Millions of Americans face numerous hardships in their personal and professional life because they have a criminal record lurking in the past. Without a spotless background, you’re exposed to a wide range of difficulties and sometimes it might be too late before you’re aware of this. A successful expungement of your criminal record can help you with the impediments or hindrances that might befall you. With an expungement, it’s possible to rise above your past mistakes. Expungement also referred to as expunction or “setting aside a criminal conviction,” is a court-ordered process that involves sealing or erasing a criminal conviction from the eyes of the law.
You may never be able to move on with your life much as before after being convicted of a crime and serving the terms of the sentence unless you get your criminal conviction expunged. In fact, once a crime becomes a matter of public record, it has the potential to follow you for the remainder of your life. Regardless of how many dreams you have, how hardworking you are, or how much you’ve changed, one single mistake of your past can affect your chances of having a good future.
If you or a loved one has once been convicted for a crime in California, consider taking advantage of a criminal record expungement under Penal Code 1203.4 PC. While not all criminal records are destroyed, there’s a legal procedure for expunging certain misdemeanor and felony charges. The benefits of getting an expungement are many and while the process can be quite daunting and time-consuming, the benefits of going through the complete process far outweigh the complications. It doesn’t really matter if you had been convicted for a petty charge, a drug offense, or traffic violation, an expungement can give you a fresh start. However, expungement does not remove, delete, erase or restore one’s record to appear like nothing happened. Instead, your plea of guilty or no contest withdrawn and a not guilty plea entered. The case will be dismissed and your records will be updated to show that.
The benefits of record expungement in California include:
- Assistance with finding a job,
- Help with obtaining professional licenses,
- Entry to colleges and universities,
- Safe housing,
- Preventing the past conviction from being brought forward to impeach your credibility in as a witness in court proceedings,
- Insurance Rates,
- Restoration of Voting Rights, and
- Personal satisfaction and peace of mind
Let’s take an in-depth look at each of these benefits.
ASSISTANCE WITH FINDING A JOB
One of the most valuable benefits of having your criminal convictions expunged is that it can help you secure employment, even after suffering a criminal conviction. Getting a new job after spending time incarcerated can prove to be a tall order. Most employers run background checks on new job applicants as a part of their hiring process. These background checks typically disclose the applicant’s records of arrests, conviction and even probation status. Many potential employers will ask you if you’ve ever been convicted of a crime. With this, it means that the discovery of a criminal record could completely ruin your possibilities. If given a choice between an applicant with a criminal history and one with no negative information available, most employers will go for the one with a clean record.
And since most employers also ask job applicants if they’ve ever been convicted of a crime, you can lawfully answer “no” if your record has been expunged under PC 1203.4. Furthermore, in deciding whether to hire a job applicant, no employer is allowed to consider an expunged conviction that shows up after running a background check. Moreover, under the California Labor Code section 432.7, no employer is allowed to:
- Discriminate against a job applicant because of their criminal past.
- Ask a job applicant about an expunged conviction,
Having your criminal record expunged or sealed helps restore your confidence thus allowing you to pursue employment without fear.
STATE OR PROFESSIONAL LICENSES
In certain professions, getting a license is obligatory and that might come after certification. If you have a criminal conviction on your record, you may be excluded from being certified or licensed. California Penal Code 1203.4 expungement offers significant benefits to individuals looking to obtain state licenses. However, even after an expungement, you must disclose the conviction if asked when applying for a public office, contracting with the state lottery, or a state license such as real estate license, law, medical, or contractor license. But many state licensing agencies are more likely to issue licenses to individuals whose criminal convictions have been expunged. Also, many will also consider an applicant if he or she has effectively completed probation as well as the expungement process.
COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
For students, having a criminal record can be even more detrimental. Your college may have expelled you from your program or may have refused any sort of grant or any kind of aid. In addition, they may also make you ineligible for awards or honors. And your application to another learning institution may be denied based on your criminal record. Most graduate schools and colleges make inquiries about an applicant’s criminal history. To ensure that you have the best chance at being admitted in the institution of your choice, it’s worth consulting with one of our experienced record expungement attorneys as to how you ought to go about applying and pitfalls to avoid. In most cases, if your record has been expunged, you will not have to reveal it to anyone. Going through a California Penal Code 1203.4 reduces the stigma and ill effect of the criminal conviction.
Finding housing may become difficult if you have a criminal record. Just like potential employers, most landlords and property management companies will run a background check on potential renters along with credit checks. Prospective tenants with dubious backgrounds may be discriminated in favor of those with clean criminal backgrounds. A criminal record can force you to move into a less desirable neighborhood, after being denied a chance to move into your preferred area or neighborhood. Investing in expungement or record sealing services can help reduce the chances of having your rental application denied just because you have a criminal background.
CREDIBILITY AS A WITNESS IN COURT
Another major benefit of California expungement is that the prosecutor or opposing side cannot use an already expunged conviction to impeach your integrity as a witness in court. But this exception may not apply if you’re the defendant being prosecuted in a new criminal case. A conviction on your record can be used to your disadvantage, especially if you’re serving as a witness in court in California. The opposing party may bring up your felony conviction to question your credibility as a witness. However, they are not allowed to use your conviction if it’s expunged. This expungement benefit can significantly helpful if, for instance, you are sued or sue someone for damages in a civil suit and your own testimony will be critical to the outcome.
It seems harsh and unfair to deprive you of your voting rights just because of a past mistake, but the fact remains the law is the law. At Record Expungement Attorney, we understand you care about choosing leaders of the state/country as well as the laws applicable in your community. The best thing is that after your record is expunged, your voting rights are reinstated as though nothing ever happened.
