Advances in technology have made it easier than ever for potential employers and other agencies to get their hands on someone’s criminal record, including his or her court records.

Recently, information companies have used court records to create databases so companies, organizations and agencies can easily obtain information on a person’s criminal background.

This information may make an individual with a criminal background uneasy, as he or she most likely desires a clean slate and the ability to obtain permanent employment. The good news, however, is an expungement of your criminal record is possible in California, with the right defense attorney on your side. To expunge your criminal record in California basically means to have it erased from view.

Once expungement is achieved, a future employer may not factor in a person’s criminal past when deciding whether or not to hire him or her for a position. Expungement is possible through California Penal Code 1203, which provides a new beginning for individuals once convicted of a crime or crimes.

Do you qualify for expungement?

Various, existing California codes halt the possibility of expungement if a convicted individual was sentenced to time in a California prison for his or her crime or crimes. In addition, the law states several other offenses cannot be expunged, primarily if a sex offense was committed against a child or children or if the charge or charges stemmed from serious vehicle code violations .

However, if a person was convicted of a felony offense or misdemeanor and completed *probation or served out a sentence for a criminal offense and is no longer being charged or on probation then an expungement is possible. Probation is determined to have been completed, under California Penal Code 1203, if all the terms of the probation have been met; all court appearances took place; and no additional crimes were committed during the probation period.

Applying for expungement:

If an individual is found to be eligible for expungement, he or she should petition a California court to have his or her criminal record expunged, or cleaned up, as soon as possible.

The process to achieve expungement in California often is shortened when working with a criminal defense attorney. If a person has not yet completed probation, an attorney can even convince the court to allow for an early termination for good behavior, which, in turn, can lead to expungement. The process for an expungement of a criminal record involves first asking the court to reopen your criminal case, then ultimately having the charges dismissed and the case reclosed without showing a conviction.

The case record then will show it was dismissed in the “Interests of Justice.” When seeking an expungement, working with a skilled defense attorney will ensure the correct paperwork is filed. He or she also will take time to help the person petitioning for an expungement prepare for a scheduled court hearing. The attorney will help prepare evidence showing why his or her client deserves to have an expungement of his or her criminal record, as well. The decision ultimately is up to a judge.

The defense attorney will have his client dressed appropriately to appear in court and prepared to address the judge. When considering an expungement of a criminal record in California,, a judge will want to know if the individual has been charged or arrested for any additional crimes. The judge also will consider the person’s behavior since the offense, which may include displaying employment and credit records; and if the government has any interest in keeping the criminal record in place.

The laws used for expungement:

  1. Penal Code 1203.4 is used to expunge cases in which probation was part of the sentence.
  2. Penal Code 1203.4a is used to expunge cases in which there was no probation.
  3. Penal Code 1203.41 is used to expunge cases in which a person was sentenced for a felony,but only served time in a county jail, and not in a state prison.
  4. Penal Code 17  is used to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor conviction, which then could be dismissed.

Getting help for the expungement of a criminal record in California:

It is important to realize you may not need to have a criminal record still haunting you for years to come. My office can provide options to those in California looking to clean up a criminal record and get relief from being prejudged by potential employers or lenders, for example. If you are ready to move on from your past, call today to learn if you are eligibility for an expungement of your criminal record under California law.

  1. California Penal Code 1203.4 PC — California expungement law
  2. California Penal Code 1203.4 PC — California expungement law