting, Assault, assault with a deadly weapon and battery
There are a number of post-conviction options available to you that can enable you to have a second chance and enjoy the opportunities denied you because of your criminal record. These include the following:
Infractions, misdemeanors and felonies can be expunged provided you only received probation and did not serve any state prison time. Also, your offense cannot have involved a sexual crime involving a minor. In some cases, even if you violated your probation, you may still be able to receive an expungement order.
As indicated, a felony can be expunged so long as you did not serve any state prison time and you have completed all the terms and provisions of your probation. If you did serve time in state prison, your other option is a Certificate of Rehabilitation. You may have to wait at least 7 years before applying but you are automatically eligible for a Governor’s Pardon and it does allow you to now apply for state and vocational licenses for which you were previously prohibited.
Early Probation Termination
Many probation periods are 3 or 5 years. Regardless of how long, though, after you have successfully served at least half of it, you may apply for early termination. Our office can prepare your request and obtain letters of support or evidence of rehabilitation along with a statement as to why you should be granted early termination. Once it is granted, we can begin the expungement process.
Reducing Your Felony to a Misdemeanor
In many instances, a felony can be later reduced to a misdemeanor pursuant to Penal Code Section 17(B). This would include those offenses considered “wobblers” wherein the district attorney has the discretion to charge you with either a felony or misdemeanor.
Another form of post-conviction relief pertains to sealing your arrest records or juvenile and drug diversion records. Arrest records may be sealed provided charges were either dismissed or you were never prosecuted. Under Glendale, California Penal Code Section 858.1, your arrest records may be sealed and not publicly accessible but only if a court determines that no reasonable cause exists to believe that you committed the offense for which you were charged. Prosecutors have discretion whether to charge you though there may be evidence that seemingly appears sufficient to link you to the crime. If a judge feels that there was probable or “reasonable” cause to believe you committed the crime regardless if you were charged, then your arrest records may not be sealed.
Juvenile records are often not available to the general public but it is worthwhile to have them sealed nonetheless to avoid any potential problems you may encounter as an adult. You must be at least 18 years old, or the juvenile court’s jurisdiction ended at least 5 years earlier, did not commit any crimes involving moral turpitude and have no pending criminal charges, and you present evidence of rehabilitation.