Clean Up Your Criminal Record: The Process of Expungement in California

Past convictions can be expunged to help you better your future. Often, a criminal record can be a barrier to certain schooling, obtaining licenses, and certain employment. Sean F. Leslie, Attorney at Law can help expunge your criminal convictions and clear your record. If you have been convicted of a felony, then we will first work to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor prior to obtaining an expungement. In many cases, this is an easy process, and all you will need to do is provide your name, date of birth, and the court in which you were convicted. And you may never have to go to court to clear your record. We have handled hundreds of criminal record expungements for clients in and out of San Diego.

Expungement: What You Should Understand

In California, criminal record expungement is governed by Penal Code 1203.4. One of the most important things to understand about expungement is that once it is granted, your case is not sealed. Expungement doesn’t actually mean erasure, as if the crime had never been committed. It is more equivalent to dismissal; your conviction will stay on your record for certain purposes, including sex offender registration and immigration. Penal Code 1203.4 states that the defendant is “released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense.” This statement, however, has limitations.

  • If you were granted and subsequently completed a probation term, you would be eligible for expungement. However, you must not be on probation for any other offense anywhere. (Penal Code 1203.4)
  • If you were denied probation, it is still possible to obtain an expungement after waiting one year after your conviction to apply. You cannot be on probation or serving a sentence for any other offense. (Penal Code 1203.4a)
  • If your offense was reduced to an infraction, you are eligible to apply for expungement.

An Expungement Will…

  • Enter a dismissal of your case into the court’s records;
  • Allow you to answer on most job applications that you have not been convicted of a crime, although exceptions apply;
  • Bar the use of your criminal conviction for impeachment you if you testify as a witness (unless you are on trial for another offense);
  • Be the first step to obtaining a pardon if your conviction was a felony.

An Expungement Will Not…

  • Remove the conviction from criminal history records;
  • Reinstate right to possess firearms if the court took this right away;
  • Remove requirement to register as a sex offender if necessary;
  • Prevent you from disclosing the conviction from government licensing applications;
  • Seal your record or court case from public inspection;
  • Prevent your conviction from being counted as a prior strike;
  • Preclude the conviction from consideration and being used to revoke or reject application for government licenses/permits (i.e., teaching credentials, bus drivers’ licenses, real estate licenses, etc.).
  • Stop INS from using the conviction for removal or exclusion purposes.

Contact Sean F. Leslie, Attorney At Law

Are you seeking an expungement of a conviction? Please contact our law firm to speak with an experienced attorney. The law firm of Sean F. Leslie, Attorney At Law is committed to helping you clear your criminal record. Contact us for a free consultation today.