Having a criminal conviction on your record can complicate your life completely. You may not have been able to avoid the conviction of the charges against you, but you may be able to have the conviction expunged from your record. Although true expungement does not exist in California, there may be options to clean your record depending on your situation.
What Is an Expungement?
Before you start the process of expungement, it is important to understand what expungement is. California law defines expungement as a legal procedure that removes or diminishes certain offenses. If you were convicted of a felony or misdemeanor and meet the requirements outlined in Penal Code section 1203.4 PC, you may be eligible to have your criminal records expunged.
If the expungement is successful, your case will be reopened, and your guilty plea or guilty verdict will be set aside and the case will be dismissed. Under the law, expungement releases you from “all penalties and disabilities” incurred by the conviction.
California law do not allow a criminal record to be fully erased from public view. However, expungement will change your record to reflect criminal charges to have been “dismissed in the interests of justice.”
Determining Eligibility for Expungement
Below are the important requirements you must meet in order to be eligible for an expungement of your criminal records:
- You received probation for the conviction and:
- Successfully completed probation or was released early
- Paid all court-ordered fines, restitution, and reimbursement as part of your sentence
- Not currently serving another sentence or probation for another criminal conviction
- Not currently charged with another offense
- You never received probation and:
- Conviction was a misdemeanor
- At least one year has passed since the conviction
- Fully complied with the court imposed sentence
- Not currently serving another sentence
- Not currently charged with another criminal offense
Convictions Not Eligible for Expungement
Expungement is not available in all situations. If you were convicted on charges for any of the following offenses, you will not be eligible for expungement under Penal Code section 1203.4(a):
- Misdemeanor within provisions of Vehicle Code section 42001(b)
- Any violation of Penal Code section 286(c), 288, 288(a), or 289(j)
- Felony conviction under Penal Code section 261.5(d)
- Any infraction (such as a traffic violation)
If you believe that you fall under any of these exceptions to the law, you should first consult with an experienced Central Valley criminal defense attorney to ensure that you in fact are not eligible for a dismissal.
Call an Experienced Central Valley Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime in the Central Valley and is seeking an expungement of your conviction record, it is in your best interest to immediately consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney to help you learn your legal rights and options.
For more information or to schedule a complimentary consultation with Central Valley criminal defense attorney Gurjit Srai, please call (209) 323-5558 or complete our online form.