What is Expungement?
Expungement is the dismissal or setting aside of your criminal conviction or erasure of your criminal record from public view or access. Not all criminal records or convictions are subject to this form of post-conviction relief, however, which largely depends on whether your underlying offense involved sexual conduct with a minor, murder or if you served time in state prison.
Anyone convicted of a crime that was placed on probation should inquire whether their conviction is eligible for expungement. Because it can be extremely difficult for anyone with a criminal record to fully reintegrate into society, to find decent employment, rent, or to obtain a professional license, an expungement is a vital tool for restoring your civil rights and opening up opportunities that have been otherwise denied you.
Is My Conviction Eligible for an Expungement?
As stated above, not all convictions can be expunged, though there are other types of post-conviction relief that we can discuss with you at the Expungement Attorney Group. We will determine if your conviction qualifies and the steps that need to be taken to achieve relief for you. Some of the convictions that are eligible for expungement include both misdemeanor and felony offenses such as:
Under California law, you must also have completed all terms and conditions of probation, attended all of your court appearances or had your attorney appear for you, and have not committed any subsequent offenses. If you did violate your probation, however, you may still be eligible if it did not involve the commission of another crime and the court determines you are of sound character and are a viable candidate for expungement.
The Expungement Process
The process of expunging your conviction begins with filing a petition in the county and court where you were convicted and served on the district attorney and probation department. The district attorney may or may respond to the petition. The court will either schedule a hearing or merely have a judge rule on it depending on if it is challenged and on the nature of the offense.
How an Expungement Affects You
If you currently have a criminal conviction, then you may have experienced the pitfalls associated with this stigma. Criminal background checks are routine and many employers require them as a condition of applying since they face civil liability if an employee harms a third person while under their employment. Landlords do not want tenants who are potential troublemakers and schools will often conduct record searches that they can use to deny you enrollment. Once your expungement order is signed, criminal databases are directed to remove your record from public access and you can lawfully state under oath that you have never been convicted of a criminal offense.
Public and government agencies, however, are entitled to know if your record is expunged. This includes law enforcement, the military, teaching in a public school and applying for a professional or vocational license such as for law or real estate. Running for public office also requires that you disclose your conviction and expungement.
To see if your conviction can be expunged or is eligible for any other form of post-conviction relief that can give you hope for a better future, contact an experienced expungement lawyer today from the Expungement Attorney Group.