If you have ever been charged with a criminal offense, you probably heard that a dismissal is the best possible outcome. Dismissals usually occur before a person is convicted of a crime. The judge may dismiss the charges against a person due to lack of evidence or the prosecutor’s lack of desire to proceed with the case. This dismissal is preferable because no plea, whether guilty or not guilty, is on the court record, and no conviction ultimately results. An expungement, however, is a procedure in which the charges against you are dismissed after a conviction and the case is closed without reflecting a conviction. People may want to expunge their records to further their education, keep their jobs, or apply for new ones.
Checking the Box: The Criminal Conviction Application Question
Perhaps the most common reason people want the court record to reflect no conviction is so they can truthfully answer “no” to the question of whether or not they have been convicted of a criminal offense. An expungement allows people to be freed of the mistake they made in the past, and move forward with a clean slate. Even though reform movements throughout the country, including California, are working toward removing the question from initial employment applications altogether, a criminal conviction can still be an obstacle for those with prior convictions seeking employment. At this time, most California employers cannot ask about an arrest that did not end in a conviction.
Even when expungements are accomplished, getting criminal history reporting agencies to properly remove the record of your conviction from a criminal database can be difficult. The Wall Street Journal recently reported an increase in background screening service inaccuracies. The chances of problems with reporting are increased when expungements are not completed correctly by attorneys and through the court systems. Expungement proceedings are based upon a showing to the court that a person has been rehabilitated. Some considerations when determining whether to grant an expungement include:
- Resumes and work history since your conviction,
- Letters of character from employers, friends, and familyPay stubs,
- Other things demonstrating positive change and progression since your conviction
It is important to understand that expunging your criminal record is not a right. It is also critical to recognize that not all people are eligible for expungement and not all types of crimes can be expunged. Most misdemeanors and some felonies are eligible for expungement, so long as probationary terms have been successfully completed, fines have been paid, and you have not been charged with any subsequent offenses. Most violent offenses, and some driving and firearm offenses, are not eligible for expungement.
San Diego Expungement Attorney
If you or anyone you know has been charged with a criminal offense, expunging your criminal record is the best way to ensure a clean slate going forward. At Ozols Law Firm, we understand that everyone makes mistakes. We will zealously advocate on your behalf to ensure the best possible outcome.
We are experienced criminal expungement attorneys that have the knowledge necessary to expunge your records expeditiously, accurately, and for a reasonable price. Please call our San Diego office at (619) 288-8357 for a free consultation so we can discuss how to help you move forward.
Ozols Law Firm
8880 Rio San Diego Dr #22
San Diego, CA 92108