If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor in California, you may think that this will follow you on your criminal record for years to come. Will it affect your ability to get a job, move into an apartment, or another basic human process that we all go through? Under California Penal Code 1203.4, you may be able to go through a legal process known as “expungement,” which will help you clean up your record and get a fresh start. When you ask the courts to expunge your record, you are asking them to:
- Reopen a criminal case.
- Get your conviction dismissed.
- Get the court to close the case once again.
Receiving an expungement will give you another chance at life even after you have committed a crime, as many parties will no longer recognize it. Your conviction will be set aside, which will allow you to honestly state to an employer, landlord, or creditor that you do not have a criminal conviction. Once your record goes through the expungement process, the conviction can only be used if you are arrested in the future for a new criminal activity and can serve as a way of evidence that it was not the only crime you committed in the past.
Why Should I Understand Expungement If I Have Previously Been Convicted?
It is a scary fact to learn that many criminal convictions are actually available to the public, so anybody who wants to have that information in their hands can legally have it. In some states, expungement stands in as a way to erase a criminal record. However, in California, there are restrictions – you cannot entirely erase a criminal record from public view. The expungement will serve as a way to reopen your case, the guilty plea or verdict will be withdrawn, and the charges will be dismissed. The new disposition will then read “dismissed in the interests of Justice.” The last thing that you should know is that, if you expunge a misdemeanor conviction that included a DUI offense, the conviction will not overturn a driver’s license revocation. If you have served any time in state prison, the crime will not be expunged. If you have had a serious vehicle code violation offense, the crime will not be expunged. And lastly, if you have committed a serious sex offense, the record will not be expunged either.
Working Toward the Expungement Process
If you are eligible and want to go through the expungement process, you must obtain a copy of your criminal record from the court or the California Department of Justice. Then, you must submit the Judicial Council form called the “Petition for Dismissal” also known as CR-180. The petition must be filed in the county where you were convicted in California and the court filing fee will cost somewhere between $60-$120. Here are some things that you must know:
- Your case number
- Your date of conviction
- The code name and section number you were convicted of violating
- Whether or not there was a verdict or plea entering
- Whether or not you served time on probation
- Whether or not you were ordered to pay any fines, restitution or reimbursement
- Whether or not you were sentenced to state prison
- What date you were released from state prison
- What date your parole ended
If you have been convicted of a crime in California but not wish to have it expunged, you should know and understand the process. We can help you get started from the very beginning and make your case. Call The Law Office of Peter Blair today for more information.