Seal & Destroy Your Arrest Records - A new California law allows people who were arrested but never convicted to have their California arrest records sealed as a matter of right (automatically). Sealing an arrest means the record will not show up on most criminal background checks in California, other than to law enforcement.
It's no secret that a past criminal conviction on your police record can become a hindrance as you seek to get a new job, attend college or grad school, or earn a professional license in California; but with record expungement, arrest record sealing, and similar processes available, it's possible to keep your past from coming up on any future background checks.
There are specific requirements and limitations to California record expungement and related matters, and you need to fully understand what these actions can and cannot accomplish for you before you pursue them. That said, most people who apply end up succeeding at hiding their arrest or criminal record if they have the assistance of an attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in these practice areas.
At Record Expungement Attorney, we stand ready to guide you through the process of clearing up your record and removing any roadblocks that are hindering your future plans due to employer-run or other background checks.
We can evaluate whether you will be eligible for record expungement or arrest record clearing under current California law, and we can guide you through the process step by step. Contact us anytime 24/7 by calling 714-587-5907 for a free legal consultation and immediate assistance!
WHO QUALIFIES FOR RECORD EXPUNGEMENT IN CALIFORNIA?
Record expungement is a process by which you can petition a California court to reopen a past case and have it dismissed or even have a "guilty" verdict or plea set aside.
If your petition is accepted, then under California Penal Code Section 1203.4 your record will show the case was dismissed and you can legally state on job applications and most other application forms that you were not convicted of that crime. Also, almost all background checks will no longer show the conviction.
But who is eligible to have their criminal record expunged? Well, it goes on a conviction by conviction basis - meaning it's possible you could get multiple convictions expunged or that some can be expunged while others cannot.
Here are the basic criteria for determining if you qualify for expungement under PC 1203.4:
The conviction or case was dealt with in state court, not federal court.
You never served actual time in state prison for the offense. (County jail time does NOT disqualify you.)
You have no new, still-open criminal case pending.
You are not now serving probation for an offense committed after the one you're trying to get expunged.
You have completed your probationary term. Or, the court is willing to shorten the term to allow early expungement based on good behavior during probation thus far.
There are many other details and exceptions that can apply, but we have given above the main, standard eligibility factors. But even if you don't qualify based on these criteria, you may still want to explore the possibility of arrest record clearing, a Governor's pardon, or other potential options.
WHAT CAN AN EXPUNGEMENT DO FOR ME?
If you qualify for a record expungement under California law, you have much to gain. New career opportunities could open up to you as a result of expunging your record, new educational opportunities, apartment leases, immigration benefits, and more could also be at stake.
We at Record Expungement Attorney have helped many others get approved for a PC 1203.4 expungement and successfully make it through the process. We can do the same for you.
Many times, employers run a full background check on job applicants. In fact, for jobs applied for online, this kind of practice has become routine. And almost all job application forms and interviews involve asking the questions, "Have you ever been convicted of a crime?" Even when would be employers don't admit you were passed over for employment based on your criminal record, everyone knows that's frequently the "real reason."
Additionally, if you are applying for a state-issued professional license in California, most boards and agencies will run a thorough background check. A conviction or even arrest on your record could jeopardize your chances of getting the license, but expungement can often make the difference in your getting approved.
Also, there are many professional and non-professional organization you might like to join, where clearing your record can clear the way to membership.
It is also quite common for those seeking expungement to do so based on the desire to apply for college or university enrollment. Expungement greatly increases your chances of getting into many colleges and graduate schools in California and across the US.
But finally, many seek expungement because it brings a sense of closure to their case and gives them the peace of mind of knowing that their criminal record isn't "following" them everywhere they go. At Record Expungement Attorney, we can help you find that peace of mind.
WHAT A RECORD EXPUNGEMENT CANNOT DO
It's just as important to understand what a record expungement can't do as what it can do. After all, you don't want to be disappointed after getting your expungement because you were expecting something out of it that it simply can't do.
The main limitations of California expungements include:
It does NOT erase the fact that a criminal case ever occurred. It simply replaces a conviction with a dismissal or information stating that the verdict has been "set aside" under PC 1203.4.
It does NOT eliminate ALL disclosure requirements of your expunged conviction. It does so with MOST applications, but not if it's for a public position, a state lottery position, or certain state licensing boards.
An expungement will NOT cease to count as a prior if you are convicted of another or the same crime again in the future.
Expungement does NOT in itself automatically reinstate one's firearm possession rights. But there are often other ways for these rights to be restored.
Getting a conviction expunged does NOT cancel the duty to register as a sex offender in California.
Thus, while there are some limitation to what expungement can do, and you have to qualify and go through the legal process, there are large number of people in California who have greatly benefited from having their records expunged - and you may be able to as well.
HOW THE EXPUNGEMENT PROCESS WORK
The processing of applying for and following through with a record expungement petition in Orange County is complex and is best handled by an attorney with specialized knowledge of this practice area. We at Record Expungement Attorney have been in the business for many years and we will know how to process your case from beginning to end.
