What Does a California Expungement Do?
Your life can be tough if you have been convicted of a crime before. Finding a job and housing can be challenging, making it hard to move forward with your life. Luckily, the law allows you to expunge your past criminal records. The California Penal Code Section 1203.4 covers expungement and outlines the crimes you can expunge.
The process is often lengthy and complex, and it helps to hire a skilled Los Angeles criminal defense attorney to help you. They can evaluate your record and determine your eligibility for expungement. Besides, they know how the system works and how to approach the court to have the record deleted.
What is a Criminal Record?
A criminal record is also known as a “rap sheet” and refers to the official documents that contain a concise history of your illegal activity. The details include the following:
- Your full name, known aliases, and previous names
- Your date of birth
- Your ethnicity
- Your fingerprints
- Photography distinguishing any physical characteristics
- All your arrest records and convictions
- Any outstanding warrants against you
- Any previous or current indictments
Your criminal record starts building up when you’re accused of committing a crime, beginning with your fingerprints and mugshot.
What is Expungement?
Expungement means releasing you from the penalties associated with your criminal conviction. Once a record is expunged, a potential employer cannot see the history as the law prohibits them from using it against you in their hiring decision. Therefore, expunging your criminal record can be essential to living free from your past mistakes.
It’s important to note that California lacks a legal process for actual expungement that completely seals a criminal conviction. Many believe that expungement removes or erases their record, but that’s incorrect. Instead, when the court grants a dismissal of your record, it vacates it and enters a dismissal notation on the record.
Let a skilled Los Angeles expungement attorney take you through the details of expungement in California. Having all the information you need can help you make the right choice. It also lets you know how to proceed when seeking employment and what to say if asked about your criminal record. You can deny ever being convicted of a crime after expungement.
What Convictions Can Be Expunged in California?
Most felony and misdemeanor convictions in California are eligible for expungement if you meet the following conditions:
- You were convicted of the crime
- You’re not currently facing any criminal charges
- You’re not serving a sentence for a criminal offense
- It has been at least two years since you completed your jail sentence if you were convicted of a felony and sentenced to a county jail
- You have paid all court-order fines
- You have completed probation or received an early probation termination
- You were not sentenced to a California state prison
If you didn’t complete your probation, you could still have your record expunged if:
- You have paid all restitution and aren’t currently facing charges or serving a sentence for another offense if you did not fulfill the probation requirements
- You were convicted of a misdemeanor for solicitation of prostitution and have successfully completed probation
- If you were convicted of a felony, it must first be reduced to a misdemeanor
Felonies that qualify for expungements could otherwise be charged as misdemeanors, often known as wobblers. However, note that expungement will not affect penalties associated with your driving privileges in California.
Convictions That Cannot Be Expunged in California
Specific crimes that cannot be expunged in California regardless of your eligibility are:
- Certain sexual assault crimes
- Sodomy with a minor
- Lewd and lascivious acts with a minor
- Oral copulation with a minor
- Unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor
- Failure to submit to police inspection of a vehicle
You’re also not eligible to have your criminal record expunged if you meet the following criteria:
- You were convicted in a federal court
- You’re currently charged with, serving a sentence, or on probation for another criminal offense
- You were sentenced to time in a California state prison
- You’re still on probation and can’t have your probation terminated early
If you need clarification about your eligibility or where the category of the crime you were charged with falls, talk to a skilled Los Angeles expungement lawyer.
How Does an Expungement Affect My Life?
One of the most significant impacts of an expungement is to help you obtain employment. It allows you not to reveal your past criminal convictions on an employment application or during the interview. An employer is also prohibited from discriminating against you based on that record.
Other benefits of an expungement are to help you obtain a state professional license and could help you avoid immigration issues. Once your record is expunged, it will show you were arrested and convicted, but the conviction was dismissed in the interest of justice. Take note that this is not the same as a factual innocence motion.
What Does an Expungement Not Do?
Your expungement attorney in Los Angeles will let you know that a dismissal of a criminal record in California doesn’t do the following:
- It doesn’t change any restrictions you obtained in your driving privileges
- It doesn’t reinstate a suspended or revoked driver’s license
- It doesn’t restore your rights to own a firearm if the conviction prevents you from doing so
- It doesn’t end your legal obligation to register as a sex offender
- It doesn’t prevent courts from using past convictions to enhance future sentencing
Seek the Legal Guidance of an Experienced Professional for a Fresh Start in Life
If you have a criminal record and want to have it expunged, talk to a skilled criminal defense attorney in Los Angeles. They will evaluate the conviction and determine if you meet the qualifications required. If you do, they will guide you in preparing for the process and the steps to file your petition.
Our expungement lawyer in Los Angeles is experienced and knows how the court process works. We can convince the court why you deserve the expungement and fight to complete the process faster so that you can live your best life. Contact Miranda Rights Law firm at 213-293-1207 today.