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.

Felony Expungement

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.

Misdemeanor Expungement

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 two years.

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 few exceptions.

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.