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A criminal record can have serious consequences for your employment and personal life. Unless expunged, a criminal conviction remains on your record forever. Fortunately, there are several ways to petition the courts to seal, destroy or dismiss an arrest record or criminal conviction. Our office can help with the paperwork, and advise of what is required of you to be eligible for an expungement.
FINDING OF FACTUAL INNOCENCE
If you were arrested but not convicted of a crime, you may petition the court to seal and destroy your arrest record. Our attorney can petition the court and ask the judge for finding of factual innocence. Because there is a lower standard of proof that must be shown to justify an arrest, versus a high standard of proof for a conviction at trial, for the judge to grant a petition it must be shown that there was no basis for the arrest. If the petition is granted, the arrest record is sealed and destroyed. This will allow you to truthfully tell potential employers, licensing boards and others that you have never been arrested.
If you were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony but never served time in state prison, you’re eligible for a dismissal of your conviction. You must have completed any probation, restitution or other requirements of your sentence; not be facing any new charges or completing probation on other charges; or, if you never had probation, it must have been at least a year since your sentence. The only crimes you may not have dismissed are certain convictions for sex offenses and a limited number of Vehicle Code violations. Having your conviction expunged may allow you to truthfully state to prospective employers that you have not been convicted, however there are certain exceptions where you still must disclose the conviction regardless of expungement. Expungements do not alter other consequences of convictions such as firearm restrictions.
CERTIFICATE OF REHABILITATION
If you did serve time in state prison, or were convicted of certain sex crimes, you may be eligible for a certificate of rehabilitation. This is a document from the court that says you’ve been rehabilitated. If it is granted, it will be taken into account in state licensing decisions; it relieves some types of sex offenders from the requirement to register when they move; and it automatically becomes a petition for a pardon from the governor. In order to get a certificate of rehabilitation, you must have lived in California for three to five years before applying, and you must have a clean record for a significant period since your release, generally seven years. You may also directly request a Governor's Pardon (pretty tough to get).
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