Individuals, who have been charged and convicted of misdemeanor or felony
crimes, experience the repercussions of a conviction long after completing
the terms of a sentence or probation. A criminal conviction can adversely
impact an individual's ability to attend college, obtain a job and
find housing. In certain cases, individuals convicted of certain criminal
charges in California may be able to take steps to have those charges
formally dismissed or expunged.
Individuals, who were convicted of misdemeanor or felony charges that could
have been reduced to misdemeanor charges, may choose to explore how to
obtain an expungement. The process for doing so, however, is complex and
may require the advocacy and assistance of a criminal defense attorney.
In California an expungement does not erase or wipe clean a record of a
conviction. Rather, a successful expungement provides for the formal dismissal
of the applicable criminal charges. This means that when applying for
most jobs, an individual is not required to disclose that he or she was
ever convicted of a crime. By law, employers in California are prohibited
from discriminating against a job candidate on the basis of criminal charges
that were dismissed or expunged.
Individuals who were convicted of
misdemeanor or felony charges that could have been reduced to a misdemeanor may seek an expungement
provided the following circumstances apply.
- At least 12 months have elapsed since a conviction
- An individual has completed the terms of a sentence or probation
- No additional charges are pending
- An individual is not serving a sentence or probation related to another offense
An expungement can help open doors to opportunities that may have otherwise
remained closed. A criminal attorney who handles expungements can answer
questions about the process and help an individual reap the personal and
financial gains that may result.
Source: California Courts, "Cleaning Your Record," 2014