San Diego Expungement Attorney
Expunge Your Criminal Record in California
Many misdemeanor convictions are cases of one-time mistakes. Unfortunately, even minor misdemeanors are part of your permanent record and can prevent you from living in certain places and finding gainful employment. If your crime is expunged in the state of California, your criminal case will be reopened and your conviction will be dismissed. Your official records will not show a conviction, but it cannot be erased, either. Instead, your record will show that your case was granted expungement.
How to Obtain an Expungement in San Diego
Anyone who successfully completed probation by following all requirements and orders from the judge can have their criminal record expunged. The first step in record expungement is getting off of probation. CA Penal Code 1203.4 gives any defendant the right to have their criminal conviction dismissed and expunged.
Benefits of Expungement
The potential benefits of an expungement include:
- Your case will be dismissed and the guilty plea thrown out by the court.
- On job applications, you may answer that you have not been convicted of a crime.
- When applying to a government job or seeking a government regulated license a background check will reveal prior convictions. If you are applying to government jobs or have upcoming work with a government entity requiring a license you should disclose any prior convictions. It is advisable to also disclose the expungement of this past conviction.
- On criminal background check your case will be shown as dismissed and set aside
What Criminal Expungement Does Not Do
An expungement does not provide for the following:
- Permit you to leave out the conviction on applications for government issued licenses;
- It will not get rid of the conviction on your “Rap Sheet” – California and FBI criminal history will reflect that you have both a conviction and dismissal.
- If you have lost your right to own or possess a firearm an expungement will not restore this right. This consequence can be avoided if your attorney is successful in reducing the offense from a felony to misdemeanor or by showing that the crime is non-violent.
- Unfortunately, the files relating to your criminal case remain with the court and will not be sealed. The public is able to inspect your case file if they are familiar with the courts and have some knowledge about your case.
- If you are facing a new criminal charge an expungement does not prevent the prosecution from using the record of the prior conviction as a “prior.” Your previous offense even if expunged can increase your punishment if you plead or are found guilty in a subsequent case.
- If called as a witness evidence of your prior conviction can be introduced to impeach or attack your credibility as a witness
- If you hold a professional license, teaching credential, medical license, or other government license a conviction can result in the loss or revocation of that license. The impact on your professional life can be significant however an expungement of a past conviction can help your defense argument with the licensing agency.
- The conviction is still fully accessible and can be used by US immigration officers in deciding matters relating to your immigration status and possible deportation.
- This does not give relief to anyone required to register as a sex offender under PC290. This requirement can only be removed with a certificate of rehabilitation.
How Do I Expunge My Criminal Record in CA?
The first step in an expungement is being finished with probation. A defendant must be in compliance with their probation terms by paying all fines and fees. Additional requirements such as custody time or community service must also be completed. Anyone ordered to complete certain rehab classes should have proof turned into the court. As long as all terms of probation have been completed, the only other requirement is length of probation. Most probation terms are three years although some like DUI convictions can be five years.
If you want to expunge your record you have to either serve the full length of probation or apply for early termination of probation.
California Early Termination Of Probation
Getting off probation early is not easily accomplished. A guilty plea of convictions brings a required three or five year probation term. A court will consider terminating some people from probation early but this requires significant motions and evidence submitted to the court. A judge will want to know why he should consider your case as special to grant early release from probation.
While every case is different you should expect to serve half the length of your probation before applying for early terminations. Exceptional cases where the defendant has gone above and beyond to show their performance on probation will be considered for early termination of probation.
Seal and Destroy Arrest Record California
If you have a criminal case in which you were found not guilty or the court dismissed the charges you have the right under California Law to request that your arrest record be sealed and destroyed. This can also be considered an expungement of your arrest record but it is actually more extensive than a simple expungement. If you were arrested for any misdemeanor or felony offense and the prosecution never filed a formal accusatory pleading with the court this procedure may be able to have your record sealed. Your criminal record will always include past arrests for criminal matters even if the prosecution never charged your case. California Penal Code 851.8 creates a petition that can be filed by an attorney to request that the arresting law enforcement agency destroy its records of the arrest.
