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Criminal Defense: Expungement to Clear Your Criminal Record

Posted on in Criminal Defense

Many people convicted of crimes are eligible to have their records expunged. Under California law, expungement goes far beyond merely erasing a criminal record. Even though you may have been convicted or pled guilty of a crime many years in the past, you may be eligible to retroactively withdraw your guilty plea or request that your conviction be vacated, resulting in a dismissal of the charges.

Who Can Get Their Criminal Records Expunged?

You are eligible to get it expunged as long as you did not serve time in state prison. Additionally, you must have completed probation, paid all fines and restitution and not have any new criminal charges pending against you. Certain crimes are not eligible for expungement, including sexual offenses against a minor and serious traffic offenses.

What Expungement Can Do For You

Expungement does not remove the conviction from your criminal record. The conviction and the subsequent dismissal will still appear on your criminal record. Further, certain restrictions that result from the restrictions, such as prohibitions against owning fire arms and from holding public office, may still be applicable. The conviction also can be used in determining your sentence for a subsequent criminal conviction.

Even with these limitations, expungement is an extremely beneficial option. In California, while you must disclose dismissed convictions to government employers, private employers can not ask about convictions that have been dismissed and may not use that information in making employment decisions.

Other Options

If you are unable to get your conviction expunged, you may be able to seek a pardon. It also may be possible to petition to have felonies reduced to misdemeanor charges or to seek an early release from probation before seeking expungement.

If you are looking to clear your criminal record, a criminal defense attorney can assist you with determining the best strategy that will work for your particular circumstances. Contact us today for a free evaluation.

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