No one is perfect, and sometimes a mistake can lead to a permanent criminal record. This can affect a person’s employment, professional reputation, and more. However, California allows for a criminal record to be expunged, or dismissed, in certain situations when you show that you have changed and want your record to reflect it. Let an experienced criminal law attorney like Bradley S. Sandler help you navigate the legal process of dismissing your criminal record in California.
What is Expungement?
Under California Penal Code section 1203.4, you can petition the court to dismiss certain crimes from your criminal record. California differs a bit from other states that offer expungement, where they simply erase the crime from your criminal record. Instead, your record is updated to show that a guilty plea is withdrawn, a not-guilty plea is entered, probation is terminated, and the case is dismissed. If a background check is done on you after a dismissal, the conviction may still show up on your record, but it will also show that it was dismissed.
Expungement of your criminal record can provide you with many benefits if you have successfully turned your life around. First, you can answer “no” when asked on a job application if you have ever been convicted of a crime or “yes – conviction dismissed.” You are also allowed to apply for state licenses that may not have been available with your current criminal record.
Limitations of Expungement
It is important to note that if you are arrested and charged with another crime, your expunged criminal convictions can still be used against you by California prosecutors. Felony convictions, even if expunged, also still prohibit you from possessing a firearm in the state. Your criminal record, even though charges are dismissed, will still reflect the charges brought against you and can be seen by state and federal authorities performing background checks.
Not all criminal convictions can be set aside. Under the California Penal Code, certain sex crimes such as child molestation or rape can not be dismissed from your record. In addition, certain vehicular crimes and sentences to state prison terms can not be expunged from your criminal record. For cases of state prison terms, you must go through a different process of vacating a conviction or seeking a certificate of rehabilitation or pardon.
How to Apply for Dismissal of Charges
The most important step towards dismissing charges on your criminal record is successfully completing all terms and conditions of your probation. This includes staying out of trouble, completing drug or alcohol programs, community service, anger management classes, and paying all fines, fees, and court costs related to the charges. You must then fill out a number of forms and petitions for the court in the county where you were convicted. The court will set a hearing date, where you will argue to a judge why you deserve to have your charges dismissed from your record. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you successfully petition and advocate for the dismissal of your charges in a Los Angeles court.
Call the Office Now to Speak to a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you wish to expunge your criminal record in the Los Angeles area, call or contact the Law Office of Bradley S. Sandler today to schedule a free consultation.