Time heals all wounds, or so the adage goes. In the criminal world, it can work to “heal” offenses on your record.
A felony or misdemeanor, even an old one, can hold you back in employment, training, and educational opportunities. Many felonies and misdemeanors can be reduced after a period of time with a clean record by the court. The expungement process is how you make that request. Each offense requires a separate petition for expungement.
Do you have an offense over two years old? Have you completed all the terms set by the court? We want to help you get clean up your record.
To be eligible for an expungement, you must meet the following requirements:
- You cannot have been ordered to serve time in state prison (unless the Cal. Pen. Code 1170(h)(5) exception applies to you). If you are excluded as a result of a state prison sentence, you can apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation and / or a Pardon.
- You must meet the guidelines set forth in Cal. Pen. Code 1203.4, 1203.4(a), or 17.
- You must wait at least one year since the date of the conviction. Additionally, you must not have received any other convictions during that period.
- You must have completed the terms of your sentence, including incarceration, probation, community service, adult offender work program, restitution, fines, and fees. This includes Department of Motor Vehicle hearings, fines, and fees.
- Also, you cannot be serving a sentence for any other offense, or be charged with any other offense. All terms of probation for any offense must be completed prior to petitioning for expungement.
- If probation for the offense you wish to expunge was revoked and not reinstated, you are not eligible for expungement.
- If you are still on probation for any offense, we can help you file a Motion to Terminate Probation.
If county jail and / or probation is ordered and completed, you should be eligible to petition for expungement under Cal. Pen. Code 17(b)(3) to reduce your felony to a misdemeanor, and Petition for Dismissal under Cal. Pen. Code 1203.4 to expunge the misdemeanor.
If only probation was ordered, but not yet completed, we can help you file a Motion to Terminate Probation. If that is granted, we can file a petition for expungement under Cal. Pen. Code 17(b), and for dismissal of the misdemeanor under Cal. Pen. Code 1203.4.
If probation was ordered and completed, you can file a petition for dismissal under Cal. Pen. Code 1203.4.
If probation was ordered, but not completed, you must first either complete probation or file a successful Motion to Terminate Probation, then file a petition for dismissal under Cal. Pen. Code 1203.4.
If probation was not ordered, you can file a Petition to Dismiss under Cal. Pen. Code 1203.4(a).
WHAT IF YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING ON YOUR CRIMINAL RECORD?
This is more common than you think. Many people wish to expunge their records 10, 20, or more years after an offense. You may have long ago discarded the paperwork. For each offense you wish to expunge, you will need a copy of your criminal record or case information.
Never fear, it is neither hard nor terribly expensive to obtain your records. Find a LiveScan fingerprinting site near you.
EXPUNGEMENT: TIPS FOR SUCCESS
Part of the application process is a declaration from the applicant. This is your opportunity to tell the court why you want, need, and deserve for your offense to be expunged. Additionally, your family, friends, employers, teachers, and other members of your community can write letters to the court to demonstrate the quality of your character as well as share evidence of your rehabilitation.
For instance, you may include the following:
- Plans for the future
- Circumstances of the offense, and how the factors present at the time of the offense have changed.
- How the conviction has hurt opportunities for employment and education
- Any training or education completed since the conviction
- Any drug & alcohol rehabilitation
- Any religious affiliations (clergy can write you a letter of support)
- Any efforts you have made to improve your family, community, or society
The information provided herein does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a substitute for your own legal research. If you have questions, Mugridge Law Firm offers free consultations. Call us at 559.840.0020 or email us at [email protected]