Many defendants who have been reformed since being convicted of a crime can have their criminal history expunged by the state of California. Former defendants can see their lives change drastically after having their criminal conviction expunged from their record. They may become eligible again for new jobs, certain types of housing, and government-issued programs. However, not all crimes are eligible for expungement, and the ones that are require certain conditions to be met before they can be expunged.
What Is Expungement?
Penal Code 1203.4 PC of the California Statute provides people who have been convicted of certain misdemeanors and felonies the opportunity to have their case reopened and their guilty verdict dismissed. A defendant no longer has to endure the penalties relative to their conviction when it is expunged. When a conviction is expunged, a person’s public record will show that their case was dismissed in the interests of justice.
Anyone seeking expungement will need to meet certain requirements before they will be eligible.
When someone decides to seek expungement of a criminal record, they will need to ensure they have completed the following:
- Paid all of the court fees and fines against them
- Finished all of the terms of their probation, such as paying restitution, attending rehabilitation programs, and performing community service
Anyone seeking expungement will need to fill out forms CR-180 and CR-181 and should do so with the assistance of experienced legal counsel.
Expungement of Misdemeanors in CA
Misdemeanors are defined by the state of California as offenses that are punishable by 1 year in jail and applicable fines. Specific misdemeanors that defendants can seek expungement for include:
- Public intoxication
- Disorderly conduct
- Reckless driving
- Domestic battery
- Violating probation
- Battery and assault
- Possession of drugs
- Disturbing the peace
One year must pass before a defendant can seek expungement for such crimes if they are not on an active probation plan.
Expungement of Felonies in CA
Felonies are very serious crimes that frequently involve elements such as serious bodily injury against another person or fraud involving large sums of money. Many felonies are not eligible for expungement in the state of California due to their serious nature. The only felonies that can be expunged in California are ones that did not result in a state prison sentence, or crimes that are considered “wobblers” because they could have been charged as a misdemeanor instead. Such convictions will need to be lowered to a misdemeanor charge prior to a successful expungement.
Which Crimes Are Ineligible for Expungement?
Anyone in a situation that meets the following criteria is not eligible for expungement in the state of California:
- Their conviction took place in a federal court
- Their conviction resulted in a state prison sentence
- Their probation is ongoing and cannot be terminated early
- They have charges for or are serving a sentence/probation for a different crime
- They have been convicted of sex crimes involving children
- They did not submit to a police inspection of their vehicle
How Expungement Changes Lives
When someone has a conviction expunged from their record, they no longer have to disclose their conviction to certain people and may become eligible for federal programs again. Specifically, expungement will:
- Create a new entry in the records of the court that shows the case was dismissed
- Allow the former defendant to answer on most job applications that they were never convicted, except for government jobs or jobs that require licenses issued by the government
- Allow the former defendant to receive federal student loans if they had been denied them because their conviction was drug related
- Allow the former defendant to testify as a witness in cases they would have been impeached for prior to the expungement
What Can’t Expungement Do?
Expungement is a positive step forward for all defendants. However, it does not erase the conviction from history and elements of it will remain. Expungement cannot:
- Prevent federal and state officers from seeing the conviction and later dismissal when searching a defendant’s record
- Allow defendants to possess firearms if that right was taken away from them
- Prevent defendants from having to register as a sex offender if their crime was of that nature; if their conviction is expunged, they can file a Certificate of Rehabilitation which may relieve them of that responsibility
- Seal the court case and prevent people who know where to look from finding it
- Stop Immigration Services from using the conviction in removal processes
Our Firm Can Assist You
If you have a conviction on your record and believe you are eligible for expungement, reach out to the Law Offices of Brian C. Andritch today. We have the experience and insight of the legal process to help you with your case regardless of the severity. We understand the life-changing nature of expungement, which is why we will search your case tirelessly for every chance to ensure the best possible outcome. Call us at (559) 484-2112 or reach out online to schedule a free consultation today.