There are many benefits to clearing your criminal record through expungement. Basically, when the court grants an expungement, they change your plea from guilty to not guilty and dismiss the case. The case will show up on your criminal background, but instead of a conviction, it will show as a case dismissed. This will help with some of the consequences of a conviction.
Why Clear Your Criminal Record with an Expungement?
There are a number of potential issues that a conviction may cause. For example, it may limit your ability to travel internationally, affect your employment or professional licensing. An expungement can help with these issues.
For example, if you are trying to find a new job, having an expungement may help you. Under AB1008, potential employers cannot ask you about your criminal record before offering you a position. However, they can ask you about your criminal record after giving you a conditional offer. After the court expunges your case, you do not have to disclose the conviction. In general, potential employers cannot consider expunged case, with some exceptions.
Who is Eligible to have their Criminal Record Cleared with an Expungement?
Many factors affect your eligibility for an expungement. For example, your specific conviction (what crime were you found guilty of) and the sentence you received will be crucial in determining whether you qualify for an expungement.
Expungement for Felony or Misdemeanor with Probation Granted (Penal Code 1203.4)
If your conviction is a felony or misdemeanor and probation granted, you may be eligible under Penal Code 1203.4. Penal Code 1203.4(a)(1) explains you may be eligible if:
On the other hand, certain convictions are not eligible for expungement under 1203.4. The following convictions are not eligible for expungement under this section:
Expungements for Misdemeanors without Probation or Infractions (Penal Code 1203.4a)
Under Penal Code 1203.4a you may be eligible for an expungement if the court did not grant probation on a misdemeanor conviction, or if your conviction is an infraction. To be eligible under this code section the following conditions must be met:
If you have not satisfied all the conditions listed above a court may, in its discretion and in the interest of justice, still grant relief under Penal Code1203.4a(a), if you successfully completed the terms of your sentence, and you are not currently serving a sentence for any offense, and are not facing any criminal charges.
However, it is important to note that you are not eligible for expungement under this section if you the court convicted you of:
Expungement for Felony County Jail Sentence under Penal Code 1170(h)(5). (Penal Code 1203.41)
Penal Code Section 1170(h)(5) determines sentencing for certain felony offenses. You serve time for these offenses in county jail, instead of prison. If the court sentenced you under Penal Code 1170(h) you may be eligible for an expungement under Penal Code 1203.41.
The court may order the expungement if:
You also may be eligible for an expungement if your felony prison sentence would have been eligible for a county jail sentence under Penal Code 1170(h)(5) after 2011.
Depending on your specific goals when clearing your record, there may be better options than expungement. Thus, if you are interested in clearing your criminal record through expungement, you should speak to an experienced criminal attorney about your options. While an expungement is a great tool, it may not be the right one for your particular goals. We can help you determine what the right tool is for you and assist you with the process of clearing your criminal record.