Being convicted of a crime often has much farther reaching consequences that one might expect. When an individual is actually convicted of the accusation made against them, the charge will go on their record. This information can then be accessed by a potential employer. Carrying a criminal record will often lead to an unyielding prejudice against that person, making a job search next to impossible and even useless in some cases. Unfortunately, a job is often the best way to show society that you are in fact an active and productive member of the community. You may be wondering, ‘how then can I avoid such prejudice?’ The legal system has provided a way for you to escape the continuing repercussions of your past: expungement.
Expungement is the process of sealing your records so that they can no longer be accessed through the state or federal repositories. This repository is a database that is used to track criminals. According to California law, as long as a defendant has fulfilled the conditions of their probation, they can be allowed a degree of relief. This relief can come in the form of withdrawing their plea of no contest or guilt and then plead not guilty. If the individual was convicted after a plea of not guilty, that verdict will be set aside.
Should either of these two situations come to pass, the court will dismiss the accusation and all information and thereby release the individual of all penalties. For any defendant that was convicted of an infraction or a misdemeanor and did not have a probation period, they can petition for relief after one year of the court’s judgment. If you decide to petition for dismissal, you must fill out the proper form. Anyone who petitions for their records to be sealed must reimburse the court for the cost of this service. This could cost up to $150.
In order to petition for expungement or dismissal, you must first be sure that you meet all eligibility requirements. If you received probation after your conviction, you can qualify if you have fully completed your probationary term and all its requirements. Furthermore, you must not have any other criminal convictions since the time of the incident you are wishing to have sealed. If you did not have a probation sentence, you must satisfy a one-year waiting period with no incident. Furthermore, you must not have too many criminal incidents that happened prior to the specific incident you are trying to cover. The conviction in question must not be too serious, such as rape, sexual battery, or felonies that are committed against an individual under the age of 18.
Living under the shadow of a criminal record is intolerable. If you are looking to apply and are wondering if you meet all qualification requirements, your first step should be to call a criminal defense attorney. At Okabe & Haushalter, we can help walk you through this process. California’s laws concerning the expungement process can quickly become confusing. We know how important it is to get your records sealed as soon as possible. That is why we work quickly and aggressively to have your case brought to the attention of a judge. The sooner you can remove your guilty plea or have your verdict set aside, the sooner you can get back to living a normal life. If you have any questions about this process, feel free to contact one of our attorneys. As one of Los Angeles’ premier criminal defense teams, we will not rest until we have exhausted every avenue to have your records sealed.