If you or someone you know has faced legal trouble in California, you might wonder about the possibility of getting a fresh start.
California offers a process known as criminal charge expungement, which could help clear your record and provide new opportunities for the future.
What is expungement?
Expungement is a legal procedure that allows individuals convicted of certain crimes to have their criminal records cleared. This means that once you get an expungement, the conviction will no longer appear in most background checks. While expungement does not completely erase the record, it does make it significantly less accessible to the public and potential employers.
Does it apply to all convictions?
After a new state law took effect, more than 11 million conviction and arrest records met the requirements for expungement, but eligibility does not apply to all convictions. Generally, you must have completed probation successfully or served your sentence, paid any fines or restitution and not had any new convictions. Certain serious crimes, such as sex offenses and violent felonies, typically do not meet the requirements for expungement.
What benefits does expungement provide?
One of the main advantages of expungement is the ability to legally answer no when asked if convicted of a crime on job applications. This can significantly improve your chances of securing employment. Moreover, expungement can also restore certain rights, such as the right to serve on a jury or own a firearm in some cases.
Although the expungement process comes with some complexity and effort, getting your petition approved provides relief that you get a dismissal of your old case with a not-guilty plea.