Understanding California Criminal Record Expungement Eligibility

There are few things in life that can haunt you as long as a criminal record. One mistake can wreak havoc on your life for years to come. In California, residents who have been convicted of certain crimes may be able to move past their crime through a petition for dismissal — this process is commonly referred to as an expungement. Not all convictions are eligible for expungement; but if you do have a charge that qualifies, this process can offer peace of mind and eliminate professional and personal barriers that a criminal record could create.  

What is expungement?

Typically an expungement is a legal process whereby certain criminal offenses can be erased from your record if specific qualifying criteria are met. In California, expungements are actually petitions for dismissal and are addressed in Penal Code 1203.4. An expungement in California does not erase the conviction from your record; instead, your record will be noted that the charge has been dismissed.

Notwithstanding, many clients benefit from the peace of mind that this process brings them as well as the practical benefits they receive. If a criminal offense is dismissed from your record, you will not have to disclose the crime on most job applications. It can also be the first step towards obtaining a certificate of rehabilitation or a pardon, if your offense was a felony. Overall, expungement allows you to move past some of the barriers that come into effect when a criminal record exists.

Although expungements can make a client’s life better, it is not a magic solution. There are some things that an expungement can’t do for a client.  These include:

  • Completely remove the charge from your record
  • Reinstate your right to possess firearms
  • Prevent you from having to register as a sex offender
  • Prevent the conviction from being counted as a “prior” in future sentencing
  • Prevent the conviction from impacting your immigration status

Who qualifies for expungement?

There are very specific criteria that must be met for a California resident to have a charge expunged from their record. Your record may be eligible for expungement if:

  • You were given probation for your offense and have since completed all the terms of your probation and you are not serving a sentence or currently on probation for any other offense
  • You were denied probation, but have waited a year after your conviction before applying for expungement and are not currently serving a sentence or on probation for any other offense
  • Your criminal conviction was reduced to an infraction

Let our criminal defense team help you get a fresh start

At the Nieves Law Firm, we understand that expungement can help you move past old mistakes and start fresh again. That’s why we offer our clients a dedicated team who can guide you through the process of expunging your criminal record in California. For your free consultation, please contact us online at www.thenieveslawfirm.com or by telephone at (510) 779-2082.

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