Record Expungement: Cleaning Up Your Criminal Record in Southern California
We understand that having a California criminal record can be overbearing on many aspects of your life. You shouldn’t have to continue to pay for the mistakes you made in the past. This is why you should strongly consider cleaning up your criminal record. Cleaning up your criminal record can release a heavy weight from your shoulders in order to help you reach your goals. In order to clear your record, you will need to hire an experienced attorney in this field. At Wallin and Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience handling all types of cases, most of which involved clearing the criminal record of the previously convicted.
The Effects of a Criminal Record on Your Life
A criminal conviction that appears on your record can have long-lasting effects on your life. For example, you will have difficulty finding employment because many employers conduct a background check to determine the extent of your criminal record.
Having a criminal conviction on your record is an immediate “red flag” for employers. Even if the conviction is for a minor offense, your prospective employer may choose not to hire you solely because of a criminal conviction. Although you may never find out why you were not hired for the job you have applied for, , there is a good chance that the “real reason” is due to your prior criminal record.
Your criminal record may also make it difficult for you to obtain a mortgage or credit card. Since mortgage and credit card lenders must assess the trustworthiness of a borrower, they often conduct background checks on their prospective borrowers. A criminal conviction indicates that you may not be a trustworthy borrower. Lenders are usually cautious when giving a loan to a person with a criminal conviction on his or her record. Therefore, many individuals who have criminal records are denied loans and credit cards.
Your Personal Life
Furthermore, having a criminal record can negatively affect your personal life. Often times, a criminal record will damage an individual’s reputation. You may be shunned or looked down upon by your community because of your conviction. In addition, if you are applying to a university, the admissions office of the university may also conduct a background check and find your criminal record. You may be denied admission to your dream school because of your criminal record.
How to Clean Up Your Southern California Criminal Record
Although a criminal record can have negative consequences, there are several ways that you can seal, destroy, or dismiss a conviction on your criminal record in California. A Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney may be able to help you in cleaning up your criminal record so you can move on with your life. Your Wallin & Klarich attorney can advise as to the eligibility requirements to cleaning up your criminal record. Your Wallin and Klarich lawyer can prepare the proper documentation for your case and appear in court on your behalf. Our experienced lawyers are ready to begin to help you with cleaning up your criminal record now.
Here are several ways in which you can clear your criminal record:
Factual Innocence Motion (Penal Code section 851.8)[i]
An individual may petition a court to seal and destroy his or her criminal record if the individual was improperly accused of a criminal offense. You may have been improperly accused of a criminal offense if:
- You were arrested, but no charges were formally filed;
- Charges were initially filed against you, but subsequently dismissed; OR
- Your case went to trial, but you were found not guilty by the court or a jury.
Your Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney can help you file a motion of factual innocence. If the motion is successful and the judge determines that you are factually innocent of the charges or accusations made against you, the court will issue an order to seal and destroy your criminal record. This court order will effectively wipe your criminal record clean.
Expungement (Penal Code section 1203.4)[ii]
To be eligible for an expungement in California, you must not have served a state prison sentence. This means that you may be eligible for cleaning up your criminal record through an expungement if you were sentenced to county jail, probation, a fine, or a combination of these sentences. If you were granted probation as a part of your sentence, you must comply with all of your probation terms and successfully complete your probation in order to be eligible for an expungement.
Your Wallin & Klarich California expungement attorney may be able to help you in cleaning up your criminal record and set aside your conviction with an expungement. If the court decides to grant the expungement, you will be allowed to withdraw your previous guilty plea and the judge will dismiss your case. Once your expungement has been granted, you do not have to disclose to a potential employer that you had been convicted of a crime.
However, there are certain offenses where you will not be able to get your record expunged. Some of the offenses where you are not eligible for an expungement include sodomy with a minor, lewd or lascivious acts with a minor, and oral copulation with a minor.
Modification or Termination of your Probation (Penal Code section 1203.3)[iii]
If you are currently on probation, your Wallin & Klarich expungement attorney may be able request a modification of your probation in order to help you obtain an expungement. Under California Penal Code section 1203.3, the court may revoke, modify, or change the terms of your probation order at any time during the term of probation. This includes the ability to terminate your probation term early.
