Expungement And Post-Conviction Relief
Every person who is found guilty of a crime will face not only a penalty such as jail time or a fine, but also a criminal record on a public database. A conviction will leave a permanent black mark and make life a bit more difficult, including finding a job and getting bank loans, among other tasks.
However, many crimes, depending on the circumstances of the case, can be eligible for an expungement. The Law Offices of Severo, PLC can help you clear old criminal records that may be holding you back. We offer a free initial consultation.
What Is An Expungement?
Expungement means the removal of any criminal record and conviction history from the public database. The legal battle does not necessarily end upon conviction. Post-conviction relief can be obtained in many cases via an expungement, withdrawal of guilty plea, a motion to vacate, a reduction to misdemeanor or an executive pardon. In other words, if expungement is granted, that offense won’t show up anymore if someone like a job recruiter or a bank representative conducts a criminal background check.
Expungement does not erase the crime, only the public record. It still counts as a conviction for subsequent arrests, immigration purposes, sex offender registry, possession of firearms and other criminal justice matters. It does allow you to state on most job applications that you were never convicted of (that particular) crime.
What Kind Of Crimes Can Be Expunged?
California Penal Code §1203.4 allows any person who pleaded guilty or no contest, or who was convicted after pleading not guilty, to petition for expungement after they have served their sentence or completed probation. The process allows the person to withdraw their prior plea or have the conviction set aside.
The expungement of post-conviction after trial can be obtained depending on the nature of the crime, which usually are cases that show proof of innocence. It applies to most misdemeanors and some felonies. Some of the most common charges expunged include:
- Felonies and first-degree misdemeanors in which the offender’s age was under 18 years old
- Drug possession
- Assault or battery
- Shoplifting and theft
- Weapon charges
- Lewd acts and other misdemeanor sex crimes
Many felony convictions (even violent crimes) can be expunged if the court first agrees to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor. However, some crimes such as rape, sexual offenses against minors and child pornography can never be expunged. Our lawyers can determine if your particular case is a candidate for expungement.
Expungement In California
Soliciting an expungement is a long and complex legal process that can be best obtained with the aid of a criminal defense attorney. With more than 40 years of experience as a criminal defense law firm, the Law Offices of Severo, PLC in Glendale is at your disposal for an assessment of your case.