People are often convicted for mistakes that they made when they were young or not fully aware of the consequences of their actions. But if you have paid your dues to society, those mistakes shouldn’t necessarily have to follow you for the rest of your life.
Under Penal Code Section 1203.4, California allows those who qualify to withdraw a conviction, enter a plea of not guilty, and have the charges against them completely dismissed.
This can be a huge benefit to your life in the following ways:
- It allows you to leave your past mistakes behind and focus on your future. You will no longer be bogged down with the limitations placed on you by your past actions. This by far is the biggest benefit of expunging your record.
- Often, when you are applying for a job you will be asked, “have you ever been convicted of a crime”. If so, you have a legal obligation to answer “yes”. But if you have had your conviction expunged, you can legally say “no” and stand a better chance of getting the job. You cannot be denied employment on the basis of a dismissed conviction.
- If you have been denied federal student aid because you have a drug conviction on your record, you will have your eligibility restored.
- If you are called to testify in court, you can longer be impeached because of a prior conviction.
What is an Expungement?
Expungement is a legal process whereby a petition is prepared to withdraw a guilty plea you have entered in the past and enter a new plea of not guilty. The court is then asked to dismiss your case under California Penal Code Section 1203.4. If the judge accepts your petition, the case will be dismissed and your criminal record will be amended to show a dismissal rather a conviction.
Who Qualifies for Expungement?
To be eligible for an expungement you must meet the following 4 criteria:
- You were given probation
- You successfully completed probation, meaning that:
- You completed all community service and classes or programs you were ordered to complete
- Paid all of the fines, fees and restitution you were ordered to pay.
- You were not arrested or convicted of any other offense while on probation
- You have no new charges pending
- You are not on probation for a new case.
If you meet all four of these criteria, you will be eligible and will have a very good chance of being granted your expungement. The judge, however, will make the final decision.
What Are the Limitations of an Expungement?
The expungement process is arguably one of the most valuable options open to you under California law. It gives those who qualify a second chance and allows you to move on with your life.
That being said, there are few things that expungement will not do for you, even if you qualify:
- Expungement will not erase your criminal record. It updates your conviction to reflect the fact that a guilty plea was withdrawn and the case was later dismissed.
- It will not restore gun rights. Felony convictions and certain misdemeanor convictions make it illegal for you to own or possess a firearm.
- It will not change the number of strikes or prior convictions counted against you and will not prevent that charge from being used against you in court if you pick up additional charges in the future.
- It will not improve your driving record. Your record with the DMV and your criminal record are administered separately.
Furthermore, not all crimes are eligible for expungement, in particular, the following categories of offenses may not be expunged:
- Violent felonies
- Sex offenses that require you to register as a sex offender under California Penal Code 290
How to Expunge Your Record
First of all, you can do it yourself without a lawyer. This will mean that you will serve as your own attorney and prepare your own petition and other court documents. It will also mean you will have to attend the hearing and respond to any objections that the district attorney may have or any questions the judge may ask. When the hearing is over, you will hopefully walk out with an order expunging your conviction.
Your other option is to retain an attorney to handle your expungement. The main benefit of hiring an attorney to assist you in expunging your case is that your expungement attorney will do all the work for you. Typically, you will only need to provide your attorney with information regarding your life since the offense. Your attorney will then do the rest.
Therefore, by hiring an attorney to handle the expungement, you avoid the stress and worry associated with the preparation and pursuit an expungement and in most cases you will not be required to attend court at all.
Criminal record checks are used by many different government and social entities, and are a useful way to ensure safety and stability for everyone. While they seem pretty self-explanatory, there are some key aspects of a criminal background check that should be reviewed. Read on for some pertinent information regarding how to apply for a criminal record check and fulfill all of the requirements that are involved. These informative guidelines are meant to help you determine how you should apply for a record check and what to do if it comes back negative.
What are Criminal Record Checks?
Criminal record checks enable employers to screen potential employees before hiring them in their company. A criminal record check is extremely useful because it helps hiring managers provide a safe and reliable workplace and ensure that their workforce does not pose a danger to the company nor the clients. Of course, these types of background checks are not only used for employment managers, but they are also useful for adoption agencies, volunteer organizations, educational facilities, and even for international travel.
