Let’s face it, once you are convicted of a crime in California, you
are stigmatized. Even if it was a misdemeanor conviction, it can haunt you for
years to come.
A criminal record can make it difficult for someone to rent a house or
an apartment, to obtain worthy employment, to receive a scholarship, and
obtain certain professional licenses. A recent conviction can even affect
family matters, such as child custody.
In light of how a criminal record can bar someone from doing many of the
important things they want to do, people with convictions will often seek an
expungement of their criminal records because they can improve their quality of life.
What is an expungement and does it really erase a person’s criminal
record for good?
What is an expungement or dismissal?
If you’re considering applying for an expungement, the first thing
that we want you to understand is that if your petition is allowed under
Penal Code Sec. 1203.4, it does not mean that your case is going to be
“sealed.” California prosecutors and defense attorneys say
that a more fitting term is a “dismissal.”
If your petition is granted, your criminal record will not be erased. The
conviction will still remain on your record for specific purposes, such
as immigration purposes and sex offender registration.
However, if your record is expunged or dismissed, the statute says that
you would be “released from all penalties and
disabilities resulting from the offense.”
What are the eligibility requirements?
- If you were granted probation, you must have completed all of your terms
of probation and you cannot be on probation any longer,
- You cannot be on probation for another case, and
- You must wait one year after your conviction before you can apply for an
expungement under Penal Code Sec. 1203.4a.
Was your criminal case reduced to an infraction? If your answer is “yes,”
then you meet the eligibility requirements for an expungement under Sec. 1203.4a.
What are the benefits of an expungement?
There are many benefits to an expungement, which is why we encourage defendants
to apply for one as soon as they meet the eligibility requirements.
When you are granted an expungement, it will show on your record as a dismissal
of your case. From that point forward, you can answer most, but not all
job applications, that you have
not been convicted (a huge bonus), and if your conviction was for a felony,
it’s the first step towards a pardon.
If you are applying for a job that involves security clearance, or a government
issued permit, certificate, or license, the conviction will be discovered.
If you apply for such a job, you would simply disclose the conviction
and the fact that it was later expunged.
An expungement will not:
- Remove the conviction from the FBI’s view
- Restore your civil right to possess a firearm
Eliminate the requirement to register as a
- Allow you to withhold the conviction on applications for government-issued licenses
- Remove your case from the public’s close inspection
- Prevent the conviction from counting as a “strike” on your record
If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of an expungement,
we urge you to
contact the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. for a
free consultation with an Orange County criminal lawyer.