Expungement in California
A criminal record follows wherever life takes you – through employment, education and financial applications, community involvement and more. Expungement of your criminal record can make employment in most cases easier. Responses to employment application questions, when you have been arrested and charged and/or convicted of a crime, are often times difficult questions to answer accurately and still retain your job. We can assist you with these questions.
Expungement is a legal process whereby the Court grants you permission to withdraw your previously entered guilty or no contest plea and substitute a new plea of “not guilty” in its place. The criminal case against you is then dismissed. This expungement process can clear most criminal convictions (with certain limited exceptions) from your record so that you can move your life forward and not be forever tainted by your past mistakes. This can also be particularly important for a past juvenile conviction. See below for our information on the sealing of your juvenile record.
Most misdemeanors and felony charges can be expunged. One call to our firm can solve this problem for you. Your life can resume without being hampered by your past.
This is not a do-it-yourself project, especially if you do not have the information readily available about your past case. Expungement petitions must be submitted in writing. Verbal assurances are meaningless. There is no such thing as an “automatic” expungement of arrest and conviction records. Specific conditions must be met before the expungement will be granted by the court.
Q. Can I have my expungement granted if I am on probation?
A. Generally not. An expungement motion will be denied if you are still on probation. But we can have your probation terminated and begin the expungement process sooner. Contact us to learn more.
Q. Can I get my conviction expunged if I no longer reside in the county or state where my conviction occurred, or do I have to travel back to California?
A. We can handle the whole process for you. Even if you don’t have all the specific information about your case, in most cases we can find it. Of course, knowing exact dates, charges and specific court locations helps the process move along more smoothly. You don’t have to be here for us to complete the expungement process. One call and we can handle it all.
TERMINATION OF YOUR PROBATION
You have been placed on probation for a reason. The Court wants to supervise you and your life. Almost all conditions of probation contain a catch-all condition directing you to “obey all laws”. To shorten your term of probation is to decrease your risk of being violated for a violation of your probation. Violations mean going back to court and sometimes to jail and/or prison. It also means time away from work and family, expenditure of money, worry and aggravation.
Why not try to terminate probation before bad things happen?
Remember, even relatively minor offenses can provide the basis for a Court to violate your probation.
What are some other reasons for terminating your grant of probation?
Did you know that you cannot expunge your record or begin the certificate of rehabilitation process until you are off probation?
If you are not a citizen and you want to obtain your green card or your citizenship, you cannot do this until you are off probation.
Being on probation may prevent you from taking advantage of employment opportunities.
FORMAL VERSUS SUMMARY PROBATION
In state court cases where probation is granted, there are two types of probation supervision: Formal Probation and Summary Probation
Summary or informal probation is a grant of probation where you are your own probation officer. You are not required to report to a probation officer in person or by mail; you are generally not required to drug test and there are no drop-in visits to your home.
Formal probation is different. It requires you to report, often times in person. You may be drug tested or subjected to drop-in visits to your residence by your probation officer.
Why not try to convert Formal Probation to Summary Probation? We may be able to help you. Contact us.
CERTIFICATE OF REHABILITATION AND PARDONS
If you have been convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanor sex offenses which have been expunged (Please refer to our EXPUNGEMENT SECTION above) and if you have not been incarcerated since the dismissal of your case and are not on probation for any other felony, you may be eligible for relief by filing a Petition for a Certificate of Rehabilitation and seek a Pardon.
Q. What makes you eligible for this type of relief?
A. First, you are not eligible to file a Petition for Rehabilitation until you have completed a period of rehabilitation. A period of rehabilitation consists of 5 years of residence in California plus an additional period of time. This additional period of time is determined according to the offense for which you were convicted. Remember: EVERY CASE IS DIFFERENT!
When we speak with you and become familiar with the facts of your case, we will be in a better position to tell you what period of rehabilitation you must show before filing the petition.
Q. What is rehabilitation?
A. Rehabilitation is demonstrated if, after release from prison or probation or parole, you have lived an honest and upright life, conducted yourself with sobriety and industry, exhibited a good moral character and conformed to and obeyed the laws.
Once you have met the requirement for rehabilitation, you are then eligible to file a Petition for Certificate of Rehabilitation.
After this Petition is filed, the court will hold a hearing. At that hearing, the court determines if your conduct has demonstrated rehabilitation and if you are fit to exercise all of the civil and political rights of citizenship. If the courts finds in your favor, the court may make an order declaring that you have been rehabilitated and recommend that the Governor grant you a full pardon.
Once a pardon is granted, based on a Certificate of Rehabilitation, the pardon entitles you to exercise all civil and political rights of citizenship, including the right to vote and the right to own any firearm that may lawfully be owned by other citizens. One major exception is the right to bear arms, which is not permitted if you have been convicted of a felony involving the use of a dangerous weapon.
PETITION FOR FACTUAL INNOCENCE
A Petition for Factual Innocence is not often granted by the Court. We have been successful in having them granted. Most cases are not the proper case for this type of relief.
If you have been arrested and you want the arrest deleted from your record, this petition may be right for you.
If you have been arrested and charged with a crime but not convicted and you want this information deleted from your record, you may wish to explore this approach with us.
If you have been arrested, tried and acquitted of a crime, if you are factually innocent of the charge, we may be able to have this information deleted from your record.
A Petition for Factual Innocence is a difficult petition to have granted. As we have stated, we have been successful in having these petitions granted. You must be able to prove you were factually innocent of the charges brought against you. The burden of proof in this process is on you to prove that you were innocent. Be aware there are time limitations that apply to this process.
THE JUVENILE SEALING PROCESS:
The process of sealing your child’s juvenile criminal record gives your son or daughter a fresh start. It allows you to keep those prying eyes from seeing your youth’s indiscretion at a time when they were young and immature. Hopefully this process will allow them to mature and take their rightful place as a productive member of our society without the baggage of a criminal past.
In most cases, armed with the facts you provide such as the court, the charges and case number, and biographical information about your child, we can conclude the sealing process without your presence at our office or even in court. At times, there may be a court hearing at the juvenile court. One fact is certain. Your child must have reached the age of 18 before the court will consider the sealing of his or her record.
At the Law Offices of Ronald A. Ziff, we take a hands-on, personal approach with our clients. Your case will be handled by Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, Ronald Ziff, or California criminal appellate attorney, Abby Klein—not handed down to an associate attorney with less experience. The firm’s outstanding philosophy, combined with individual client care, is reflected in the positive results consistently earned.
For more information about Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, Ronald Ziff, or California criminal appellate attorney, Abby Klein, please contact us today.
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