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Record Expungement & Sealing
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Expunging Your California Criminal Record Is The First Step To A Better Future.
Seal & Destroy Your Arrest Records - A new California law allows people who were arrested but never convicted to have their California arrest records sealed as a matter of right (automatically). Sealing an arrest means the record will not show up on most criminal background checks in California, other than to law enforcement.
California has long allowed people with criminal convictions records to get them expunged (dismissed) provided that both the individual and the conviction they want to be expunged meet a set of qualifications. Today, record expungement, sealing of records, and other similar legal actions have become a common occurrence throughout the state of California as people try to move past their previous mistakes and get on without their past police records haunting them for the rest of their lives.
Past arrest and criminal conviction records hold you back for the rest of your life. They make it difficult to find meaningful employment, get a college or graduate school approval, or apply for any professional license that will enable you to launch your career.
This is why it is necessary to have your criminal record expunged or follow other legal processes such as having your arrest or juvenile record cleared and applying for a governor’s pardon or certificate of rehabilitation so that you can begin rebuilding your life afresh.
At Record Expungement Attorney, we assist people living in Sherman Oaks, CA, successfully complete their record expungement or clearing process. Apart from our intricate knowledge and expertise in this area, our lawyers have a lot of experience of how the entire process works in local Sherman Oaks courts.
If you want to find out more about the California record expungement process or any other similar legal actions, do not hesitate to contact Record Expungement Attorney at 805-836-0422 for a free consultation. You can also visit our Sherman Oaks offices for a face to face consultation. We can quickly assess whether you qualify for record expungement and then guide you throughout the process until you clear your California police record.
What is Record Expungement?
Record expungement refers to the process of having your past criminal or police record changed from ‘conviction’ to ‘case dismissed’ when a background check is run on you. This also allows you to truthfully answer ‘no’ whenever you are asked whether you have a criminal record during any application process you undergo.
California’s Penal Code Section 1203.4 allows the expungement of past criminal convictions after the lapse of a set period and under specific conditions. As noted above, expungement does not completely erase your past criminal records but only changes it to a dismissal.
Expungement is possible to allow those convicted of crime in their past but have since been rehabilitated and are presently law-abiding citizens, and possibly have some mitigating factors working in their favor, escape a lifelong punishment of being constantly turned down for jobs, apartment leases, college enrollment, and professional licenses simply because their past keeps popping up on their background checks.
Who is Eligible for Record Expungement in California?
There are specific expungement qualifications that must be met to have your past criminal offenses expunged from your record. Generally, only wobblers and misdemeanors can get expunged. Wobblers refer to offenses that though were charged as felonies, could have been otherwise charged as misdemeanors. In such cases, you must first get the felony charges reduced to at least a misdemeanor before you have it expunged.
Not everybody with a past arrest or criminal conviction record is automatically eligible to have it expunged. California’s expungement statutes are some of the oldest in the country and have been expanded in recent years to make it possible for a larger number of people to qualify for record expungement. However, there are some limitations on expungement as discussed below:
You cannot file for record expungement if you are currently facing charges of a new offense, you are facing trial, or you are under criminal investigation.
Extreme sex offenses like statutory rape or sodomy against a child cannot be expunged.
Other extreme violent crimes like murder and violence against a child or the elderly also cannot be expunged.
You cannot file for expungement if you since been convicted of additional offenses after the one you want to be expunged. However, it is possible to expunge multiple offenses at a go to overcome this issue.
If you were charged in a federal court for the said crime or spent time in state prison after conviction for it, then it cannot be expunged. The exception here is only if you can prove that the offense for which you were sentenced and convicted could have been otherwise punished with county jail time, but only if you were convicted after Realignment (this refers to a period when sentencing elements such as incarceration underwent a major adjustment).
If you are still under probation for the offense you want to be expunged then you cannot have it expunged until you successfully complete probation. However, with the help of one of our competent attorneys at Record Expungement Attorney, you may apply to have your probation approved for early termination before filing for expungement, which speeds up the process. Remember that you have to meet all the probation requirements up to the point you currently are at this includes paying fines and restitution, showing up on time for court and probation officer appointments, and attending counseling sessions.
You cannot get approval for expungement if you were convicted and spent time in prison for the said offense after Realignment.
While you can get felonies, misdemeanors, and infractions expunged, the felony-expungement process is more difficult. This is because it can only be accomplished by first getting the felony reduced to a misdemeanor before proceeding with the expungement process. Note that you can only have a felony reduced to a misdemeanor if it was a wobbler offense, which means that the crime you were charged with could have either been a misdemeanor or a felony.
