California: Expunge Or Seal Your Criminal Records In California

This section will discuss the process of getting one’s criminal records or convictions expunged in the state of California, including the process that one has to go through and any exceptions.

Expungement Process

The process that is commonly known as expungement in the state of California should be more accurately referred to as record sealing. The difference between expungement and record sealing is that the former involves all records being completely destroyed, while the latter implies that an individual’s criminal record has been hidden from public viewing but the record still exists. If a person is charged with multiple convictions in California, then he or she will need to apply for record sealing individually for each crime that he or she has been charged for.

Any individual can file a petition for expungement on his or her own, but enlisting the services of an attorney may make this process smoother and easier. This will also ensure that all parts of the expungement process have been properly completed so that the individual’s criminal records are expunged successfully. Every individual is required to fill out the form, which asks for details of his or her case as well as personal information. In case an individual finds himself or herself unable to fully remember every single detail correctly, the court that charged the individual can also usually provide this information.

The form that has to be filled out and submitted in order to have one’s records sealed in California can be accessed online on the website of the California Courts. The first part of the legal process is to file out and file all the paperwork and documents that are needed for expungement. An individual may also be required to pay a minimal filing fee alongside the documents. Once the application has been sent, the court will then proceed to forward the documents to the office of the prosecutor. The job of the prosecutor is to verify the eligibility of the individual. The Petition for Dismissal can be accessed at http://www.courts.ca.gov/documents/cr180.pdf.

If the individual is considered to be eligible, the documents are then sent back to him or her by the prosecutor. The person may be required to attend various expungement hearings. After the hearings have been conducted, the person’s criminal records will be sealed (or expunged) if the petition has been accepted.

Eligibility for Records Sealing

Every individual with a criminal record or charge cannot be considered eligible for expungement in the state of California. Before he or she can file a petition, it is important to determine whether he or she is eligible to do so or not.

If a person has been convicted by a state court, then he or she may consider filing a petition for expungement. However, if the federal court charges an individual for committing a crime, then such a conviction cannot be expunged. If a person went to a state prison, then his or her conviction cannot be expunged. However, if the person was not sent to a state prison, then he or she may be considered eligible for expungement.

There are a number of other cases under which a person may also be able to file for conviction. If a person manages to complete his or her probation period or is able to get an early termination of the prescribed probation via a petition, then it is possible for him or her to consider filing for expungement next.

Moreover, if the court verifies that an individual who had been convicted for a crime has now been able to meet all the sentence conditions and requirements that has been set out by the court (such as community service programs or evening classes that have been mandated by the court), then the individual may consider sending in an application for expungement. In addition to this, if a person is not charged with another criminal charge later, he or she can apply for expungement of his or her criminal records.

For step-by-step instructions on how to determine your eligibility for expunction, you can visit http://saclaw.org/wp-content/uploads/sbs-expunging-criminal-records.pdf.

Exceptions

In certain cases, however, it is impossible for a man or a woman charged for a specific criminal offense to apply for expungement. If a person has been involved in carrying out any type of sexual misconduct against little children or has been involved in a murder or kidnapping case, then his or her criminal record cannot be expunged. Furthermore, if a person obtained expungement of his or her criminal record after committing a certain crime and then went on to repeat the same criminal offense, then he or she will either not obtain expungement in the first place or the initial expungement order will be reversed.

Apart from the aforementioned cases where expungement does not apply or can be reversed, if an individual is involved in a criminal act that involved the use of violence perpetuated with a gun, then he or she cannot obtain a gun permit ever again. Furthermore, such an individual can never be considered eligible for holding the office of a police officer again either.
If an individual is running for any kind of public office, it is imperative for him or her to disclose any conviction even if it has been expunged. Furthermore, if one is forming any kind of contract with the California Lottery Commission or applying for any kind of state license, it is important to disclose whether there have been any expunged convictions in the past or not.

Contrary to many believing that the charges associated with marijuana or other types of drugs automatically disappear from one’s record, but it is not the case. If a person was charged for possessing marijuana (which means there was no intention of further selling it off) of if a person provided transport for marijuana that amounted to less than one ounce, then the criminal charges are sealed or dropped after approximately two to three years. However, for any other case involving marijuana or other drugs, an individual will have to send in a petition individually for each crime to the court to obtain expungement.

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