As you probably already know, expungement is the process of reopening your criminal proceeding and getting your conviction dismissed. This, in short, allows you to tell people like landlords and potential employers that you have not been convicted of a crime, because technically it was ‘wiped’ from your record. However, you may have questions about whether or not you are eligible for the process. You can now find the answers to your questions and so many more.
California calls the expungement process more of a “dismissal.” This means that your case will show a dismissal and not a conviction if somebody like law enforcement gets ahold of it. But how do you know if you qualify for a dismissal? First, ask yourself, “Was I convicted of an infraction, a misdemeanor, or a felony and was I never sentenced to state prison or put under the authority of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation?” If so, then you can petition for a dismissal. This means that, at some point in the process, you were given time in county jail, probation, a fine, or a combination of the three. If you petition for a dismissal under these requirements, then the court will withdraw your guilty or no contest plea and enter a not guilty plea. The court will then set aside and dismiss the conviction. From that point forward, you will not be seen as convicted and your record will be changed to show a dismissal.
Here is an easy-to-understand list of options that you have depending on your particular case:
- Convicted of a misdemeanor but still on probation: Request early release from probation and file a petition to have your conviction dismissed.
- Convicted of a misdemeanor but successfully completed probation: File a petition to have the conviction dismissed.
- Convicted of a misdemeanor but never given probation: File a petition to have the conviction dismissed.
- Convicted of a felony and are still on probation: Request early release from probation. Then, file a petition to have the conviction reduced to a misdemeanor and also dismissed.
- Convicted of a felony and are done with probation or county jail time: File a petition to have the conviction reduced and dismissed.
- Convicted of a felony but were never given probation and were sentenced to county jail: File a petition to have the felony reduced to a misdemeanor. Then, file a petition to have the conviction dismissed.
- Convicted of a felony and sentenced to state prison or put under authority of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation: File a petition for a certificate of rehabilitation and pardon.
You should also be aware that your case falls in certain exceptions as well, meaning you will not be able to file for expungement. If you served time in a state prison in California, you will not be able to have your record expunged. It is only available to those who were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony that could have been charged as a misdemeanor. The offenses in which you cannot expunge under any circumstances are sexual crimes involving a child and statutory rape. When you have made a determination of whether or not you fall within the requirements, you should speak to an attorney who specializes in expungement. Call The Law Office of Peter Blair today and find out if you have a case.