Life with an arrest or conviction on your record can be very difficult to manage. A criminal record will show up on background checks and may prevent you from:
- Getting the job, you were hoping to get
- Getting a loan for your home
- Being admitted to the college you wish to attend
- Obtaining a professional license
The good news is that California law gives you several ways to get rid of an arrest or even a conviction that is on your record. Depending on the crime for which you were convicted or arrested, you may be able to either expunge or seal your record.
Removing Arrests from Your Record – Factual Innocence (PC 851.8) and the CARE Act (PC 851.91)
If you were arrested but not charged, or if the case was charged and then later dismissed or you were acquitted, you have a few ways to remove the case from your record. You can file a motion of factual innocence, or you might petition the court under the Consumer Arrest Record Equity (CARE) Act to have the record of the arrest sealed.
A motion for factual innocence (PC 851.8) is a motion to have the court review the record of your arrest and determine that no reasonable cause exists to believe that you committed the offense for which you were arrested. If the court agrees, it will then order that your record be sealed and destroyed.
Under the CARE Act (PC 851.91) you can petition the court to seal your record if you were arrested for any crime and criminal charges were never filed by the prosecutor, or were filed but subsequently dismissed by the court. It also allows you file a motion to have your arrest record sealed, provided that your conviction was later reversed on appeal. However, the key difference is that a CARE petition does not declare you to be innocent, and limits the relief only to the sealing of your record.
Cleaning Up Convictions from Your Record
Expungement (PC 1203.4)
If you were not able to successfully defend against the charge and were convicted, you still have options to clean up your record. California is one of many states that allow people who have been convicted of certain crimes to have their conviction expunged from their record. An expungement is a legal process that allows you to petition the court to review your record, set aside the conviction, and dismiss your case.
Certificate of Rehabilitation and Governor’s Pardon (PC 4852.01)
If none of the above methods apply to your case, there are still two other possible paths you may qualify for. First, you may be eligible for a certificate of rehabilitation, which is a special court order that serves as a declaration that, in the court’s opinion, you are completely rehabilitated of the crime for which you were convicted. While it does not remove the conviction from your record, a certificate of rehabilitation is a statement by the court that your criminal history is behind you, and that you are ready to become a productive and upstanding member of society.
The certificate also serves as an automatic recommendation and application for a pardon, which is an order from the governor of California that forgives you for your crimes. However, you will still have to disclose a pardoned conviction to any potential employers, and a governor’s pardon may not prevent you from being deported if you are not in the United States legally.
Which Crimes Are Eligible to Be Removed from My Record?
For the most part, misdemeanor convictions and arrests that were for non-violent acts and were not for a sex crime are eligible for dismissal from your record (under PC 1203.4). If your past includes arrests for any of the following, you should consult with an experienced attorney today about cleaning up your record:
- Public Urination
- Public Intoxication
- Disorderly Conduct
- Possession of a Controlled Substance
- Domestic Violence
- Traffic Offences
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
- Domestic Battery
By no means is this a complete list, as the list of crimes that are eligible for post-arrest or post-conviction relief is fairly lengthy. You should consult with an experienced defense attorney to determine if your record is capable of being cleared.
Contact the Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today For More Information
Convictions and arrests on your record are serious matters, and whether your case is ongoing or concluded, you deserve the best help you can get to restore your ability to get a job, apply for credit, or find affordable housing. That is why you should consult with the experienced and knowledgeable attorneys at Wallin & Klarich. We have over 35 years of successful experience in helping people like you to clear up their criminal records. Our tireless team of attorneys and legal assistants can help you, too.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, San Diego, West Covina, Torrance, and Victorville, there is an experienced and skilled Wallin & Klarich defense attorney available to help you no matter where you are located.
Contact our offices today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free, no-obligation phone consultation. We will be there when you call.