San Diego Expungement Attorney
What Is An Expungement?
An expungement is the legal process through which a criminal conviction resulting from a guilty plea, no contest plea, or finding of guilt by a judge or jury is set aside, and the case is dismissed. Though the record of arrest, prosecution, and conviction still exists, a notation in records of the court, the California Department of Justice, and the FBI reflects the entering of a plea of not guilty and the case dismissal. Expungement does not seal nor destroy your criminal record.
California’s expungement law allows someone convicted of a crime to file a Petition for Dismissal with the court to reopen the case, set aside the plea, and dismiss the case. To qualify for expungement, the petitioner must complete probation, pay all fines and restitution, and currently not be charged with a crime. Cases that ended in parole aren’t eligible for expungement. If the eligibility requirements are met, a court may grant the petition if it determines that it would be in the interest of justice to do so. The petitioner can then honestly and legally state that they have never been convicted of the crime.
The Importance Of Expungements
A criminal record can prevent you from enjoying many of the benefits of society that we take for granted. Thanks to the Internet, information is accessible to anyone interested in your past. Having a criminal record makes it difficult to find jobs, since few employers are going to accept candidates with a criminal history. Expunged criminal records also help in obtaining loans and college grants. To apply for certain licenses, you will need to expunge your criminal records, and an applicant with an expunged record will be viewed more favorably for receiving state licenses. Landlords also frequently conduct criminal record searches when renting property.
Limitations On Expungement
Not all criminal convictions are eligible for expungement. In California, felony convictions can be expunged in cases where the defendant was not sentenced to state prison, and successfully completed probation. A judge generally has the discretion to grant or deny a petition for expungement. If the expungement is granted, the judge will sign a court order that changes your plea to not guilty, and dismisses your case. You will receive a copy of this order for your records, and the court will instruct other government agencies to update their records.
Your criminal record includes all of your arrests and convictions, even if some arrests were dismissed, rejected, never filed, or didn’t result in a conviction. Expungement applies solely to convictions, but we can also help with arrest removal – also known as sealing records. To do so, we will assist you with the filing of a Petition for Factual Innocence. Eligibility for expungement is based upon compliance with all court orders, lack of subsequent offenses, and a current honest and upright lifestyle.
While an expunged criminal record cannot be reversed, if you are arrested and charged with a new crime, the expunged convictions can be used against you. You will be required to reveal your expunged criminal convictions when government forms request that information, and you will still be prohibited from possessing a firearm. You need an attorney to ensure that the expungement process is completed properly.
We’re ready to assist you in determining your eligibility for expungement, and in filing the Adult Record Clearance Application with the State of California. We have the knowledge and expertise to draft all the necessary documents, prepare you for court, and represent you before a judge.
We have assisted countless people with their criminal expungement, and can help you clean your record. For a criminal defense team with a proven record of success, contact a San Diego criminal defense lawyer at the Law Office of Gregory Garrison to discuss your expungement eligibility today.