It is more prevalent for non-violent, first-time offenders to qualify for expungement, but a Record Expungement Attorney can handle all expungement cases including the difficult ones that tend to get overlooked by other lawyers on a regular basis.
Other factors to take into consideration include the following:
To have your record expunged, you must first have been convicted. Therefore, if your record already shows ‘acquitted’ or ‘dismissed,’ you do not need to apply for an expungement, though it is advisable to have your arrest record cleared.
If you plead guilty to the offense for which you were convicted, it gets more difficult (but not impossible) to get it expunged.
Completing counseling, substance abuse, anger management, and other relevant programs may go a long way in convincing the presiding judge that you merit an expungement.
Even if you do not qualify for expungement, it is important to speak to one of our record expungement lawyers to explore other legal options available to you.
What to Expect from Expungement: What It Can and Cannot Do
When you contact Record Expungement Attorney, we will help you get your conviction record expunged as soon as possible. During the initial consultation, we will explore every available option open to your client as well as the entire expungement process that they expect moving forward. This allows you to move forward knowing the full process so that you know what to expect.
Several qualifying convictions can be expunged under California Penal Code Section 1203.4. In the event that the process is successful, a background check will show ‘dismissal’ rather than ‘convicted of.’ Note that the background check will not come back empty unless the records are sealed.
Legally, employers are not allowed to hold a dismissal by expungement against you. Unfortunately, it is hard to prove any form of discrimination even if it occurred. However, the majority of employers are willing and ready to hire someone with past offenses who has dealt with them through the expungement process.
You can legally answer ‘no’ on many job application forms when asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime only if it has been expunged. However, you are mandated to reveal your conviction status when applying for police jobs, public official jobs, California state lotto jobs, and certain state-issued professional licenses.
Almost all disabilities and penalties that arise out of a criminal conviction are reversed by expungement. There are some exceptions to this as well. For example, expungement will not:
Cancel the duty and requirement to register with the state as a sex offender in most cases
Automatically restore your right to own firearms or reclaim lost ones
Prevent the expunged conviction count from being counted as a prior in case you are convicted in future
Undo the suspension or revocation of your California driver’s license
All in all, expungement, at least, removes a large majority of conviction-related hindrances that you would face without it. Therefore, you should not let the limitations and exceptions stated above obscure you from the many other benefits that it offers.
You stand a better chance of obtaining a good job, earn a professional license issued by the state, get an apartment lease in a good neighborhood, get college or grad school approval, and better your future in numerous other ways without your past conviction record holding you back. What’s more, an expunged offense cannot be used against you in court to destroy your credibility if you are a witness.
Finally, expungement simply shows that you have taken care of your conviction record but will not erase all trace of it. For the latter, you need to have the record sealed and destroyed.
How the Record Expungement Process Works: A Detailed Explanation
Our lawyers at Record Expungement Attorney handle the entire expungement process for you no matter the hurdles and difficulties that may come. We understand the entire laws surrounding expungement and other relevant conviction clearing options. Moreover, all our lawyers are experienced in this practice area and fight tirelessly on your behalf and with your best interest at heart.
What you should note is that expungement does not occur at once or automatically, rather it’s a process that requires you to obtain and then correctly fill the needed paperwork before submitting it to court. This is where one of our lawyers come into play to represent you throughout the whole process.
Remember that you are only eligible to apply for expungement if you meet the qualifications and have finished your probation, are applying due to a realignment exception as per PC 1203.42, are applying for early probation termination, or have waited for at least two years since the end of your sentence.
Once your paperwork is submitted, the DA or prosecuting agency can contest the expungement in court, though in many cases they will not. Still, it is prudent to expect and prepare to counter any opposition should it arise. A special hearing will be arranged to decide whether or not your expungement request will be granted. The final decision is left to the discretion of the presiding judge, but a strong case from your lawyer can make a significant difference in the outcome.
If the judge grants your expungement request, you can withdraw your ‘no contest’ or ‘guilty’ plea in favor of a ‘not guilty’ one. In case you were originally convicted in spite of a ‘not guilty’ plea, the verdict will be set aside. After this, the case is dismissed and the decision is reflected on your police report as well as any employer-run background checks.
If your expungement petition is denied, the judge will give you their reasons for denial. You can also request the reasons during the hearing if the judge has not given them on his own initiative. These reasons are important since they form the basis for making the required adjustments to your future expungement petition.
The expungement process takes anything between 30 and 60 days, though the exact time will depend on several factors including the nature of the offense you want to be expunged or whether or not the prosecution fights your expungement case. An experienced attorney can expedite the process if you are looking to submit your college application, job application, or meet any other deadline that requires you to reveal whether or not you have a criminal record.
