Good news arrived in early October 2016 for anyone that’s been wrongfully convicted of a crime in California. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the governor signed into law a measure that would make it easier to overturn wrongful convictions. When the law becomes effective next year, it will open the door to challenge the results of a criminal case in the event that new evidence would change the outcome. If successful, a person could overturn a conviction and have it removed from their criminal record.
However, it’s possible to clear a conviction from your past history even if the result was proper under the law. With the assistance of a California expungement attorney, you may be able to clean up your record and take advantage of opportunities previously denied to you.
Expungements in California
The process of removing all public traces of a conviction from your criminal record is known as expungement, which involves requesting a court to:
· Re-open your criminal case;
· Remove your guilty plea;
· Enter an order containing a permanent plea of not guilty;
· Dismiss all criminal charges in the relevant case; and,
· Closing the case without a conviction appearing on your record.
Factors to Determine Eligibility
There are different factors that will determine whether or not you qualify to apply for an expungement of a criminal conviction. You may be eligible if you were convicted of either a misdemeanor or a felony, and:
· A condition of your conviction was probation;
· You completed all terms of your probation;
· You are not on probation for another, unrelated crime;
· You are not facing charges in an a current, unrelated case; and,
· You have paid all fines and restitution in the case, if any.
However, even if you do qualify under the above factors, there are certain circumstances that make you ineligible for expungement. If you’ve been convicted of certain sex crimes, violent offenses, crimes involving firearms, or driving violations, you cannot take advantage of expungement proceedings in California.
Benefits of the New Law
One of the primary advantages to having expungement is peace of mind, knowing that your criminal record is clear of the conviction in question. In addition, you it may be easier to get a job in your chosen field, because there are certain employers that will conduct a background check to determine your history. If your profession requires a license that you cannot apply for because of a criminal conviction, you may be able to obtain the appropriate credentials when your record is clear.
Expungements may enable you to wipe clean your conviction history, giving you access to jobs, allowing you to obtain a professional license, and providing other opportunities that you may not enjoy with a criminal record. However, the expungement proceeding is very complicated and even a slight error can result in a denial. It’s important to retain a qualified criminal defense attorney with extensive experience in expungement actions to ensure protection of your rights. Contact a qualified criminal attorney in San Diego to discuss the specifics of your matter and see if expungement is an option for you.
Ozols Law Firm
8880 Rio San Diego Dr. #22
San Diego, CA