What is an Expungement?
An expungement is available under California Penal Code 1203.4 states that once an individual’s criminal record has been expunged, that person is released from all of the “penalties and disabilities” that came out of the conviction. Having your record expunged can help with getting professional licenses and in acquiring new jobs. Nothing is worse than paying for a criminal conviction for the rest of your life, even after you have learned your lesson and changed your ways. An expungement essentially means that you’re asking the court to reopen your criminal case, withdraw your guilty plea, dismiss the charges and close the case again, this time without a conviction. A criminal lawyer can assist you in getting an expungement.
Who can get an expungement?
Expungements are limited to cases where the defendant was convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony that could have been charged as a misdemeanor. They must have been sentenced to county jail time, probation, a fine, or any combination of the above. If you have successfully completed probation and are not currently charged with a criminal offense, are not on probation for a criminal offense, and are not serving a sentence for a criminal offense then you may be eligible for an expungement. In order to have successfully completed your probation you must have completed all of the terms of the probation, attended all of the required court appearances, and you must not have committed any new crimes while on probation. The only exception to having completed your probation is to have gotten an early termination of probation.You cannot get a conviction expungement if you were sent to state prison, for serious vehicle code violations, or for sexual offenses against children.
How does an expungement work?
Before you can be granted an expungement, there are several steps that must be completed. Your case must be analyzed in order to determine whether you are, in fact, eligible. The relevant and current laws and legal cases must be researched in order to find the ones that pertain to the case at hand. Once these things have been completed, you then have to file all of the appropriate paperwork and attend the expungement hearing in court. If you complete all of these steps and the court grants your expungement, there are still limitations on what an expungement can do for you in the long run.
What an expungement can do?
In the state of California, an expungement can help you get a job because an employer cannot discriminate against you for being arrested without a conviction, they cannot ask you about the fact that you got arrested without a conviction or discriminate against you for having an expungement. An expungement can also help you get professional licenses and, in certain cases, an expungement may be able to help you avoid being deported or other immigration issues.
What an expungement cannot do?
An expungement cannot overturn a suspended or revoked drivers license, it cannot restore your gun rights in California, additionally, it cannot make it so that you do not need to register as a sex offender in California. Even expunged convictions can sometimes be used as prior convictions in order to enhance sentencing and as strikes under California’s three-strikes law.
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If you or a loved one is facing an arson charge, you need a successful criminal defense lawyer on your side. With offices in Costa Mesa and San Diego, we serve people throughout Southern California. Call (855) 505-5588 or contact us online for a free initial consultation.