Can I get my criminal record expunged?

It used to be that the only persons who would ever see your criminal record would be police officers other members of law enforcement. But today many other individuals are conducting intrusive background searches into others criminal histories. Employers, for example, are regularly running background checks before hiring an individual. So are licensing agencies and even professional organizations.

Criminal records have always been public information and available to anyone willing to sift through them. Technology, however, has made that daunting task much easier—taking only seconds. Companies have indexed the information so that now all anyone needs is your name and date of birth.

Therefore, before searching for your next job, you may want to expunge your record. California has some of the strictest laws when it comes to what an employer is allowed to use when making a hiring a decision. When you get a misdemeanor or felony conviction expunged, a potential employer cannot use it against you when making a hiring decision, or even ask you about it in an interview or on an application.

California Penal Code 1203.4 states that once an individual’s criminal record is expunged, the person is released from “all penalties and disabilities” arising out of that conviction. You essentially get a fresh start.

If you have successfully completed probation and are not currently charged with a criminal offense, on probation, or serving a sentence for a criminal offense, you may be eligible for an expungement of a your misdemeanor or felony criminal offense. There are, however, certain convictions that cannot be expunged. These include serious sex offenses committed against children and convictions in which you were sent to state prison.

Expungement requires that you’ve successfully completed your probation. This means that you’ve paid all of your fines, completed community service if applicable, completed counseling programs if ordered, attended all required court appearances, and did not commit any new crimes while on probation. But even if you violated your probation, you may still be able to get an expungement. The court may hold a special hearing to determine if you are a candidate for expungement. It will consider your overall performance while on probation, the seriousness of the offense you wish to have expunged, and your criminal history. You may also present other evidence to show why you should be granted an expungement such as job opportunities, family support, and strong community involvement.

While an expungement has significant benefits, especially when you apply for a job or a professional license, there are some things it cannot do. If you’ve had your driver’s license suspended or revoked, that won’t change. And you won’t be able to restore any gun rights that have been taking away. Expunged convictions may also still be used as prior convictions to enhance sentencing if you are convicted of another crime.

Ozols Law Firm
8880 Rio San Diego Dr #22
San Diego, CA 92108
(619) 288-8357