The thought of a criminal conviction on your record can be extremely stressful. Many people believe that once a conviction is on your record, it will follow you forever. However, there are a number of ways to clean your record after you have been convicted of a crime. At the Record Expungement Attorney Law Firm, our mission is you help you put your conviction behind you, and to help you make a fresh start.
In California, a Petition for Dismissal under PC 1203.4, or expungement, is the process that relieves a defendant from the repercussions of having a conviction on their record. An expungement may be available to you whether you were convicted of an infraction, misdemeanor, or felony. In order to be eligible for an expungement, you must meet the following general requirements:
- You must not have been sentenced to, and served, a state prison term as the result of your conviction (limited exceptions apply); and
- You must have successfully completed your period of probation for the underlying conviction.
Expunging your record comes with a number of benefits in California. Currently, California law does not allow for employers to ask about or consider, your criminal record prior to extending you a conditional job offer. After the offer has been extended, however, the employer may then take your criminal record into account before hiring you. However, if your record has been expunged, the employer cannot consider the conviction at any point throughout the process. As you can see, this means an expungement can often be the difference in getting hired, versus missing out on a job.
HOW TO DETERMINE EXPUNGEMENT ELIGIBILITY
Before your attorney can begin working on your case, they must first evaluate whether you are even eligible for expungement. In addition to the requirements discussed above, there are other circumstances that could cause you to be ineligible for expungement. If you fall into any of the following categories, it is important to discuss your case with one of our attorneys to help determine if you are eligible:
- If you have any open criminal cases;
- If you are currently on probation for any offense (does not have to be the offense you are looking to expunge);
- If you are serving a sentence for any criminal offense (does not have to be the offense you are looking to expunge); or
- If you were convicted of a sex crime (some specified sex crimes cannot be expunged).
EXPUNGEMENT LAW – CALIFORNIA PENAL CODE 1203.4
Under PC 1203.4, once your expungement has been granted, you will be released from “all penalties and disabilities arising out of the conviction”.
ELIGIBILITY UNDER 1203.4
Every case is different, but generally, you will be eligible for expungement under PC 1203.4 if:
- You have successfully completed your period of formal or informal probation (you may be eligible for an early termination of probation);
- You are not currently serving a sentence for a criminal offense;
- You do not have a pending criminal case; and
- You did not serve time in state prison for your offense.
EXPUNGEMENT AND VIOLATIONS OF PROBATION
Under PC 1203.4, you must have successfully completed your probation, before the court will grant your expungement. So what exactly is successfully completing your probation? We have a number of clients who are now completed with a probationary period, but who may have committed minor violations while they were on probation. For these cases, the court will hold a hearing, and rule on whether or not you are still considered a good candidate for expungement. Courts will generally consider:
- Your criminal history;
- The severity of the underlying offense;
- How you performed on your probationary period as a whole; and
- Any other circumstances that may be relevant to your specific case.
PROP 47 REALIGNMENT – COUNTY JAIL VS. STATE PRISON
Prop 47, which California passed in 2011, has had a major impact on expungement eligibility. Basically, Prop 47 allowed for many convictions that would have led to time in state prison, to be served in county jail instead. Because a state prison sentence will usually prevent you from being eligible for expungement, Prop 47 led to many questions with regard to expungement eligibility. If you served state prison time prior to Prop 47, but your offense would have been eligible for realignment after Prop 47 passed, you may still be eligible for a PC 1203.4 expungement. Note, however, that two (2) years must have passed since your sentence was completed, and you cannot still be on probation or post-release supervision.
THE EXPUNGEMENT PROCESS
As noted above, the process always begins with an evaluation to determine if you are eligible to file for an expungement. At the San Diego Record Expungement Attorney Law Firm, we offer a free consultation so that one of our experienced attorneys can determine your expungement eligibility. Even if you are not eligible, there may be other ways that we can help you clear your record.
If you are eligible for expungement, we will conduct the necessary research, and obtain any relevant documents from the court that heard your case.
We will then draft, file with the court, and then serve all of the necessary paperwork on the prosecuting agency. Your expungement must be filed in the same court that heard the underlying case. There are timelines that must be met with regard to serving the prosecuting agency, as they will have the right to object to your expungement.
Finally, we will appear at the Hearing, on your behalf, to present oral argument to supplement the motions we have filed with the court. Once the Hearing is concluded, the Judge will rule as to whether or not your expungement is granted.
In total, the process takes about 6 to 8 weeks. Most of this time is simply due to the lack of availability at the court. Our team can get your petition filed with the court within a matter of days (in some cases, even same day). However, due to the court’s calendar, there is commonly about a six week waiting period from when the petition is filed, to when the case is actually heard in court. For this reason, it is important that your attorney is aware of your specific needs and timelines. Many people begin the expungement process because of an upcoming background check or job interview. Rather than waiting until you need an expungement, it is highly recommended that you expunge your conviction as soon as your probationary period is completed.