Obtaining Criminal Record Checks
In order to apply for criminal record checks, individuals are required to undergo a series of steps in order to fulfill the background screening. The first course of action is to have your fingerprints taken by the local police department. Next is completing the application form and submitting it to your local police or to a related organization. The organization or business should be able to keep you updated on the status of your application and submission. Finally, all of your submitted materials will be reviewed, evaluated, and shared with the individual or entity that requested them.
Effects of Criminal Record Checks
In most cases, individuals are in the clear and no records of criminal cases or activities can be found. In the case that you are revealed to have some kind of criminal record, it may very well be in your best interest to hire an attorney to have any marks on your record removed. Of course, an employer, educational institution, or other agency has the right to deny services to you on the basis of a negative criminal record check.
Have you or someone you know been arrested or convicted? In most cases, when someone finds out that you’ve been arrested or convicted of a criminal offense, they are no longer going to view you the same way. For many, their criminal record is more of an misunderstanding, rather than a way to determine what kind of person they are. Regardless, they will constantly be judged by family, friends, and employers who take the time to find out if they have a record. In some cases, criminal records can be expunged. Those interested in obtaining an expungement can call our law firm at (888) 250-2865 to obtain a free case evaluation.
A mistake in judgment that you made years ago can have far-reaching effects, including your ability to get the job that you want, obtain some professional licenses, or rent a home. Even though California criminal records are a matter of public record, an individual would need to know where to look for these files and take the time to look through thousands of court records in each county to find your records.
However, electronic indexing has made it much easier for individuals and companies to obtain copies of your records. Companies index court records into large databases that are easy to search by name, address, date of birth or any other relevant information that can be found in a court record. Potential employers and landlords then pay these research companies for a background report to determine if you have any outstanding warrants or past felonies or misdemeanors.
Fortunately, having your record expunged is often possible. An expungement allows an individual or their attorney to petition the court to reopen his or her case so that they may enter a plea of “not guilty” and have the case dismissed. A MacGregor & Collins, LLP expungement attorney will make the process easier because they are familiar with the process and know exactly what information and forms will be required to expunge your record in California.
The benefits of obtaining an expungement include preventing potential employers from discriminating against you for a job and allowing you to apply for professional licenses or rental agreements without the fear of your past mistakes coming back to haunt you. (more…)
As the health insurance exchanged deadline approaches, a number of groups have begun to come forward in opposition to two state Legislature bills explaining the details of the 20,000 health reform workers that will be hired. If passed, assembly bill 1428 would disqualify applicants who have had previous felony convictions.
The bill would require all contractors, vendors, and employees who are involved in the enrollment in the health insurance exchange who have access to medical or financial information of those enrolled to be fingerprinted to determine whether or not the applicant has a criminal history. Anyone who is found to have been convicted of felony crimes pertaining to breach of trust or dishonesty would not be qualified for hire. (more…)
- You’ve fulfilled all the terms of your probation.
- You’ve reformed your track record and committed no other crime.
- You’ve repaid all damages to victims, if applicable.
- You haven’t violated any orders by the county court.
California Penal Code Section 1203.4 allows eligible parties to expunge their record.
It’s possible to turn over a brand new leaf through California Penal Code Section 1203.4.
Who Isn’t Eligible?
- Someone who was convicted in the California State Prison, in a misdemeanor or felony offense
- A sex offender
The judge will examine the applicant’s history, conduct, the crime committed prior to the application, and other factors – to determine approval.
How Can Expungement of Criminal Records Help?
If you’re applying for a job or apartment for rent as examples, your past criminal record will not appear, if a search is done, and the record was expunged.
How to Hire a California Law Firm for California Expungement
If you’re interested in starting anew, without a bad criminal record weighing you down, call MacGregor and Collins criminal defense lawyers at 949-250-6097 today.
Are you new to the State of California and need to learn more about criminal offenses and their penalties? We have built a convenient resource center at the California Section Penal Codes Library.