Maximize Your Chances of Success by Hiring the Right Expungements Attorney
If you have been convicted of a crime, served your time and done everything required of you, then you are likely ready to move on with your life without this black mark following you. The good news is that if you meet a series of criteria, you might be able to do just that. Contact Simmons Wagner, LLP at (949) 439-5857 right away to find out if you are eligible for expungement or other post-conviction relief options.
Expungement 101: Get the Basics Facts
An expungement involves filing a legal petition or motion with the court to have a judge re-open your case, set aside the conviction, and dismiss it. If your expungement petition is successful, then you will no longer be convicted of the crime and you can legally answer “no” when asked if you have committed a misdemeanor or felony crime (provided you do not have other convictions on your record.
When a potential employer or landlord checks your criminal history after an expungement, it will not be on most basic background checks. However, it will still show up within the California court system, which means that if you are arrested in the future, it could be used to show a pattern of criminal behavior.
Qualifying for Expungement
Not everyone who has been convicted of a crime is eligible for expungement. You will not qualify if any of the following is true:
- You are currently charged with a crime
- You are on probation
- You are serving a sentence
- You served time in prison
- You were convicted of a certain sex offenses
- You were convicted of a federal crime
If you have completed all court-ordered actions, have not been in trouble since you were arrested for the crime you would like expunged, and your crime was not sexual or violent in nature, then you might be a good candidate.
The Court Will Consider Many Factors When Deciding if They Should Grant Your Request
Once your case has been made, the court will look at various factors before making a determination on your case. Those factors include:
- When the offense and conviction occurred
- The type of offense committed
- The sentence
- How compliant you were with your court obligations
- Your criminal history
They will consider these and other factors to make their final decision about whether or not to grant the expungement.
You Might Be Granted an Expungement Even if You Violated the Terms of Your Probation
Commonly, a person who would qualify except for having violated their probation assumes they have no options. This is not necessarily true. We can still build a case for your expungement. The court will consider your probation violation and whether it should exclude you from expungement eligibility. To do so, they will consider:
- Your overall behavior on probation
- Your criminal record
- How serious the violation was
- How serious the underlying conviction was
- How deserving you are of an expungement
You Must Apply for Multiple Sentences Separately
If you have been convicted of multiple crimes and want them all expunged, you can apply to do so, but each one requires its own filing. We can file all applications at the same time and can apply for expungement for cases in various jurisdictions.
There Are Many Potential Advantages to Filing for Expungement
If your expungement is approved, you can enjoy many benefits, including:
- Private employers can not ask about a dismissed conviction and if they become aware of it, they cannot legally use it when considering you for employment
- You can increase your earning potential by being eligible for new employment options
- Your conviction will not appear on an employer or landlord background check
- You can legally answer “no” on rental applications and private sector job applications when asked if you have been convicted of a crime
- You might be eligible for professional certificates and licenses you were not eligible for before
- You might become eligible for housing assistance
- You might become eligible for more student loans
The Limits of Expungement
While there are many great reasons to move forward with an expungement, it is important to know that it has its limits too. They include:
- An expunged case can be used against you if you are sentenced in a future criminal case.
- Expungement does not restore your gun rights
- You must disclose the expunged conviction if you are contracting with the California State Lottery Commission, you are applying for public office, or you are applying for a state license.
- Your record is not sealed. On 95% of background checks, your expunged conviction will not appear, but the conviction can show up on advanced checks.
Expungement is Not the Only Way to Move on After a Conviction
If you are not eligible for an expungement, there could be other post-conviction relief that can help. Your options might include:
- Having a felony reduced to a misdemeanor. Propositions 47 and 64 can offer you the option to reduce a felony conviction to a misdemeanor, if you qualify. This could restore your gun rights.
- Early probation termination. Being on probation can limit a person from living their life to the fullest. Your criminal defense attorney might be able to petition the court to terminate your probation early. This is only possible if you have completed all other terms and conditions of your probation, and you have completed at least half of it.
- Certificate of Rehabilitation and a Governor’s Pardon. A Certificate of Rehabilitation does not remove anything from your record but it is an official document you can present to potential employers and landlords to show them that the state considers you rehabilitated. When you apply for a COR, you are automatically applying for a Governor’s Pardon too.
If you believe you are or should be eligible for an expungement, contact Simmons Wagner, LLP at (949) 439-5857 so we can assess your case.