Expungement is a legal procedure that clears or removes certain convictions from your criminal record. If you’ve been granted an expungement, under most circumstances, it’s as if the conviction never happened. In California, this is known as “cleaning your record.” 

The guilty verdict or guilty plea is changed to not guilty, and the case is then dismissed by a judge. However, it doesn’t erase the fact that you were arrested.

Senate Bill 731 and Expungements in California

California recently passed Senate Bill 731, which is a significant step forward in criminal justice reform. It allows many more people to seal their criminal records than before. Prior to this law, only those with convictions that did not carry a potential jail or prison sentence could request expungement.

But with SB 731 now in effect, over a million Californians are eligible to have their records sealed or expunged. This means that past mistakes can no longer hinder their opportunities for employment, housing, or education. It’s like getting a fresh start.

Under the new SB 731 law, you can seek to have your records expunged if you meet certain conditions. Anyone who served jail or prison time on or after January 1, 2005, can seek expungement. You must have completed both your prison sentence and parole time and must have remained arrest free for four years. For those who did not serve a jail or prison term, records should be sealed automatically. 

However, this new bill has certain exceptions. It will not apply if your crime involved certain sex offenses or if your crimes were against children. 

The Importance of Hiring an Attorney – Even if You’re Eligible For Automatic Expungement 

Even though automatic expungement is a part of the new law for many individuals, the courts are overwhelmed by this big change. This means it might take a while before your records are sealed. And while waiting, your past records may still be affecting your opportunities.

This is why it’s so important to have an attorney. They can help speed up the process significantly of having your misdemeanors and felonies expunged. An attorney can navigate the legal system efficiently as they know whom to talk to and how to file all the paperwork correctly. 

They can also keep a close eye on the progress of your expungement to make sure it’s moving forward as it should. Employing the services of a criminal defense attorney is vital in making sure the new laws benefit you. 

The Benefits of Expungement Cannot Be Overstated 

Expungement offers numerous benefits that can fundamentally improve your quality of life. Here are just a few to consider:

  • Employment Opportunities: Many employers conduct thorough background checks before hiring. A criminal record often influences their decision negatively as it might raise concerns about trustworthiness and reliability (despite certain legal protections for those with prior convictions). With an expunged record, you are more likely to pass these background checks.
  • Housing Options: Being able to provide a stable home for yourself or your family becomes much easier once your records have been expunged. Landlords typically run background checks on potential tenants, and having no visible criminal history could increase the chances of securing rental housing or being approved for a mortgage loan.
  • Professional Licensing: To receive certain professional licenses, a clean record is a necessity. Expungement helps in clearing these essential career roadblocks.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing that your criminal records are sealed from the public provides significant emotional relief. You can confidently move forward without your past holding you back.

Taking advantage of SB 731 and expunging your record can be a complex process; it’s always wise to have a dedicated criminal defense attorney by your side. They can help guide you through the process and ensure you’re making the best decisions for your future. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Contact a San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer at Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers Today For Help

For more information please contact the San Diego criminal defense attorneys at Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers for a free consultation, give us a call at (619) 357-4977 or visit our convenient location:

Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers – San Diego
255 Broadway, Ste 1740. San Diego, CA. 92101