Note that the entire expungement process has a lot of paperwork that must be filed precisely and at the right time before the lapse of deadlines. For example, the prosecution must be notified of your petition at least 15 or more days before the date of the hearing. Since the legal requirements surrounding such proceedings are numerous and complex, it is prudent to hire an expungement attorney to maximize your chances of success.
Other Options Available to You Other than Expungement
At Record Expungement Attorney, we remain dedicated to helping you and other clients get your criminal record convictions expunged if you meet the state eligibility requirements. We can also help you get an early termination of your probation as well as reduce your past charges from a felony status to a misdemeanor, in cases where applicable, all in preparation for filing your expungement petition.
However, there are other services that we can provide you in addition to expungement or if expungement is not your answer. These are:
Sealing of Records
We can assist you in sealing your juvenile or adult criminal records. This only refers to arrest records and not conviction records. Normally, an adult arrest record is open to public view but can be sealed under certain circumstances. Sealing of records simply means having them ‘taken of the public record.’
A sealed record can only be viewed by law enforcement agencies and a few other special circumstances such as when a prosecutor wants to view them in a criminal case. Although, basically, almost nobody can view them again once they are sealed.
To qualify for an arrest record sealing in the state of California, at least one of the statements below must be true concerning the arrest in question:
The case was dismissed
No charges were filed in court
You were found ‘not guilty’
You completed a diversion program called Prop 36
You completed a deferred entry of judgment program called PC 1000
Your conviction was overturned by an appellate court
It is easier to have a juvenile record sealed. If you were arrested for a crime as a juvenile and you are presently an adult who has not been convicted in adulthood of any other serious crimes, you can have your juvenile record sealed –unless your arrest was for crimes such as child molestation, murder, or robbery. Once a juvenile record is sealed, it remains as such for three years after which it is destroyed entirely.
If your arrest record is sealed, either for an adult or juvenile offense, you are free to legitimately state that you were never arrested for the crime within the state of California. A juvenile arrest record can be sealed as both to an arrest or offense. Adult records can also be sealed for either arrests or offenses; however, it is more difficult to have adult conviction records sealed.
Certificate of Rehabilitation
A certificate of rehabilitation (COR) can help you get approval on your application for a California state professional license. A COR license states that you, the recipient, have been ‘rehabilitated’ from your criminal past in regard to a certain offense.
You cannot apply for a certificate of rehabilitation until seven to ten years have passed from the date of your release. The exact wait period is dependent on the nature of your offense. What’s more, COR is only used after a conviction occurs and not an arrest.
You cannot be denied a license issued by the state due to a past criminal conviction for which you have received a certificate of rehabilitation. Also, employers who run a background check on you will see the rehabilitation status. Once you receive a COR, you get an automatic application for a Governor’s pardon.
Certificate of Detainment
A certificate of detainment is an official document from the arresting agency that handled your arrest stating that you were only detained during the relevant incident and not technically arrested. While the difference between the two is legally quite thin, the boundaries can be vague. A signed certificate from a recognized law enforcement agency asserting the difference can go a long way in helping you move past certain hurdles for example when applying for professional licenses.
The governor of California has the authority to issue a pardon to anyone they chose. Such a pardon eliminates all penalties associated with the relevant conviction. Thus, it results in total and permanent relief, which is why it is referred to as the ultimate way to clear your record.
To apply for a pardon, you have to wait for at least ten years after your release from custody, which extends to probation and parole other than just incarceration time. If you obtain a certificate of rehabilitation, you can apply for a pardon in only seven years. If you are found innocent of a crime, you can immediately apply for a governor’s pardon and have your criminal record sealed and destroyed.
Why Choose Record Expungement Attorney?
With the numerous law firms operating in Sherman Oaks, Ca, Record Expungement Attorney is your top choice due to our experience, industrious nature, and our deep-rooted dedication to our clients’ interests and needs. We specialize in record expungements, sealing, and other related practices that offer our clients a second chance at life.
We take great care to ensure that our lawyers uphold utmost confidentiality in all cases and maintain professionalism throughout all legal cases. We are also reputed for our integrity, which we have steadily built over the years during our service delivery processes.
When you hire us, rest assured that our lawyers will give your petition the utmost attention it requires since we are not a law mill. Trust us to build you a strong and airtight case that will convince the presiding judge to have your conviction records expunged and arrest records sealed and/or destroyed. Our high success rate has not affected our ability to get the job done as quickly and effectively as our clients wish.
Contact Our Record Expungement Attorney Near You
Contact us today via our hotline 805-836-0422 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys and have your expungement case filed as soon as possible. We are always available to help you 24/7/365. Feel free to also visit our offices located at 30700 Russell Ranch Road, Suite 250, Westlake Village, California, 91362.
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