Los Angeles Expungement Attorney
Will an Expungement Seal or Destroy My Criminal Record?
In the state of California, an expungement is a legal process by which
a criminal conviction resulting from a guilty plea, "no contest"
plea, or a finding of guilt by a judge or jury is set aside and the case
is dismissed. Although the arrest, prosecution and conviction record still
exists, a notation in the court file, as well as in the California Department
of Justice and FBI files, will reflect the entering of a not guilty plea
and the case dismissal.
An expungement does not seal or destroy your criminal record as is commonly
believed; it simply allows for the dismissal of your conviction. If you
have questions regarding whether your
criminal record can be expunged, please contact a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer
at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners to discuss your eligibility. We
have assisted countless people with their criminal expungement –
now, we are ready to assist you.
Contact Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners to discuss your options with an attorney.
How You Can Benefit from an Expungement
A criminal record can prevent you from getting a good job, obtaining credit,
renting an apartment, voting, obtaining certain licenses (nursing, realtor,
medical, and other professional licenses), running for political office,
and other benefits of society we take for granted. Today more than ever,
employers are doing background checks on current and potential employees.
Thanks to the Internet, information is accessible to anyone interested
in knowing your past. Expunging the criminal record dismisses and sets
aside your conviction from the public record.
Some of the limitations of a criminal record include:
- Getting a good job
- Passing a background check
- Renting or buying a home
- Obtaining credit or bank loans
- Obtaining professional licenses
- Running for political positions
- Becoming a U.S. citizen
Can All Criminal Convictions Be Expunged?
Not all criminal convictions can be expunged. Most
misdemeanors and some
felonies qualify. Under California law, felony convictions can be expunged if you
were not sentenced to state prison and successfully completed probation.
A judge usually has discretion to grant or deny a petition for expungement.
You will have only one opportunity for an expungement, so hire a Los Angeles
criminal attorney to make sure it is done right.
According to the California Expungement Law, Section 1203.4, your criminal
record can be expunged of eligible felony and misdemeanor convictions.
You are eligible for a dismissal of your conviction if:
- You were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony crime and given probation,
a fine, county jail time (or no jail) and/or no sentence to state prison
(not even a "paper commitment" to state prison);
You were not convicted of a serious
sex offense (Sections 286(c), 288, 288a(c), 288.5, 289(j), or 261.5);
- You were not convicted of Vehicle Section 42001(b) which includes sections
2800, 2801 and 2803;
- You successfully completed all the terms (including fines, classes, restitution)
of your probation for the entire time (no violations of probations and
no new arrests during your probationary period;
- You were not given probation and it has been at least one year since the
date of conviction;
- You are not currently charged with, or on probation for, another offense.
Can an Expungement Be Reversed?
An expungement cannot be reversed. You must keep in mind, however, that
if you are arrested and or charged with a new crime, the expunged convictions
can be used against you. In addition, on all government forms, you must
reveal (upon request) your expunged criminal convictions, and you will
still not be able to possess a firearm.
In California, a felony can be expunged as long as you have successfully
complete all terms of your probation and you were not sent to state prison.
Although successful completion of your probation is a requirement for
your expungement, the law provides courts the discretion to expunge your
felony conviction when probation was violated. How serious the violation
is will determine whether or not the conviction is expunged.
If your felony conviction was a wobbler (a charge that can be filed as
either a misdemeanor or a felony), we may be able to reduce it to a misdemeanor
and then proceed to expunge it. An expunged misdemeanor is better than
an expunged felony in that you preserve certain benefits that can be denied
to a convicted felon.
California law allows you to have your misdemeanor conviction expunged
upon successful completion of your probation as long as you are not currently
charged with a new criminal offense. The law also provides the courts
discretion to expunge convictions in cases where probation was violated.
Misdemeanor convictions are not cleared off your criminal record after
a certain period of time. It is your responsibility to petition the court
to have your conviction dismissed. The entire process takes approximately
two to four months to complete.
Expunging Drug Charges
If you were referred to a "Diversion" Program, such as
Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ) or
Proposition 36, and you have successfully completed all the requirements, your record
should already be changed. If, however, you did not complete the requirements
or violated probation, you may have the conviction on your record. If
you were convicted of possession of marijuana for personal use, you are
not required to get an expungement. In California, all possession for
marijuana use convictions are automatically erased from your record after
Contact Our Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys
Your criminal record consists of all of your arrests and convictions, even
if some arrests were dismissed, rejected, never filed or if you were not
convicted. Although expungement applies only to convictions, we can also
help you get your arrests removed, also known as
sealing records, by assisting you with filing a Petition for Factual Innocence. If you
do have convictions, however, the majority are eligible for clearing—with
When you work with Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners, we can help you by:
- Obtaining all relevant court records if necessary
- Preparing all the necessary legal paperwork
- Filing the Petition in the relevant court, and notifying the prosecutor's office
- Attending the hearing regarding your expungement
- Obtaining the expungement order signed by the judge
We are ready to assist you in determining your expungement eligibility
and in filing the Adult Record Clearance Application with the State of
California. We have the knowledge and the legal expertise to work diligently
on your behalf and can draft all the necessary documents, prepare you
for court and represent you before the judge. Rest assured, our law firm
is your best choice to obtain a clear record and a dismissal of your original charge.
For a defense team with a proven record of success,
contact our Los Angeles criminal lawyers.