What is a California Expungement? What Should I Know?

Whether you have a felony, misdemeanor, or infraction conviction, you can petition the court to expunge your criminal record. However, it is a common misunderstanding in California that getting a California Expungement means you get your criminal record completely destroyed or tossed in the trash. That is far from the truth.

California Expungements pursuant to California Penal Code 1203.4 allow those convicted of a crime to re-open their old conviction and change their guilty plea to a not guilty one. The court then dismisses the case so you can truthfully and legally say you were never convicted of the crime that was charged.

What Should I Know When Applying for a California Expungement?

The following is a list of important facts relevant to obtaining a California Expungement:

  • You must be off probation. If you are currently on probation, a skilled and experienced attorney can petition the court for an Early Termination of Probation for you.
  • You cannot be currently facing any criminal charges.
  • You must not have been convicted of a felony and sentenced to prison.
  • You may expunge a felony conviction if you were sentenced to county jail time. If you were convicted of a felony and sentenced to prison, you can still petition for a Certificate of Rehabilitation and Governor’s Pardon to clean up your record.
  • Certain serious sex offenses committed against children cannot be expunged in California.
  • You cannot expunge a second DUI conviction.
  • An expunged first DUI can be used against you in subsequent DUI arrests or charges.

What Do I Get with a California Expungement?

Once you are granted a California Expungement, government and private employers cannot use information of your conviction against you by denying you a job or benefits. Getting a California Expungement is very helpful if you are trying to get hired, promoted, or are working on obtaining a state license. It will also help you if you are facing immigration deportation for your criminal conviction. Although you must remember that the Federal Courts can completely ignore your California Expungement if they want to. Regardless of that, many people petition the court for a California Expungement because they want closure and a chance to put their past behind them.

What Don’t I Get with a California Expungement?

A California Expungement will not destroy your criminal record. The record still exists and remains accessible to the public. However, if someone does conduct a background search, it will show that the charges against you were dismissed after you entered a plea of not guilty.

A California Expungement does not give you the right to lie when you are asked if you were ever charged with a crime. Many licensing boards (such as the State Bar, Contractors Licensing Board, or State Real Estate Licensing Board) will ask you if you were charged rather than if you were convicted. An experienced attorney can also petition to Seal and Destroy Your Arrest Records which may be granted under certain circumstances.

How Can I Get a California Expungement?

The process for a California Expungement is complicated and must be done through the Courts.  There are certain types of convictions that are entitled to an expungement and there are those that are up to the discretion of the Court.

Our attorneys and staff are experienced in Expungements and other Post-Conviction Relief. If you have a Criminal Conviction, and are looking for petitioning the Court for a California Expungement, the Law Offices of Sean F. Leslie can help you navigate through the complicated legal road ahead. Our experienced Criminal Defense Attorneys will make the California Expungement process as quick and easy as possible for you. Let us put our criminal defense experience to work for you. Contact us today for a consultation.