Expungement lawyers can help you build a better future for you and your family.
My name is Attorney Paul Denni, and I’m an expungement lawyer serving the communities of Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego and Riverside.
If you have a criminal conviction in one of these communities and would like to know from an experienced lawyer whether you qualify, you can contact me below for a free consultation.
Expungement Lawyers Explain What an Expungement Is
In this article I discuss an expungement as it pertains to California law only.
We get contacted by a lot of people seeking an “expungement,” before they really understand what an expungement is.
That’s why I feel it’s important to be very clear about what an expungement is, how it can help you, if you are eligible, and the process for obtaining this relief in court.
An expungement in California is a legal means which allows you to move forward in life, without being limited by a past criminal conviction.
The legal grounds for an expungement is found in the California Penal Code, the body of law that governs criminal offenses in California.
California Penal Code 1203.4 is the main code section that deals with expungements. Under PC 1203.4, a criminal conviction can be dismissed from your criminal record.
An Expungement Does Not Seal Your Record
Many people mistakenly believe an expungement will completely seal your record, making it undiscoverable when a criminal background search is performed.
This is incorrect. It is possible to seal your criminal record, making it undiscoverable, but this remedy is only available in very limited circumstances, such as:
- You can seal most juvenile records.
- You can seal a drug conviction when rehabilitation has been completed under PC 1000.
- You can seal an arrest record where the arrest didn’t result in a conviction.
An expungement, on the other hand, cleans up your record once someone discovers it, rather than making it undiscoverable altogether.
So then, why would you want to get a case expunged? Read on to learn more.
Expungement Lawyers Explain the Benefits of an Expungement
Although an expungement will not seal your record, as described above, it does offer several benefits.
The law explicitly says under Penal Code 1203.4 that when your conviction is expunged, you will be released of “all penalties and liabilities” of the offense.
An Expungement Will Open Up Employment Opportunities
The main “penalty and liability” experienced by most people who have received a criminal conviction involves the inability to find employment.
Employers routinely conduct criminal background checks before hiring employees. As mentioned above, an expungement does not seal your criminal record.
However, if an employer views your criminal background after you have obtained an expungement, the employer will see that the offense has been dismissed under Penal Code 1203.4.
The reason this is relevant is because employers are prohibited, under California Labor Code 432.7, from making employment decisions based on a criminal conviction that has been expunged under PC 1203.4.
“Employment decisions” include:
- internship opportunities, and
Essentially what this means is, if you have had your criminal conviction expunged, an employer can’t use that to take any adverse action against you.
How Expungement Lawyers Get Your Record Expunged
Familiarity with Local Court Rules
The process for obtaining an expungement is not always cut and dried. Local court rules and procedures apply to every case, and vary from county to county across California.
My law firm employs a team of expungement lawyers throughout Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, and Riverside.
We are experienced in each of the courthouses within these counties, and familiar with all of the local court rules.
Unfortunately, not every criminal conviction is eligible for an expungement.
Although felony and misdemeanor cases may both be expunged, if you served time in prison (or time in jail under AB 109 re-alignment) on a felony case, this will render your case ineligible for a felony expungement.
However, if you served time in jail versus State prison, you are still eligible for an expungement.
Another barrier to applying for an expungement is the nature of the offense. As mentioned above, misdemeanors and felonies alike can be expunged.
However, there are certain types of misdemeanor and felony cases that cannot be expunged, regardless of whether or not you spent time in prison.
Most of the offenses that cannot be expunged are sex offenses involving minors.
A major barrier you may face when seeking expungement is currently serving a probation sentence, which also makes you ineligible for expungement.
However, you can seek early termination of probation with the Court as a stepping stone to obtaining your expungement.
If you would like a free consultation regarding whether you qualify for an expungement, click the contact button at the bottom of this article.
Timeframe and Process for Getting an Expungement
The process to obtain an expungement usually takes between 30-60 days, depending on the court and depending on the current caseload of that courthouse.
The timeframe really depends on whether a court appearance is required (sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t) and it also depends on how long it takes the judge to rule on your case.
The process of getting an expungement includes:
- Properly drafting your motion in accordance with State law and local court rules.
- Proper service on opposing counsel (the District Attorney or City Attorney).
- Argument in front of the judge and against opposing counsel, in some cases.
- Convincing the court to rule in your favor
As expungement lawyers, we can take all of the pressure and stress off of your shoulders and handle your case for you from start to finish, as explained below.
How Expungement Lawyers Can Help You
As expungement lawyers, we dot every “i” and cross every “t” when representing you on your case.
This means we are detail oriented and apply our knowledge of local court rules (as mentioned above) in order to ensure the maximum chance of success on your case.
Many of our clients come to our firm for help after trying to achieve an expunged misdemeanor on their own but have given up on the process due to frustration or lack of knowledge.
If your motion is filed incorrectly, or if it is not accurate or thorough, the court may reject it or deny it.
At worst, this means you have lost all chances to get your motion granted and obtain the relief you are seeking.
At best, your motion could be returned or denied and the court can order you to re-file it. This in turn can cause delay in your job search, in the case where you are seeking an expungement for employment purposes – which is usually the case!
For help with your expungement, you can speak with me personally for a free consultation by below.