Clean Your Criminal Record
The law allows for relief to clean your criminal record so that your future doesn’t have to be ruined because of a mistake you may have made in the past. For this reason, it is important to not give up and know that there are ways to help you overcome your past.
What is an expungement? An expungement is the process of having convictions or arrests removed from public records. Essentially, if you have completed your probationary period without any violations, you can seek relief from the court to expunge your criminal record. This is codified in Penal Code section 1203.4(a)(1) and states as follows:
“In any case in which a defendant has fulfilled the conditions of probation for the entire period of probation, or has been discharged prior to the termination of the period of probation, or in any other case in which a court, in its discretion and the interests of justice, determines that a defendant should be granted the relief available under this section, the defendant shall, at any time after the termination of the period of probation, if he or she is not then serving a sentence for any offense, on probation for any offense, or charged with the commission of any offense, be permitted by the court to withdraw his or her plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere and enter a plea of not guilty; or, if he or she has been convicted after a plea of not guilty, the court shall set aside the verdict of guilty; and, in either case, the court shall thereupon dismiss the accusations or information against the defendant and except as noted below, he or she shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she has been convicted…”
However, this does not mean that your record will be wiped out, and you no longer have to disclose your record. First, law enforcement agencies or any State or Federal authorities will always have access to your criminal history regardless if an expungement was granted by the Court. Second, if you are applying for any type of employment that requires a license in the State of California, you MUST disclose your arrest. Failure to do so will likely result in your license application being denied. Finally, if you are filling out an application for employment with a private company that asks if you have ever been convicted of a crime, you can truthfully answer “no.” You have to read the questions in employment applications carefully so that you can provide the appropriate answer.
California law allows you to apply to have your arrest or conviction expunged if you meet certain requirements. Those requirements include that you must have completed your probationary term, obeyed all court orders, and must not have any subsequent criminal offenses. If all of these requirements are met, then I will help you file a petition for expungement. A petition to seal records is a procedure wherein your arrests and convictions are removed you’re your criminal record. You may have your arrest or conviction sealed if you meet certain requirements. Those requirements include that you must be 18 years of age, and your case was rejected, dismissed, or charges were never filed.
Petition to Seal Arrest Record/Petition for Factual Innocense
If you were arrested, but no charges were ever filed, then you may be eligible to have your arrest record destroyed and sealed. Penal Code section 851.8 states as follows:
“In any case where a person has been arrested and no accusatory pleading has been filed, the person arrested may petition the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the offense to destroy its records of the arrest. A copy of the petition shall be served upon the prosecuting attorney of the county or city having jurisdiction over the offense. The law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the offense, upon a determination that the person arrested is factually innocent, shall, with the concurrence of the prosecuting attorney, seal its arrest records, and the petition for relief under this section for three years from the date of the arrest and thereafter destroy its arrest records and the petition.”
Time is of the essence, so it is important that you contact me as soon as possible to discuss whether you can be afforded relief to clean your criminal record. Do not despair, there is help for you.