Insurance companies also run background checks on their potential clients. Many insurance rates can be affected just because of a silly mistake you made in the past. If you apply for coverage and the insurance company discovers that your criminal record shows a conviction, they are likely to charge extremely high insurance premiums. Also, they may choose not to offer you any kind of insurance depending on the type of crime you were convicted of. Investing in an expungement lawyer can pay off in better rates and lower premiums.
Just like with insurance coverage, a conviction may also make it difficult for you to obtain a credit card or mortgage. Lenders must assess a borrower’s trustworthiness and this means that they often conduct background checks on their prospective borrowers. You may appear to be an untrustworthy borrower if your criminal record is not spotless, regardless of how long ago it happened. Mortgage and credit card lenders are usually cautious when giving a loan to a former convict and this means that you stand to be denied loans. An expungement, however, could have immense benefits on the rates offered and also helps you face public background checks with confidence.
PERSONAL SATISFACTION OR PEACE OF MIND
Many of our clients express a great deal of satisfaction after the court issues an order of expungement. While it does not erase the past like a sponge, it really helps bring redemption for a mistake in your history and closure to a frustrating chapter of your life, putting it all behind you. Having peace of mind is a great personal benefit that can’t be overlooked or quantified.
Therefore, consider getting an expungement early enough. Don’t wait until the time you’re applying for jobs or a license (which can be a time-sensitive situation) to start thinking about the expungement process. Contact Record Expungement Attorney to get started. We can assist you in expunging your case by doing all the work for you. We will require you to provide you with information concerning your case and your life since the offense. And after that, we so the rest.
HOW THE EXPUNGEMENT PROCESS WORKS IN CALIFORNIA
Several steps must be followed before the court will grant a California expungement. The assistance of an experienced Record Expungement Attorney can play a significant role at this point. The steps that will be followed include:
- Evaluating the case to determine a defendant’s eligibility for this type of relief,
- Carrying out legal research on the relevant and current law,
- Filing the necessary paperwork within the stipulated deadlines, and
- Attending the expungement hearing.
Timely paperwork is critical to the success of the process. For instance, a notice must be given to the prosecutor at least 15 days prior to the hearing. This provides the prosecutor with the time to review the case and object if desired.
ELIGIBILITY FOR AN EXPUNGEMENT
You must meet the following criteria to qualify for an expungement:
- You did not serve a state prison sentence
- You were given probation
- You successfully completed probation, meaning that you obeyed all laws, paid all of the fines, restitution, fees you were ordered to pay and completed all programs, classes, and community service ordered by the court
- You are not on probation for a new case
- You have no new charges pending
ARE THERE ANY IMMIGRATION BENEFITS AFTER EXPUNGEMENT?
Generally, an expungement doesn’t impede the immigration penalties of a criminal conviction, such as case denial of naturalization, denial of admission, and deportation. When applying to lawfully stay in the country, you will be required to disclose information about any arrests, charges, or even convictions against you, even after an expungement. If you fail to answer questions asked truthfully, the immigration official will carry out your background check and may reject your application. Yet, many individuals with criminal convictions are still able to obtain immigration benefits. If you are worried that a conviction will hold you back, be sure to look into your options.
WHAT AN EXPUNGEMENT IN CALIFORNIA DOES NOT DO
While there are numerous benefits from expungement, the process has several limits and it may not be a remedy for every person. Our attorneys will let you know if you’re eligible for expungement and whether it’s the right option for you. Some of the things that an expungement will not do include:
- It will not erase all records in your criminal case. An expungement will show that your case was either dismissed or your verdict has been set aside after trial
- An expungement will not end your duty to register as a sex offender if your conviction requires you to do so
- Will not outrightly restore your right to own or possesses a gun. If you are a convicted felon, and you’ve been denied the right to own a firearm, an expungement process will not reinstate your capacity to do so. It’s worth speaking to one of our seasoned record expungement attorneys since there are several other avenues to restore your gun rights
- An expunged conviction can still be considered as a “priorable” offense. Some crimes can be more serious, especially if committed multiple times. An expunged conviction may still be considered if you commit the same offense again
- There are several state licensing boards that you must disclose your conviction to irrespective of whether you expunged it or not. This include positions with the state lottery, public office positions and when applying for state licenses
In addition, not all crimes qualify for expungement and this includes sex offenses committed against minors and violent felonies such as murder.
CONTACT US TODAY FOR ASSISTANCE
If you or a loved one has suffered a past conviction and could benefit from a California criminal record expungement and are looking for representation, look no further than Record Expungement Attorney. We are able to provide a free, no-obligation consultation in office or by phone. We can go over your case history and determine whether you’re eligible to have your conviction expunged. With many years of successfully helping our clients clear their records, you can trust us to work as harder and give your case the attention it deserves. Expungement can prove to be a complicated process with a lot of paperwork. This creates many pitfalls that would result in expungement being denied.
When you hire one of our record expungement attorneys, we will work on your behalf and help you navigate the process with much ease. You’ll avoid the stress and worry that comes with the preparations and meetings associated with expungements, and you may even not be required to attend court at all. We understand how much your professional and even personal future depends on expungement and that’s why we’re here to support you and help you put your past behind. Once the hearing is over, you’ll hopefully walk out with your conviction expunged. We routinely handle matters in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Valley area, and nearby jurisdictions. Contact us any time 24/7/365 at 424-835-9505.