Conviction of a crime often has many more consequences than one might expect. When an individual is actually convicted of the accusation made against them, the offense will put on their record. Potential employers will then be able to access this information. Carrying a criminal record often leads to an unfair prejudice against that person, which makes a job search extremely difficult and even impossible in some cases. Unfortunately, having a job is often the best way to demonstrate to society that you are in fact a productive member of the community. You may be questioning, ‘How can I avoid such prejudice?’ Our legal system has in place a way for you to escape the never ending repercussions of your past actions: expungement.
Expungement involves the sealing your records so that access is no longer allowed through state or federal repositories. A repository of this nature is a database that is used to track criminals. California state law states that as long as a defendant has met the conditions of their probation, they can be allowed a certain level of relief. This can come through withdrawing their plea of no contest or guilt and then plead not guilty. If the person was convicted after a plea of not guilty, that verdict will be set aside.
If either of these two situations occur, the court will dismiss all information and the accusation, which would in turn release the individual of all penalties. Any defendant that was convicted of a misdemeanor or infraction and did not have a probation period can petition for relief one year after the court’s judgment. Should you choose to petition for dismissal, it is necessary that you fill out the proper form. Those who petition for their records to be sealed need reimburse the court for the cost of this service which can cost up to $150.
LOOKING TO APPLY?
You must first be sure that you meet all eligibility requirements before petitioning for expungement or dismissal. If you received probation after your conviction, you can qualify if you have fully completed your probationary term and all its requirements. Furthermore, you must not have any other criminal convictions since the time of the incident you are wishing to have sealed. If you did not have a probation sentence, you must satisfy a one-year waiting period with no incident. Furthermore, you must not have too many criminal incidents that happened prior to the specific incident you are trying to cover. The conviction in question must not be too serious, such as rape, sexual battery, or felonies that are committed against an individual under the age of 18.
Living under the shadow of a criminal record is intolerable. If you are looking to apply and are wondering if you meet all qualification requirements, your first step should be to call a criminal defense attorney. At Okabe & Haushalter, we can help walk you through this process. California’s laws concerning the expungement process can quickly become confusing. We know how important it is to get your records sealed as soon as possible. That is why we work quickly and aggressively to have your case brought to the attention of a judge. The sooner you can remove your guilty plea or have your verdict set aside, the sooner you can get back to living a normal life. If you have any questions about this process, feel free to contact one of our attorneys. As one of Los Angeles’ premier criminal defense teams, we will not rest until we have exhausted every avenue to have your records sealed.