Criminal Defense in Orange County

Do I Qualify for an Expungement?

An expungement sounds like a favorable option to many people that have been arrested or convicted of a criminal offense. An expungement, if successful, clears an individual's criminal record so that it can no longer be accessed by the public. An expungement is a great way to clear your record so that your future employers, neighbors and others will not view you differently because of a mark on your criminal record. Not everyone qualifies for this record-sealing process though.

Pursuant to California Penal Code § 1203.4(2), a conviction may be dismissed in some circumstances. If the misdemeanor or felony offense resulted in a sentence not including time in state prison, the offender can petition for an expungement. Individuals are allowed to attempt and get this conviction off of their criminal record by filing in the court of conviction. Remember, this type of expungement can only be obtained if the sentence did not involve a prison term.

Those whose convictions resulted in a prison sentence may be able to petition for something called a Certificate of Rehabilitation (CR). This is a court document that qualifying individuals may be able to file with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. If you successfully obtain a CR, this will implicate to the public that you are now in good standing with the law. Many felony offenders petition for this type of expungement but it is also available to those convicted of misdemeanors and had to serve a prison term.

In California, those who wish to petition for an expungement must fill out the Petition for Dismissal (CR-180) or the Order for Dismissal (CR-181). If the information included on these documents is incorrect or is missing information, then it is highly likely that the court will deny this petition. This is one reason why it is so important to secure the help of a criminal defense attorney if you are seeking an expungement.

According to California Penal Code § 4852.21(b), those that petition for expungements must be advised of the "right, if any, to petition for, and the procedure for filing a petition for, and obtaining, a certificate of rehabilitation and pardon." Overall, if a defendant has successfully fulfilled the conditions of their probation or has been discharged from this probation by a court, then they can be granted the right to expungement relief. Certain violations of the Penal Code do not allow for expungement.

To learn more about whether or not your specific infraction, conviction or arrest qualifies you for a sealing of your criminal record by way of expungement, please do not hesitate to contact an Orange County criminal defense attorney from our firm.