The importance of a clear criminal record cannot be overstated. Expungement in California is the process of having a prior conviction removed if certain criteria is met. Your tarnished record is wiped clean. However, expungement is only available in specific instances. You cannot have every type of conviction erased. When you are not eligible for expungement, you need to look into other ways to clear your record, such as applying for a governor’s pardon or having your records sealed and destroyed.
If you have a criminal conviction on your record and are interested in finding out if it can be expunged, sealed, or pardoned, call an expungement lawyer at Silver Law Firm. We will analyze your circumstances, explain your legal options, and guide you through the next steps.
Call Silver Law Firm today at (510) 995-0000 or online to schedule a consultation.
Mr. Silver is my savior. He has expressed genuine concern, empathy, and compassion for me. He he returned my phone calls/e-messages in a timely manner. He has given me sound legal and life advice throughout my case…Man’s greatest predator can sometimes be the law itself… Silver sees to it that you don’t get swallowed up whole. Thank you Elliot.”
Am I Eligible for Expungement?
There are a variety of ways in which you will be eligible for expunging a conviction or other run-ins with the law under PC 1203.4, PC 1203.4a, or PC 1203.41. You are eligible if you were granted a deferred judgement, can demonstrate that you completed the requirements for the deferred judgement, or the criminal charges were dismissed. In this situation, you were not convicted, and your arrest record is automatically sealed per PC 851.87. This automatic sealing of arrest records only applies to individuals who do not have a history of child abuse, domestic violence, or elder abuse.
If you were convicted of an infraction or misdemeanor, whether you can ask for an expungement depends on your penalty and whether it is complete. If you were not given probation or your probation is complete, call us about filing for a dismissal. If your probation is ongoing, we can explain the process for requesting an early termination of probation pursuant to §1203.3 and then filing for expungement. However, there are certain infractions and misdemeanors that are not eligible for expungement. Our expungement attorneys at Silver Law Firm can explain more.
Expungement is also an option if you were convicted of a “wobbler,” an offense that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, or any crime where you were not sentenced to incarceration in a state prison. If you were convicted of a felony and penalized with probation or time in a county jail, call us about filing a petition for dismissal.
The process associated with expungements dictates when you must be granted an expungement and when the court has discretion in the matter. Contact us to review your situation and learn more about your options. If you are eligible for expungement or another method of clearing your record, we will represent you through the entire process.
What is the Expungement Process?
Expungement requires a great deal of knowledge regarding the proper forms and the California criminal process. At Silver Law Firm, when we guide you through an expungement, you and attorney Silver will:
- Learn about your conviction. To determine your eligibility for expungement or another method to clear your record, we need to know all of the details of your conviction, including your case number, the specific statute you violated, your date of conviction, and the exact plea or verdict. If you have your records, you should take them to the attorney during your consultation. If you do not have records available, speak with the expungement lawyer about obtaining your records. We will need copies for the expungement process.
- Verify your punishment. We also need the exact details of your penalty, such as whether you were sentenced to prison, jail, and/or probation. Were you released on parole, and if so, when did it end? Have these details written down when you meet with an attorney. However, it is OK if you do not know everything at your consultation. An experienced expungement attorney will gather all of the necessary information to pursue clearing your record.
- Determine your options. Whether or not you are eligible for expungement depends on a number of factors. Your attorney will review your situation and explain your options. If you are eligible and want to expunge more than one conviction, your attorney will fill out a separate petition for each. If you cannot expunge one or more convictions, then we will explain other possible ways to obtain a clean criminal record.
- Determine the county in which you were convicted. You must ask for an expungement in the county in which you were convicted of the offense you want to expunge. If you have convictions in different counties, your lawyer will handle the expungement process in each jurisdiction.
- Obtain the proper forms. Your attorney will obtain all of the necessary court forms from the county in which you were convicted. Using the correct forms is absolutely necessary to getting through the expungement process efficiently. Your lawyer will also verify the county’s court rules, including what documentation must be included and how in your expungement petition. When you work with an attorney experienced in the expungement process in your area, they will already know the court rules they must adhere to, reducing the chance of a procedural error causing your petition to be denied.
- Obtain supporting materials. When you ask for an expungement, it can help your cause to include supporting materials with your petition, such as letters of support, evidence of attending or finishing school, or a personal letter to the judge. Your expungement lawyer will discuss with you the type of materials that will help you and how to obtain them.
- File the petition. Your attorney will properly file the petition in person, by mail, or electronically in accordance with the county’s court rules. Your attorney will then receive your hearing date.
- Serve necessary parties. Depending on the county where you were convicted, we may be required to serve other parties with notice of your request for an expungement, such as the district attorney or the probation department.
- Attend the hearing. You may or may not be required to attend your expungement hearing. If your conviction was in San Francisco, you must go to your hearing. However, in many other areas, your attorney can represent you. Your expungement lawyer will explain whether you need to attend or not, and if so, how to prepare.
Are There Other Ways to Clear My Record?
When expungement is not an option, there are other ways to clear your record and give you a fresh start, including:
- Reduce a Conviction. If you were convicted of a felony wobbler, you will be able to ask for it to be reduced to a misdemeanor under PC 17(b). This is typically granted if you were sentenced to and have completed probation. While reducing a conviction does not completely clear your record, it reduces the stigma created by a felony conviction. You will have more opportunities and rights with only a misdemeanor conviction.
- Seal and Destroy. Under PC 851.87, you have the right to have your records sealed if no charges were ever filed against you, the charges were dismissed, you were acquitted by a jury, your conviction was vacated or overturned on appeal, or you successfully completed a pretrial diversion or pre-sentencing program. If your record is sealed, it is as if the record is destroyed.
- Certificate of Rehabilitation. A certificate of rehabilitation is a court order that declares you have been rehabilitated in the eyes of the state after being convicted of a crime. It is available based on PC 4852.01 – 5852.21. You must have completed your penalty for the offense and have remained free from any charges or convictions for a specific period of time, which is based on your conviction. Call Silver Law Firm today to discuss whether you are currently eligible to petition for a certificate of rehabilitation, and if not yet, when you will be. If you obtain a certificate of rehabilitation, a copy is automatically send to the governor as an application for a full pardon under PC 4852.13(a).
- Pardon. If you cannot obtain a certificate of rehabilitation, then you can apply for a direct pardon from the governor. Unlike other ways to clear your record, this application is not sent through the court system. However, it still requires the right forms and service of process. Your best chance at receiving a certificate of rehabilitation or a direct pardon is to work with an experienced and meticulous expungement lawyer.
Contact Silver Law Firm for Help Today
When you have one or more convictions on your criminal record, you will face the consequences for years. A felony, in particular, can make it difficult to find work. It can make it challenging or impossible to finish your education, obtain certain professional licenses, and advance your career. Not to mention, if convicted of a felony, you lose certain rights. Cleaning your criminal record of one or more convictions can remove a lot of hurdles. Putting you on a new and better path.