Being convicted of a crime in California can result in serious professional and personal consequences. Such consequences include having to disclose your criminal history to landlords and employers. Fortunately, we can help you expunge your California criminal record.
At San Diego Esquire, we provide legal document preparation services to people who have been convicted of a crime in California. We will help draft and file and the documents you need to have your criminal history record expunged. Read on to learn more about the California criminal record expungement process.
California Criminal Record Expungement Process
The California criminal record expungement process is relatively straightforward. Expunging your criminal record results in your felony conviction being withdrawn and being replaced with a non-guilty plea. Once entered, the charge against you is dismissed.
You must meet the following criteria to qualify to have your criminal record expunged in California:
- You must complete probation or qualify for early termination of probation
- You must satisfy all of your sentence requirements such as serving community service
- You must refrain from being charged with another criminal offense
- You must have been convicted of a crime in state court
- All court fines have been paid in full
- Your crime was a misdemeanor or felony that could have been charged as a misdemeanor
If you served time in prison as a result of a felony conviction you will not qualify to have your criminal record expunged absent a new state law. Crimes such as the following cannot be expunged:
- Child pornography crimes
- Sexual assault crimes
- Committing lewd acts with a minor
- Failure to submit to a police inspection of a vehicle
Once you determine that you qualify, obtain your criminal history record. You can obtain a copy of your criminal history record from the court clerk in which your conviction occurred. You can also obtain a Department of Justice criminal history record for a comprehensive overview. This record is commonly requested by employers.
How to Expunge Your Criminal Record in California
The type of expungement petition you file will depend on whether you were convicted of a misdemeanor or a wobbler felony. If you completed probation, you can file a Petition for Dismissal under PC section 1203.4. If probation was not ordered (misdemeanor), file a Petition for Dismissal under PC section 123.4a. If you served time and County jail and completed probation, file a Petition under PC section 17(b)(3) to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor and Petition for Dismissal under PC section 1203.4.
Use the following forms to expunge your conviction:
Attach a declaration detailing why you would like the judge to expunge your criminal record. File your completed forms in the county in which the conviction occurred. You must serve your filed forms with the local District Attorney and Probation Department.
You can only dismiss one conviction at a time. You must file a petition for each conviction you would like to have dismissed. The court may or may not schedule a hearing. The petition may be automatically granted so long as you have met all of the requirements.
If your petition is denied, ask the judge what you can do to have the conviction expunged. You may re-file your petition within 3 to 6 months after you have implemented the judge’s recommendations.
California Criminal Record Expungement Costs
Most courts charge anywhere between $100 to $400 in filing fees for criminal record expungment. Our affordable legal document preparation services starts at $395.
Criminal Record Dismissal Benefits
Once your criminal record is expunged (dismissed), you can refrain from disclosing a conviction that was dismissed to an employer or landlord. Another benefit of having your criminal record expunged is that you will be able to own firearms, obtain a government position, and potentially run for public office. Note, an expungement does not remove the conviction from your criminal history. The conviction and subsequent dismissal will still appear on your record. The conviction can also be considered as a prior offense if you are facing new charges. Employers cannot ask about arrest that did not result in a guilty verdict.
Once the conviction is expunged, it will appear as an arrest on your criminal record which did not result in a criminal conviction. When applying for government positions, you may want to state that you were charged for a crime but it was dismissed in the interest of justice.
Contact San Diego Esquire for our affordable legal document preparation services. We can complete the forms you need to expunge your record in addition to assisting you in drafting a declaration.