iStock_000012195550Large1.jpgA process is in place in California to clear one’s criminal record after successful rehabilitation has taken place. When a court determines someone with a criminal conviction is rehabilitated, then a California Certificate of Rehabilitation is issued. This is a court order that declares an individual’s prior criminal conviction now is part of the past. It can even state that the person now is an honest and upstanding member of society, and he or she should be treated as such when being considered for employment and other opportunities.

Advantages of a Certificate of Rehabilitation

There are numerous benefits to obtaining a California Certificate of Rehabilitation. To start, it prevents state licensing agencies from denying a license application automatically due to a past criminal conviction. Additionally, a it also allows someone with a prior conviction to serve as a witness in court. If a convicted person does not have a Certificate of Rehabilitation, he or she’s credibility would not stand up in a court of law. It also allows specific sex offenders to not have to register as a sex offender.

Qualifying for a Certificate of Rehabilitation

Someone in California is eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation if he or she:

  1. was convicted of a felony and sentenced to California State Prison,
  2. has been released from custody, parole or probation and has remained out of jail,
  3. can present proof that he or she was a California resident for at least five years prior to filing an application for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, and
  4. can present proof of an acceptable rehabilitation period, which typically is about nine years.

Someone also can qualify for a Certificate of Rehabilitation if he or she:

  1. was convicted of a felony for which felony probation or a misdemeanor sex offense listed in California Penal Code 290 and had that conviction expunged,
  2. has been released from custody or probation,
  3. is not on probation for another felony,
  4. can present proof of at least a five year residency in California prior to filing, and
  5. can present proof of a satisfactory period of rehabilitation, which typically is about nine years.

Applying for a Certificate of Rehabilitation

If seeking a Certificate of Rehabilitation, it is best to do so with help from a talented California criminal defense attorney. The defense lawyer will determine if the eligibility has been met. if so, the attorney will file a petition with the California Supreme Court. On behalf of the client, the defense lawyer will include the application forms and letters referencing the former convicted individual’s character, as well as other relevant information. Once the court receives the petition, a hearing date is scheduled. At the hearing, the criminal defense attorney will present strong evidence that his or her client should receive a California Certificate of Rehabilitation. If accepted by the court, it is then forwarded as an application for a Governor’s Pardon.

Get the Certificate of Rehabilitation and Pardon Instruction Packet for San Diego County, click here.

Wondering if you or a loved one could qualify for a California Certificate of Rehabilitation? Contact my office today to start the process to clear your criminal history or the criminal history of a family member or friend.