Expungement is a legal process whereby certain convictions can be dismissed and your criminal record cleared- just as if the conviction never took place. A judge will reopen your case, you will enter a new plea of “not guilty” and the judge will dismiss your case. You will then be furnished with a signed order by a California Superior Court judge dismissing your conviction and vacating your case.
The following article provides additional answers to some commonly asked questions concerning the expungement process in California.
How Can I Qualify for Expungement?
The primary qualification is successful completion of probation without any violations, subsequent arrests, or pending charges. Violating your parole certainly makes expungement more complex, but not impossible.
Can I Have a Felony Expunged or Reduced?
Yes. But not all felony convictions are eligible for expungement. If you served time in a California state prison, you cannot have your conviction expunged. If you have a conviction for a wobbler- a crime that can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor- the felony conviction can typically be reduced to a misdemeanor.
What Are the Benefits to Expunging a Conviction?
There are many benefits to obtaining a California expungement. Most notably, these benefits include helping you secure a new or better job. Employers cannot discriminate against you for involvement in an arrest that did not result in a conviction, or for having a conviction expunged. Additionally, you may be able to avoid deportation if you are an immigrant.
How Long Does the Expungement Process Take?
Many times, your petition can be prepared and filed within 48 hours. Depending on how quickly the court works, it generally takes about 45 days to receive a ruling.
How Much Does an Expungement Cost?
The fee varies depending on the county in which you were convicted and whether or not you were convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony. Financial assistance is available to those who may need it.
After Expungement Will I be Able to Say “No” When Asked If I Have a Criminal Record?
In most cases, yes. On job applications for private employers, you will be able to say you’ve never had a conviction. Expungement will have no effect on applications submitted for state license and certain government jobs, including working as a peace officer, holding public office, and jobs with the California Lottery Commission.
What are the Limitations of a California Expungement?
An expungement will not overturn a driver’s license suspension or revocation, and will still allow a DUI conviction to count as a “strike” against your record. An expungement will not restore your gun rights or affect your obligation to register as a sex offender. An experienced California expungement attorney can suggest other forms of post-conviction relief for certain crimes.
Contact Our Oakland Expungement Lawyers
At the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed, we have helped numerous individuals and families throughout the Bay Area regain their freedom again after a criminal conviction. Through record expungement, our Oakland criminal defense lawyer may be able to help you. Give us a call today!