Diligent work from experienced counsel can get the charges dropped prior to your first arraignment date. If District Attorney or other prosecuting agency feels they have insufficient evidence to proceed in your case they will close their file and refer the case back to law enforcement for further investigation. Your San Diego expungement lawyer should work closely with law enforcement to ensure that they conclude their investigation promptly and dismiss those cases where the defendant is innocent and has committed no crime.
How an Expungement Attorney Can Clear Your Arrest in CA
If your petition under PC 851.8 succeeds then any reference to the arrest must be deleted from arresting agencies records. Records of the arrest must also be removed from the Department of Justice database along with the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.
The first step is sending the petition to the law enforcement agency that actually arrested the defendant. A copy of this is also served on the prosecuting lawyer that has jurisdiction over the case. If law enforcement determines that the defendant is factually innocent they must seal the arrest record and destroy the record within three years of the arrest. If the petition is granted law enforcement is required to notify the Department of Justice and other local/state law enforcement that the individual was found factually innocent and that arrest records will be sealed and destroyed. The importance of this petition is that if granted the law enforcement agency must guarantee that all records given to any agency, entity or person in California must destroy its records of the arrest. This is crucial because the record must be sealed and destroyed from any State or Federal database that may come up on a background check.
If you are convicted of a criminal offense after your record has been expunged, the conviction will still stand as part of your history and may be used to enhance sentencing. For instance, if you get an additional DUI, the expunged conviction will count as your second strike under California laws.
A San Diego Expungement Lawyer Who Can Help
For more information about how an attorney can make the process of having your record expunged easier, contact us today. We are committed to fighting for our clients’ rights long after a conviction and probation have been served. We can help you file the paperwork, stay in touch with the courts to move the process along, and speak on your behalf during hearings. You can file for expungement as soon as you have finished the terms of your probation, so don’t hesitate to get the ball rolling.
Sentence Reduced, All Other Charges Dropped 16 Counts, Unlawful Sexual Intercourse with a Minor
Client charged with multiple sexual assault offenses, facing 16 years in prison. Convicted of One Count of Sex with a Minor, 2 years Jail, All other charges dismissed.
Reduced Sentence, Other Charges Dropped 24 Count, Insurance Fraud Conspiracy, Grand Theft in excess of $250,000
Client charged as head of conspiracy to present false claims to insurance companies, losses over $250,000. Client facing 22 years in State Prison. Convicted of two counts of insurance fraud, sentenced to 2 years in jail, remaining charges dismissed.
Dismissed with No Jail Time, Probation Only Assault with Deadly Weapon, Robbery, Burglary
Client charged with multiple counts, potential 14 year sentence. Released with no custody.
Dismissed Charges Assault with semi-automatic Firearm, Criminal Threat, Domestic Violence
Charges exposed client to 8 years in State Prison and two serious strike felonies. Court dismisses all gun related charges at preliminary hearing, client pleads to domestic violence charge only, no custody.
30 Days Probation, Case Dismissed. Attempted Murder
Client charged with Attempted Murder in connection with the death of her husband suffering from a fatal illness. Defense investigation revealed that statements of witnesses were unreliable and unfounded.
Case Dismissed Auto Insurance Fraud
Naval Officer accused of making fraudulent insurance claims on his vehicle, charged with three felony offenses. Case Dismissed after defense investigation and negotiation with District Attorney.
Case Dismissed on Motion Auto Insurance Fraud
Client charged with two felony counts of Auto Insurance Fraud.
Not Guilty. Case Dismissed. Burglary, Theft, Identity Theft
Client was charged with criminal Burglary, Grand Theft and Identity Theft from local retailers. Defense investigation revealed client was not individual shown on security cameras
Reduced Charge Plea Deal Child Molestation Accusation
Career Professional Client facing child molestation charges, requiring lifetime sex registration. Defense negotiated plea deal for non-offender charge of misdemeanor assault.
Not Guilty, Client Acquitted Of All Charges Child Pornography
Client on Probation for Sexual Assault. Arrest and accusation of child pornography possession. Defense employs forensic investigation of all seized evidence and finds no evidence of child pornography.