Everyone makes mistakes at some point in their lives, perhaps even some they wish they could erase completely. This is especially true when those mistakes result in a criminal record. As you may know, having a criminal record can make many things in your life more difficult. A criminal record can impact your ability to secure and maintain employment, rent an apartment, get into college, obtain various licenses, and even put you at risk for diminished child custody. Fortunately, you may have options in California for removing certain convictions from your record.
Expungement is a legal process that allows for the official removal of a criminal conviction or guilty plea from a person’s record. It allows those with a criminal record to clear certain convictions, which is beneficial when it comes to disclosing criminal history for the purposes listed above.
There are some limitations when it comes to expungement, as you may still be required to follow restrictions placed upon you after conviction of certain crimes. Restrictions may include reduced driving privileges after a controlled substance possession or California DUI or registering as a sex offender. Even with these limitations, expungement can be helpful when it comes to clearing your record before applying for employment or filling out a rental application.
Not all people are eligible for expungement in California, and not all convictions may be expunged. State legislation dictates that a person is only eligible for expungement if they’ve been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense and have successfully completed their probation requirements. However, you cannot apply for expungement of a past crime if you are currently charged with, serving a sentence for, or on probation for a crime.
You are also ineligible if you have served time in a California state prison or been convicted of a serious sex offense against children. Additionally, most federal offenses are ineligible for expungement. There are other exceptions and requirements that may apply to some, and an expert Lake Tahoe expungement attorney can assist you in determining if expungement is an option in your situation.
There is a specific legal process for expunging your record in California that you must follow to achieve the best chance at success. Before starting the process, make sure you are fully aware of the details of your criminal record and ensure you are eligible for expungement in your situation. Affirm that you have completed your probation period or petition to get your probation terminated early if you cannot wait until it has been fully served.
Once you understand the details of your arrest records and are sure you are eligible for potential expungement, you can begin the process. Take these steps:
A DIY approach is not recommended when it comes to expunging a conviction from your record due to the intensive paperwork involved throughout the process. Additionally, an experienced expungement attorney understands what judges look for in expungement petitions and can help guide you to increase your chances of success. A lawyer will suggest which additional documentation could help your case and ensure you do not make mistakes in the process that could cost you time and money.
High-quality legal counsel does come at a cost, but you should consider the cost of what could result if you do not have an experienced attorney on your side. You could end up paying additional court fees if you complete your petition incorrectly or need to re-petition after a denial. Worse, a denial could result in a loss of earning potential, as you will need to continue disclosing your record on employment applications.
Choosing a Lake Tahoe expungement lawyer is not as simple as finding the first contact that appears in a local search. Instead, it is recommended you do your research when selecting an attorney to help you clear your record. Start by asking for recommendations from friends and family, then review the candidates listed to find a good fit.
When contacting potential attorneys, ask about their experience with getting convictions like yours expunged. If they have had success in the past with similar clients, the attorney may be a good fit for you. You may also want to browse client reviews and testimonials to see how past clients describe their experiences with the attorneys you are considering.
For those needing an expert expungement attorney in Lake Tahoe, CA, the Law Office of Conor Bell has years of experience with expungement cases. We have successfully helped many Californians clear their criminal records.
A: This can vary widely, but a typical timeframe for expungement of a felony charge is about four months in California. This includes the time it takes to get your felony charge reduced to a misdemeanor, making it eligible for expungement. If your charge is already a misdemeanor, your petition may proceed more quickly. The help of an attorney can also speed up the process, as taking a do-it-yourself approach is more likely to lead to errors that require more time to fix.
A: No. A Certificate of Rehabilitation (COR) indicates you’ve been rehabilitated via a California court order after being convicted of a crime. The crime will remain on your criminal record, but a COR does make your record look a bit more favorable, as it demonstrates you’ve done work to rehabilitate after a conviction. An expungement, on the other hand, completely erases the conviction from your record.
A: Sealing a record does not clear any convictions from your record. The record still exists, but individual crimes won’t appear on most criminal background checks after sealing. Expungement deletes the record of the arrest or conviction as if it never occurred.
A: No. One of the main benefits of expungement is that you can legally state you have not been convicted of a crime because the crime will have been erased from your record. The criminal conviction will not appear if your employer or another organization completes a background check.
A: The cost of getting a conviction expunged from your record can vary widely depending on your case and the pricing structure of the legal counsel you obtain. Court fees must be paid with each filing. If you first need to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor, for example, there will be an additional cost. The current filing fee for expunging a misdemeanor case is $60.
The attorneys at the Law Office of Conor Bell are experienced with California expungement cases. We are ready to help you get a fresh start by clearing your criminal record. We understand the impact a criminal record can have on your day-to-day life, and our goal is to help you resume a fulfilling life after rehabilitation. If you’d like to discuss the possibility of clearing your record with a California expungement attorney, contact the Law Office of Conor Bell today to schedule a consultation.