March 19, 2024 By Paul Wallin

Cleaning Up Your Criminal Record in Southern California: How to Obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation

In Southern California, countless individuals find themselves facing the daunting reality of a criminal record due to past conduct that now stands in the way of their ability to make progress in their life in many ways. The implications of a conviction extend far beyond the initial incident, affecting employment prospects, housing opportunities and the basic restoration of their civil rights. However, hope and a pathway forward does exist in the form of a Certificate of Rehabilitation.

Choosing a Wallin & Klarich Certificate of Rehabilitation attorney to represent you puts you in an excellent position to achieve your goal. We have over 40 years of experience helping those who are seeking a Certificate of Rehabilitation in Southern California. Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL for your free phone consultation!

What is a Certificate of Rehabilitation

A Certificate of Rehabilitation, outlined in Penal Code § 4852 PC, is an official document issued by the Superior Court that declares the successful rehabilitation of the applicant, reflecting their good moral character and evidence of their reformation. This court order does not erase the criminal record, but it is a vital step toward doing so. In essence, it is often the first step in your attempt to obtain a pardon from the Governor and, if granted, includes automatic pardon consideration.

Eligibility for a Certificate of Rehabilitation generally extends to individuals who have been convicted of a felony or certain misdemeanor offenses, excluding specific categories of crimes. Each case is unique, but commonly in order for a Certificate of Rehabilitation to be granted the applicant needs to have demonstrated a period of exemplary behavior as well as having a compelling reason for seeking the certificate.

Steps to Obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation

Obtaining a Certificate of Rehabilitation is not an overnight process. It takes persistence, time, and adherence to a specific legal process. For those interested in pursuing this route, the following sections outline the steps involved, including the application process, requirements and the availability of our law firm to help you through this difficult process. 

The first step is recognizing one’s eligibility and acquiring the necessary documentation, such as proof of completion of probation, letters of recommendation and personal statements highlighting the rehabilitation efforts undertaken by the applicant. The application is then submitted to the Superior Court in the county of residence of the applicant which initiates the legal proceeding.

Success hinges on the thoroughness of the application and the demonstration of significant positive change. This is where legal counsel becomes invaluable. Attorneys at our law firm are well-versed in “record clearance matters” and can guide individuals through the process, assisting them in presenting a compelling case that aligns with court expectations and legal criteria.

It is important to note that you must submit a copy of your request to the district attorney’s office in the county where your petition will be filed. In many cases prosecutors strongly oppose a Certificate of Rehabilitation being granted. It is important for you to have retained an experienced law firm like Wallin and Klarich to fight for you to increase the chances your certificate will be granted. 

The Transformative Power of a Clean Record

Obtaining a Certificate of Rehabilitation can be life-changing, with far-reaching effects.

A significant barrier that the certificate can help resolve is the issue of employability. Many job applications require disclosure of criminal history, often leading to automatic disqualification. While a Certificate of Rehabilitation does not remove the conviction, it can be used to show employers evidence of your rehabilitation since the conviction, improving employment opportunities. 

The Fair Housing Act (FHA) and Federal Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) do not include criminal history as one of the criteria landlords cannot discriminate against. Due to this, a conviction can make it harder to find rental housing. Many landlords conduct background checks, and a record of criminal activity can derail an otherwise promising opportunity for housing. Obtaining a Certificate of Rehabilitation can increase one’s chances of securing housing, as it attests to one’s reformation and moral standing. 

How a Defense Attorney Can Help

Navigating the complex legal landscape for obtaining a Certificate of Rehabilitation requires not just an understanding of the law, but an adept handling of procedural specifics that a seasoned defense attorney can offer. An experienced defense attorney can play a key role in helping you obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation. Your lawyer can guide you through the intricacies of the application process, ensuring that all prerequisites are adequately met and that the candidacy for the certificate is compellingly presented.

Hiring a Wallin and Klarich attorney to help you will provide you invaluable assistance in gathering and preparing the necessary documentation, which forms the backbone of the application. This includes not only legal paperwork but also personal testimonials, evidence of rehabilitation, and other supportive documents that collectively make a strong case for the applicant’s transformation and good character.

Additionally, a defense attorney can strategically outline the applicant’s story, focusing on aspects that are most likely to resonate with the court and meet legal standards for rehabilitation. Your lawyer can draft a narrative that effectively communicates your personal growth, responsibility and current positive contribution to society.

In the courtroom, the defense attorney serves as the applicant’s voice, articulating the case and responding to any concerns or objections that may arise from the prosecution who may oppose the granting of the certificate. Your lawyer’s skilled advocacy can profoundly influence the outcome, and could make the difference between acceptance and rejection of your  application for a Certificate of Rehabilitation.Our law firm has successfully represented many clients looking to obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation. Call us for a free phone consultation to see if you will qualify at 877-466-5245. We will be there when you call. We have offices in Irvine, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, Torrance, Victorville and Anaheim to serve you.

AUTHOR: Paul Wallin

Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. His vast experience, zealous advocacy for his clients and extensive knowledge of many areas of the law make Mr. Wallin a premiere Southern California attorney. Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years. Clients come to him for help in matters involving assault and battery, drug crimes, juvenile crimes, theft, manslaughter, sex offenses, murder, violent crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Mr. Wallin also helps clients with family law matters such as divorce and child custody.

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