If you are still serving your probation sentence, you will be unable to obtain an expungement. However, your Wallin & Klarich attorney can request that your probation be terminated early in order to get your record expunged.
Governor’s Pardon (Penal Code section 4800)
Even if you do not qualify for an expungement, we may be able to help you in cleaning up your criminal record by seeking a Governor’s Pardon. (Cal. Penal Code section 1203.4(g)). A Governor’s Pardon is issued by the Governor of the state of California. The pardon will restore certain rights to you that were taken away as a result of your conviction, such as your right to own a gun or your ability to obtain a professional license.
Obtaining a Governor’s Pardon is an important step to cleaning up your criminal record. A Governor’s Pardon will indicate that you have shown excellent behavior following your criminal conviction. However, you will not be eligible for a Governor’s Pardon if you committed the following offenses:
- Sodomy with a minor under 14 years old and more than 10 years younger than you (Penal Code section 286(c));
- Lewd or lascivious acts with a minor (Penal Code section 288);
- Oral copulation with a minor under 14 years old and more than 10 years younger than you (Penal Code section 288a(c));
- Continuous sexual abuse of a child (Penal Code section 288.5); or
- Forcible acts of sexual penetration with a minor under 14 years old and more than 10 years younger than you (Penal Code section 289(j)).
Certificate of Rehabilitation (Penal Code section 4852)
A Certificate of Rehabilitation is a court document that declares that you have been rehabilitated following your criminal conviction. Although the Certificate of Rehabilitation does not directly act in cleaning up your criminal record, it indicates that you are ready to become a productive member of society. This can help you obtain a job and secure a professional license.
Your Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney can help you petition for a Certificate of Rehabilitation. The court will set a hearing date for your petition, where we can help you argue that the judge should grant you a Certificate of Rehabilitation. If your Certificate of Rehabilitation is granted, the Certificate becomes an automatic application for a Governor’s Pardon.
Reducing Your Felony Charge or Conviction to a Misdemeanor – Penal Code section 17(b)
Your Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney may be able to help you reduce your felony conviction to a misdemeanor. Under California Penal Code section 17(b), you may be able to reduce a felony conviction to a misdemeanor if the offense is a “wobbler.” A wobbler is an offense that may be either punished as a felony or a misdemeanor.
Once your felony has been reduced to a misdemeanor, you may be able to get the misdemeanor expunged under California Penal Code section 1203.4.
Sealing Your Juvenile Record (Welfare and Institutions Code section 781)
Your Wallin & Klarich criminal defense attorney may be able to help you in cleaning up your criminal record through a petition to seal your juvenile record. By sealing your juvenile record, you do not have to disclose your juvenile conviction to future employers or lending agencies. If you were required to register as a sex offender pursuant to Penal Code section 290, sealing your juvenile record will relieve you of your duty to register as a sex offender.
To be eligible to seal your juvenile record, you must be at least 18 years old or older or have been off of juvenile probation for at least five years, whichever comes first. Furthermore, you must not have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor offense involving moral turpitude, such as theft, fraud, certain sex offenses, and certain drug-related offenses, to be eligible to seal your juvenile record. If the court believes that you have been rehabilitated, then it will grant your petition to seal your juvenile record, ultimately cleaning up your criminal record.
Wallin & Klarich Can Help You
At Wallin & Klarich, we understand that a criminal record can haunt you for the rest of your life. You do not have to let one mistake ruin your life. Our criminal defense attorneys have been successfully helping clients clean up their criminal records for over 30 years. We can help you move forward in your life without the heavy burden of a criminal conviction preventing you from obtaining the job or loan that you want. Let us help you with cleaning up your criminal record by speaking with one of our attorneys today.
With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura, Victorville, West Covina, San Diego, Torrance and Sherman Oaks., there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich criminal defense available near you no matter where you work or live.
Please call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245. We are here to help you.
[i] Information on Penal Code 851.8 retrieved from http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=pen&group=00001-01000&file=833-851.90
[ii] Information on Penal Code 1203.4 retrieved from http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/displaycode?section=pen&group=01001-02000&file=1191-1210.5
[iii] Information on Penal Code 1203.3 retrieved from http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/1203.3.html