Los Angeles Expungement Attorney

What is an Expungement in California?

An expungement in California is a legal process by which a criminal conviction, resulting from a guilty or no contest plea or a finding of guilt by a judge or jury, is reopened and substituted with a not guilty plea, then set aside and the case dismissed. Although the arrest, prosecution and conviction record still exists, a notation in the court file, California Department of Justice records, and FBI files should reflect the new not guilty plea and case dismissal. Expungements only apply to state court convictions. If you were convicted of a federal crime, you are not eligible for an expungment.

An expungement does not seal or destroy your criminal record as is commonly believed; it is a retroactive dismissal. If you have questions regarding whether your criminal conviction can be expunged, please contact a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners to discuss your eligibility. We have obtained countless expungements for our clients.

Contact Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners to discuss your eligibility with a knowledgeable and experienced attorney.

How You Can Benefit From An Expungement

In California, some of the limitations of having a criminal record include difficulty obtaining employment; renting an apartment; ineligibility for public funds and student loans; obtaining credit or bank loans; loss of a professional license; even deportation for certain immigrants; and other benefits we take for granted. Employers, landlords, lenders, and business associates run criminal background checks. Today more than ever, thanks to the Internet, information is accessible to anyone interested in knowing your past. Expunging your criminal record can help put your past behind you and allow you to get a fresh start.

Can All Criminal Convictions Be Expunged?

No, 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 California Penal Code 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 and given probation, a fine, county jail time (or no jail) and/or no sentence to state prison;
  • You were not convicted of a serious sex offense (Penal Code sections 286(c), 288, 288a(c), 288.5, 289(j), or 261.5);
  • You were not convicted of California Vehicle Code section 42001(b), or sections 2800, 2801 and 2803;
  • You successfully completed your probation. Successful completion of probation means you completed all the requirements imposed by the court such as community service, community labor, fines, classes, and restitution.
  • You had no major violation of probation and committed no new crimes during your probationary period;
  • You are not currently on probation or charged with another offense.

In the event that you committed a probation violation, it is still possible to get your record expunged. The judge would have discretion in granting or denying the expungement. Some of the factors considered by the judge include the seriousness of the violation, criminal history and the total performance of the defendant while on probation.

Should I Have An Attorney?

You don't need an attorney to help you with your expungement but it is advisable to have an attorney on board. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be more familiar with the court process and personnel, and is more likely to get your expungement completed on a timely basis. In addition, there may be some last minute question about the eligibility of the person applying for the expungement and the attorney can be of tremendous help in persuading the court to grant the expungement.

The attorneys at Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners are very familiar with the Los Angeles county criminal record expungement process. Just one mistake or written error can get your expungement denied. We know the exact process, court forms and procedures for filing a successful expungement in Los Angeles county.

Felony Expungement

In California, a felony can be expunged as long as you have completed all terms of your probation and you did not serve a state prison sentence. Although successful completion of your probation is a requirement for expungement, Judges have discretion to expunge your felony conviction when probation was violated. How serious the probation violation will determine whether or not the felony 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 get it expunged. An expunged misdemeanor is a better result than an expunged felony in that you may preserve certain benefits that can be denied to a convicted felon.

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 cleared. 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.

Our Los Angeles Attorneys Can Help You

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 from your record, also known as sealing of arrest records, by assisting you with filing a Petition for Factual Innocence. If you do have convictions, however, the majority are eligible for Expungements.

When you work with Stephen G. Rodriguez & Partners, we can help you by:

  • Obtaining all relevant court records;
  • Preparing all the necessary legal paperwork;
  • Filing the petition in the relevant court, and serving a copy to the prosecutor's office;
  • Advocating for you at the expungement hearing;
  • Obtaining the expungement order, signed by the judge.

Call and speak to one of our experienced attorneys about having us file your expungement. We are very familiar with the Los Angeles county expungement process and we file expungements in all the courts in Los Angeles county. We have the knowledge and the legal expertise to work diligently on your behalf and draft all the necessary documents, prepare you for court (if necessary) and represent you before the judge. We will put our 75 + years of criminal law experience to work for you.

For a defense team with a proven record of success, contact our office for a no-cost evaluation of your case and learn how we can help you.