UNDERSTANDING WHAT A RECORD EXPUNGEMENT WILL NOT DO
Our firm will be completely honest with you in regard to what expungement will not do for you. A petition for dismissal is not always the best way to achieve your record clearing goal. By understanding the limitations of an expungement, we can guide you to the proper record clearing method. Some expungement limitations include:
- An expungement does not erase your case. Rather, it replaces your conviction or guilty plea with a dismissal.
- Even after your case is expunged, some licensing boards will still require that you disclose your conviction.
- In some cases, your expunged conviction can still be used against you in court. For example, an expunged DUI will still count as a prior offense if you receive a subsequent DUI.
- An expunged conviction will not automatically end a firearm restriction.
- An expunged conviction will not terminate a sex offender registration requirement.
Although an expungement may not accomplish the result you are looking for, it is still important to discuss your case with one of our attorneys. Often times your desired result may be accomplished through other avenues.
THE RIGHT TIME TO FILE YOUR EXPUNGEMENT
Assuming you are eligible for an expungement, you can file once you have successfully completed the terms of your probation. However, many of our clients are still on probation when they come to us for an expungement. If you are, we may be able to terminate your probation early in order to expunge your record.
If you served time in prison and are filing under PC 123.42, you must wait at least two (2) years from the time you completed your sentence before filing.
SAN DIEGO DUI EXPUNGEMENT
DUI is one of the most commonly committed offenses in San Diego County. More often than not, DUIs are charged as misdemeanors, but they can be charged as felonies in some cases. Whether charged as a misdemeanor or a felony, having a DUI on your record can impact your life even long after your case is concluded.
However, assuming you have successfully completed the terms of your probation, a DUI can usually be expunged from your record.
THE DUI EXPUNGEMENT PROCESS IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY
In most cases, once you have completed your probationary period, you will be eligible to file a PC 1203.4 expungement. Even if you are still on probation, you may be able to have it terminated early pursuant to PC 1203.3.
The DUI expungement process begins with filing your petition with the court. The petition must be filed at the court in which the underlying case was heard. The petition will be reviewed directly by the Judge, so it is important to have an experienced attorney draft and file the petition for you. If the Judge grants your petition, your plea of guilty will be replaced with a plea of “not guilty”, and the case will be dismissed. If your case proceeded to a trial, and you were found guilty, then the guilty verdict will be set aside.
DUI EXPUNGEMENT AND YOUR JOB APPLICATION
One of the biggest benefits of expunging your DUI conviction is that it will drastically increase your chances of finding a job, and clearing a background check. Once your conviction is expunged, it cannot be used against during the interview, or hiring process. Even if the job application asks if you have any prior convictions, you will not have to disclose the expunged conviction.
DUI EXPUNGEMENT AND YOUR DRIVER’S LICENSE
Many of our clients ask if expunging their record will allow them to reinstate their driving privileges. The short answer is that it will not. At the San Diego Record Expungement Attorney Law Firm, we take pride in our commitment to be upfront and honest with our clients. We will ensure that you understand what an expungement will, and will not, do.
As noted above, it is important to understand what an expungement will not do for you. Even if you get your DUI expunged, it can still be used against you if you are charged with another DUI. Expunging your DUI does not prevent it from being considered a “priorable” offense, and a subsequent DUI within 10 years will be considered a second-offense DUI.
DUI EXPUNGEMENT AND EARLY TERMINATION OF PROBATION
As discussed above, you must successfully complete your term of probation prior to being granted an expungement. In San Diego County, you will typically receive five (5) years of informal probation for a DUI. Even so, it is not uncommon for our attorneys to file a Motion for Early Termination of Probation once you have served about three (3) years of your probationary period. Assuming you have paid all fines and completed all other court-ordered requirements, your probation can be terminated early.
IF YOUR CRIMINAL RECORD IS CAUSING YOU SETBACKS, DO NOT WAIT UNTIL IT’S TOO LATE. CONTACT OUR OFFICE TODAY TO ARRANGE YOUR FREE EXPUNGEMENT CONSULTATION. THE SAN DIEGO RECORD EXPUNGEMENT ATTORNEY LAW FIRM WILL HELP CLEAR YOUR RECORD. CALL US TODAY AT 619-577-4081.
At the Record Expungement Attorney Law Firm, we understand that your conviction record does not define who you are. Our motto is that everyone deserves a second chance and a fresh start. Whether you have a felony, misdemeanor, or infraction on your record, our firm is equipped to clear your record. Don't let your past unnecessarily limit your opportunities in the future. Call us today at 619-577-4081.