Los Angeles Expungement Attorney
What is California Expungement?
Expungement (CA Penal Code 1203.4) is the process of having a criminal conviction dismissed by a court. The perks of expunging a conviction include greater employment opportunities and peace of mind.
It is recommended that you contact an experienced Los Angeles Expungement Attorney, and explain the details of your specific situation.
Once you have successfully expunged a conviction, you can legally say that you have not been convicted of a crime.
Benefits of Expungement
Expunging a criminal record offers numerous benefits to individuals seeking a fresh start. Once a conviction is expunged, it can no longer be used against the individual for employment or housing purposes. It allows individuals to truthfully state that they have never been convicted of a crime. Expungement also provides relief from the consequences of a criminal conviction, such as difficulties in obtaining employment or loans.
How Do I Expunge a Conviction?
The process of expunging a conviction can be technical and intimidating, because of this, it’s a good idea to utilize an expungement attorney with experience in this field. In short, when expunging a conviction, your guilty plea (or no contest plea) is withdrawn and a not guilty plea replaces it. The court then dismisses the case and notes this on your criminal record. If the conviction was a felony, there is an additional step in filing a 17(b) motion that reduces a felony charge to a misdemeanor. This process can only take place after:
- You’ve successfully completed your probation term without any infractions
- You’ve paid in full all fines, fees, and restitution
Reviewing The Expungement
Expungement, as defined by California Penal Code § 1203.4 PC, allows individuals with a criminal record to have their state convictions dismissed by the court reviewing the conviction and granting the defendant the opportunity to withdraw the finding of guilt or plea. As stated, this is helpful to reflect that you are not a convicted criminal in future applications and background checks.
What Types of Crimes are Not Eligible for Expungement?
California does not grant expungement for some sexual-related crimes or any crime that sentenced someone to state prison. The sexual-related crimes include, but are not limited to:
- Penal Code 286(c) – Sodomy with a child
- Penal Code 288 – Lewd acts with a child
- Penal Code 261.5(d) – Statutory rape
It is also important to note that expungement will not:
- Repeal a driver’s license suspension or revocation
- Reinstate a person’s guns rights
- Exempt a person from registering as a sex offender
- Erase a strike in accordance to California’s ‘Three Strikes Law’
- Overrule a priorable offense sentencing
- A priorable sentence is one that increases with each subsequent conviction, in other words, the sentencing for a person’s second conviction of a DUI will be more severe than the sentencing for a person’s first conviction.
Eligibility for Expungement in Los Angeles
To be eligible for expungement in Los Angeles, individuals must fulfill certain criteria set by the state. The following factors determine eligibility:
State Court Convictions
Expungement is only applicable to convictions in state court, not federal court. If the conviction was in federal court, it is not eligible for expungement.
For a conviction to be expunged, the individual must have completed their sentence, including any probation or time served in county jail or a holding cell. If probation was not granted, at least one year must have passed since the date of conviction.
Violation of Probation
Individuals who have violated the terms of their probation may still be eligible for expungement, but it will be at the discretion of the court. The court will consider factors such as behavior on probation, the severity of the original offense, the individual’s criminal record, and the nature of the violation.
Exceptions to Eligibility
Some exceptions exist regarding eligibility for expungement. If an individual is currently on probation, they may need to seek early termination of probation before pursuing expungement. Additionally, individuals currently charged with another offense, serving a sentence for another offense, or on probation for another offense may not be eligible for expungement.
Expungement of Misdemeanors and Felonies
Expungement is available for both misdemeanors and felonies in California, but the process differs depending on the type of conviction.
Expunging Misdemeanor Convictions
For misdemeanor convictions, individuals can request that a judge expunge the conviction. The court will review the request and make a decision based on the individual’s eligibility and the circumstances of the case.
Felony Reduction and Expungement
Expunging a felony conviction requires an additional step of petitioning the court to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor. Once the felony is reduced, the individual can proceed with the expungement process for the misdemeanor conviction.
Expungement Process in California
The process of expungement in California involves several steps, including filing a petition, attending a hearing, and presenting a persuasive argument to the judge. The following outlines the general expungement process:
Filing an Expungement Petition
To initiate the expungement process, the individual or their attorney must file a formal expungement petition with the appropriate California court. The petition will include relevant details of the conviction and the individual’s eligibility for expungement.
Hearing and Judge’s Decision
After the petition is filed, a hearing will be scheduled within a specific timeframe. During the hearing, the prosecutor may object to the expungement. The judge will consider the arguments presented by both sides and make a decision regarding the expungement.
Impact on Prior Offenses
Expunged convictions cannot be used against individuals as prior offenses if they are charged with new crimes. However, certain exceptions exist, such as DUI convictions, which can still be considered as prior offenses for sentencing enhancements.
Limitations of Expungement
It is important to note that expungement does not completely erase a conviction for all purposes. State licensing agencies must still be informed of expunged convictions if they are relevant to the licensing process. Additionally, expungement does not reverse the revocation or suspension of a driver’s license or terminate sex offender registration requirements.
Contact a Los Angeles Expungement Attorney
Expungement is a great opportunity for anyone who is looking to have a conviction dismissed and have peace of mind. But don’t forget that expunging a conviction does not erase a person’s criminal record, it only shows that a guilty plea has been replaced with a not-guilty plea and that the court dismissed the case. For more information, you can contact Los Angeles expungement attorney Seppi Esfandi.
If you or a loved one are in need of Expunging a charge from your record, we invite you to contact us immediately for a free case review. Schedule an appointment to meet with us in person, or feel free to submit an evaluation online and we will get in contact with you ASAP.
- Related Articles:
- How to Expunge a DUI in California
- What’s the Difference Between Expungement and Dismissal?
- Wrongfully Arrest in Los Angeles? Get Your Record Sealed
Call Us for a FREE Case Review: 310-274-6529
Our experienced and assiduous criminal defense team will be sure to fight until the end to reduce or drop your charges completely.
How to Win Your Case
We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:
- Don’t ever talk to the police
- Do not discuss your case with anyone
- Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
- Tell police you need to contact your attorney
- Never consent to any search by the police
- If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
- Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
- Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
- Information on your cell phone is evidence
- Early Intervention is the key