Thrust into a life of abuse, isolation, and pain, there are really no words describe the misery and hardship experienced by a victim of human trafficking.
To add insult to injury, many human trafficking victims have been convicted of a crime under Penal Code 647(b) for solicitation or prostitution.
As expungement lawyers, we aim to help serve this particularly sensitive population of victims of human trafficking by offering discounted expungement services to help you clear your criminal record.
Although solicitation or prostitution is technically a crime under Penal Code 647(b), fortunately California law has recognized the injustice of allowing these convictions to wreak havoc on the future of those convicted under this section.
If you or someone you know was convicted of solicitation or prostitution under Penal Code 647(b), you may be entitled to an “expungement” (record dismissal) of this conviction under Penal Code 1203.49, if you can establish your conviction was the result of being a victim of human trafficking.
Human Trafficking Victims: Get Your Criminal Record Expunged
Penal Code 647(b) makes it a misdemeanor offense to:
- agree to engage in; or
- engage in
any act of prostitution with the intent to receive compensation (money or anything of value) from another person.
A misdemeanor is punishable by time in jail and/ or fines. But once you’ve been convicted and served your sentence, you are still left with a misdemeanor on your criminal record, which can make it difficult to find a good job.
Fortunately, you can clear your criminal conviction for prostitution or solicitation from your criminal record by getting the case expunged. An expungement attorney can help you file this motion to clear your criminal record.
Under California Penal Code 1203.49, you can have your criminal record cleared if:
- You have completed probation; and
- You can establish by clear and convincing evidence the conviction was a result of your status as a victim of human trafficking.
Once you establish this, the Court can order you the relief entitled under Penal Code 1203.4 (the general expungement law).
Signs of human trafficking can include (but are not limited to):
- you were not free to leave;
- you were under 18 and engaged in commercial sex acts;
- you were over 18 but not paid for your services, or were paid very little;
- you worked excessive, long, and/ or unusual hours;
- you were recruited by false promises that turned out not to be true;
- you were transported against your will under covert circumstances (no windows, etc.).
The Benefit of Expunging Your Solicitation or Prostitution Conviction
As mentioned above, if you fulfill the requirements of PC 1203.49, you are entitled to the relief under PC 1203.4. PC 1203.4 allows you several benefits:
- the Department of Justice record is updated to indicate your conviction is dismissed;
- you don’t have to disclose the conviction if asked about it by an employer (there are however 3 exceptions to this rule); and
- an employer cannot discriminate against you (i.e. hire, fire, or fail to promote you) due to your past criminal conviction.
There are only three situations when you have to disclose an expunged conviction if asked about it, which are:
- You are applying for State licensure;
- You are contracting with the California State Lottery Commission;
- You are applying for public office.
In all other situations, however, you have the right not to disclose an expunged conviction if asked about. This includes orally in an interview, or in written form (such as on an employment application).
In order to grant your motion, the Court is instructed by Penal Code 236.14 to ensure:
- You were a victim of human trafficking at the time the nonviolent crime was committed;
- The commission of the crime was a direct result of being a victim of human trafficking;
- You are making a good faith effort to distance yourself from the human trafficking scheme; and
- It is in your best interest and in the interest of justice to grant your motion.
Assuming all of the above can be proven in court, you can get your criminal record expunged.
We Offer Discounted Expungement Services for Victims of Human Trafficking
If you believe you were a victim of human trafficking when you received your conviction under Penal Code 647(b), we offer a $200 discount on expungement services to get your record expunged.
To take advantage of this opportunity, you can reach me personally (Attorney Paul Denni) for a free consultation here: