Expungement Lawyer in Los Angeles
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If you were convicted of a crime, you may be eligible to get your criminal record expunged. This can open up the door to various professional, academic and personal opportunities you otherwise wouldn’t enjoy. With an expunged record, you can legally say you’ve never been convicted of a crime, and as a result, your life may change dramatically.
A Los Angeles record expungement attorney can guide you through the process to ensure your rights are protected and all steps are successfully completed. It’s important to complete each stage of the expungement process correctly to avoid any delays or worse, denial. As such, the most essential decision you can make for yourself is putting a seasoned expungement attorney in your corner to work to clear your conviction.
What Is an Expungement?
An expungement allows you to reopen your criminal case, set aside your conviction and dismiss your case. In other words, you’ll be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from your conviction, because it won’t appear on your record. Examples of such penalties and disabilities you will no longer suffer include difficulties finding a job, getting housing, securing financial assistance, getting accepted into university and other limitations.
As a result of a successful expungement, your criminal record will no longer show your conviction, but it will show that you were arrested, or charges were filed. Your expungement will appear on your arrest, charge and DMV records, if applicable. Essentially, your record will show that you were arrested or charged but not convicted. Thus, you can legally answer “no” when asked if you were convicted of a crime by an employer or other party.
It’s important to note that your conviction can still be used against you in future criminal proceedings and by the DMV for purposes of suspending or restricting your license. A successful expungement does not relieve you of any prohibition on the ownership or possession of firearms resulting from the conviction.
An expungement will:
- Result in a new entry in the court record showing the dismissal of the case.
- Allow you to answer on many, but not all, job applications that you have not been convicted. If, however, you are applying for a government job or a job that requires a government-issued license, certificate, or permit or a job that involves a security clearance, the conviction will be discovered. In these cases, you should disclose the initial conviction and its later expungement.
- Prevent your conviction from impeaching you if you testify as a witness unless you are being tried for a subsequent offense.
- Help you get started on obtaining a pardon if the conviction was for a felony.
An expungement will not:
- Remove the conviction from your criminal record. California and FBI criminal history records will still show the conviction and the later dismissal per PC 1203.4.
- Reinstate the right to possess firearms if it was taken away (reduction to a misdemeanor may accomplish this if the offense wasn’t violent).
- Remove the requirement to register as a sex offender per PC290. If the expungement is granted, registrants must then complete and file paperwork requesting a Certificate of Rehabilitation, when eligible. A Certificate of Rehabilitation will relieve specified sex offenders from further registration. This is true for both felony and misdemeanor sex crime convictions.
- Allow you to omit the conviction from applications for government-issued licenses.
- Seal or otherwise remove the court case file from public inspection. Anyone who knows where to look will find the court case file (probation reports are in confidential files and are not subject to public inspection 90 days after sentencing).
- Prevent the conviction from being used as a "prior" or "strike prior" to increase punishment on a subsequent conviction.
- Prevent the conviction from being used for impeachment purposes on a subsequent offense.
- Prevent the conviction from being considered and used to refuse or revoke government licenses and permits such as real estate sales licenses, teaching credentials, bus driver licenses, security guard certificates, etc. However, the expungement may reduce the weight given to the conviction by the licensing agency.
- Prevent the conviction from being used by Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) for removal and exclusion purposes.
What Are the Effects of Expungement Under PC 1203.4?
If you are granted probation, completed all terms of your probation and are no longer on probation, you are eligible for record expungement. You must not be on probation or serving a sentence for any other offense, anywhere.
If you were denied probation, you can still obtain an expungement, but you still cannot be on probation or serving a sentence for any other case. You must wait one year after your conviction before applying for expungement. Further, if your criminal case was reduced to an infraction, you are eligible for an expungement.
Do I Have to Disclose an Expungement to Employers?
Following a successful expungement, if a potential employer asks if you have ever been convicted you can honestly answer “no”. Keep in mind, though, that background checks typically go back 10 years, and employers can see that you had a conviction dismissed. Answering "no" may look dishonest. A better response may be "Yes, my expungement was granted."
If you are applying for a government job, a job that requires a security clearance or a job that requires a government-issued license, certificate or permit, the conviction will likely be discovered during the standard background check. You should disclose the conviction and expungement in these situations.
If you are applying for a government-issued license, certificate or permit, you must disclose your conviction and expungement.
Contact a Los Angeles Record Expungement Lawyer Today
The effects of a record expungement can be life-changing, as you can live your life free of the burdens related to your conviction. Everyone makes mistakes, but no one should have to pay the price for their whole lives. That’s why expungements are an excellent way to get the relief you deserve if you’re eligible.
To find out if an expungement is available to you and begin the process, retain an experienced Los Angeles expungement attorney as soon as possible. Sturm Law offers free initial consultations in person, over the phone and through video chat. Call (323) 395-5221 now!
“I went from fighting 25 to life to being released from custody asap thanks to this great group.”- M.D.
“I was so depressed and anxious for months after being arrested. If you need a lawyer, this is the way to go. They did an amazing job and I will forever be grateful.”- Former Client
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