Having a criminal record can hold you back in many ways. When seeking employment opportunities, employers may dismiss you after conducting a background check on you despite all the qualifications. Your relationships with your family and friends may also suffer because they don’t want to associate with you.
However, just because you were convicted of wrongdoing doesn’t mean you have to live the rest of your life in bondage. A Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can help you to have the convictions expunged. The outcome would depend on the specific conviction in question, as not all types of charges are eligible for expungement.
Who is Eligible for Expungement In Los Angeles?
Under the California Penal Code 1203.4 PC, you can withdraw a plea of guilty or no contest for your case to be dismissed in an expungement. The law also allows you to reenter a plea of not guilty, and when the court grants it, you can be released from the adverse consequences of a criminal conviction.
A Los Angeles expungement attorney can re-open your past criminal case to facilitate expungement. However, you can only be eligible for an expungement for misdemeanors or felonies under the following conditions:
- You have served the full probation term for the offense and
- You didn’t serve a sentence in state prison for the case. If you did, it was because you committed and were convicted of the crime before “Realignment” under Proposition 47 was implemented.
- You’re not currently facing charges for a criminal offense, aren’t serving a criminal offense sentence, and aren’t on probation for a criminal offense
- You paid all fines, restitution, or reimbursements that make part of your sentence.
Ineligibility for Expungement in California
You’re not eligible for expungement in California if the crimes you were convicted of are any of the following:
- Oral copulation, lewd acts, or sodomy with a minor
- Statutory rape
- Certain Vehicle Code violations
- If you were serving a sentence in state prison, even if the sentence was suspended
What Effect Does Expungement Have in Los Angeles?
It’s crucial to note that the better word for expungement in California is “dismissal.” The term “expungement” can be a bit misleading, given that criminal convictions in California aren’t completely erased from your record. Instead, the court will update your conviction record to show that the guilty plea was withdrawn and replaced with a “not guilty” plea.
It also shows you completed your probation period, or it was terminated, and the case was dismissed. The truth is that someone will still see that a conviction took place when they conduct a background check on you. Nonetheless, they’ll be able to see that it was successfully removed.
When Can I Apply for Expungement?
You can only apply for expungement in California after completing your sentence. Several years must have elapsed since the most current date of your conviction, completion of sentence, or completion of parole or probation.
The period you must wait is as follows:
- A minimum of one year after the date of conviction for offenses that earn you probation.
- 2 years for misdemeanors whose penalties are fines, such as traffic infractions.
- 5 years for a misdemeanor, and you must not have any felony convictions within the period. You can only expunge one DUI conviction every 10 years and one misdemeanor conviction every 15 years.
- 6 years for felonies punishable by imprisonment and hard labor
- 10 years for a felony, and you mustn’t have any pending convictions. You can only have one felony conviction expunged every 15 years.
- You can expunge formally dismissed charges immediately.
Can I Apply for Expungement While Still On Probation?
According to California Penal Code 1203.3, you can file a petition to have your records expunged while you’re still on probation. You should file a motion with the court at any time for the early conclusion of your probation. The officiating judge will evaluate your case and could expunge your underlying conviction and end your probation prematurely.
Both requests can happen at the same time during the hearing. However, you should serve at least half of the probation before applying for expungement or probation termination to enhance your chances of success. It also helps to have a Los Angeles expungement attorney represent you during the hearing.
How Can I Benefit from an Expungement?
Some of the challenges of having a criminal record include the following:
- Difficulty in obtaining credit bank loans
- Ineligibility for student loans and public funds
- Hardships in finding housing
- The risk of being deported for some immigrants
- Inability to hold professional licenses
Since lenders, employers, and business people run background checks, it puts you in a situation that denies you most of the benefits other people without a criminal record enjoy. An expungement helps you put your criminal record behind you so you can start afresh.
Must I Have a Lawyer to Apply for Expungement?
You can apply for expungement by yourself, but working with an expungement lawyer in Los Angeles makes the process easier.
An experienced attorney understands how the court process works and can fight to have the process completed in good time. Besides, the attorney can significantly help convince the court why you deserve the expungement.
Legal Guidance Helping You Pursue a Fresh Start
A misdemeanor or felony conviction is a criminal conviction that can remain in your record forever, affecting your life in many ways. The good news is that you don’t have to let your past mistakes hinder you from living your best life. You can apply to expunge the convictions, but only under specific circumstances.
An expungement attorney in Los Angeles can evaluate your case and advise you accordingly if you meet all the conditions and terms of expungement. Our legal team wants to help you get a fresh start. We are committed to helping our clients through their tough legal cases and can fight for you to see that charge removed. Get a FREE case evaluation with us today.