A separate expungement petition has to be filed for each offense you want expunged off your record, and each filing has to be done at the court where that case originated.
The paperwork has to be complete and filed correctly or it will delay or jeopardize your expungement. And there are a number of deadlines that have to be met throughout the process as well. And if the prosecutor who handled your case objects, he/she or the relevant agency can put up a fight - at which point, you need expert defense to overcome the prosecutor's objection.
Finally, there will often be a court hearing where you need to appear and explain to the court why your record should be expunged.
Thus, there are numerous points during the process, from beginning to end, where without expert legal representation, your expungement could be slowed down or even denied. But with the right help, your chances of winning your expungement are very high.
We can handle all of the paperwork and deadlines for you. We can appear at the expungement hearing in your behalf so you don't have to appear yourself (in most instances). Typically, an expungement can be processed in a couple of months or less, when you rely on Record Expungement Attorney to handle your case.
WHEN CAN I FILE FOR AN EXPUNGEMENT?
We can give you a free initial consultation to determine if you're eligible for expungement, conduct legal research on the details of your case, file all the necessary documents, appear in court in your behalf, and win you an expungement within a couple months. But - when is the best time to file? Or, when are you permitted to file?
So long as you qualify, it's always best to file for expungement as early as possible. Normally, you are supposed to finish probation before filing; but it's possible to get an early termination to your probationary period. We often file for early probation termination and for record expungement simultaneously and get them both approved.
And if you served time in state prison before Prop 47 was passed, you can get a charge reduction and/or expungement if at least two years have gone by since you finished your prison term.
At Record Expungement Attorney, we know how and when to file multiple petitions at the same time in order to speed up the process. By expediting the process, we help you met any personal time tables concerning a job application or other important application that may include a background check.
And even if you don't qualify for expungement, we may be able to help your through the arrest record clearing process, get a felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor, or work in a number of other ways to improve your record - so don't assume nothing can be done. We have often found ways to assist those who wrongly assumed their record would not qualify for any kind of relief (but it did.)
SEALING OF ARREST RECORDS IN CALIFORNIA
Record Expungement Attorney does more than just strictly handle expungements - we also, among other things, can handle an arrest record sealing.
Since October of 2017, when amendments were made to California's arrest sealing laws, it is much easier to get your arrest record sealed than ever before. Specifically, such sealing is now looked on a a "right" instead of a "privilege," so long as you meet any of the following conditions:
You were arrested but never were charged with a criminal offense.
You were charged, but the criminal charge was eventually dismissed.
You were acquitted of the alleged offense.
Your were convicted but your conviction was overturned by an appellate court.
You completed a diversion or deferred entry of judgment program.
But, if your record includes a pattern of arrests and/or convictions for domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, and a number of other specific types of charges, it's no longer a right to have your arrest record sealed. But, in some cases, the judge might still allow it if good cause for such action is argued to him/her by a well seasoned attorney.
WHAT EXACTLY IS ARREST RECORD SEALING?
Arrest records are part of the public record, and as such, are accessible to all - including potential employers or others who wish to run a background check on you. Arrest record sealing changes that: it makes the relevant arrest(s) no longer on the public record.
There are a few exceptions, such as when law enforcement agencies are running investigations or when a prosecuting attorney is checking a defendant's record for a limited number of specific purposes in particular types of cases - but otherwise, no one will have access to the now-sealed record of your prior arrest(s).
The reason that the changes were made in 2017 to arrest sealing law in California was because of the unfairness of a person being dogged their whole life by an arrest when the case was dropped or they were even found "not guilty." Once an employer sees that an arrest took place, they often do not care to "gamble" on if you were really guilty or not - so the mere presence of the arrest on a background check often blackballed people who were totally innocent.
But today, that's no longer the case, arrest sealing is now a matter or right in most instances.
WHEN IS ARREST SEALING NOT A "MATTER OF RIGHT?"
Being a matter or fight, in legal talk, just means that the burden of proof is on the prosecution to show why your arrest record shouldn't be sealed rather than on you to prove it ought to be.
But there are exceptions where arrest sealing is not a matter of right, where the burden of proof is still on the petitioner to prove he or she should be granted arrest record sealing.
If you could still be charged for the crime you were arrested for, though you haven't been yet, then you can't get the arrest sealed until the statute of limitations has passed. The timing of such statutes varies from offense to offense.
If you were arrested for a crime like murder, where there is no statute of limitations, then you can't get the arrest record sealed.
Or, if the reason no charge was filed against you was because you fled justice, to another state or jurisdiction, then the statute of limitations will be "tolled" for that period of time, and you may not be able to yet file for arrest record clearing.
Finally, as mentioned above, if a "pattern" of domestic violence or child/elder abuse can be demonstrated, then you do not get arrest record sealing as a matter of right. However, the legal definition of "pattern" is somewhat vague here, but anyone with multiple of these types of convictions will need expert legal help to maximize the chances of successfully sealing their arrest record.
THE ARREST RECORD SEALING PROCESS
The sooner you begin the process of getting past arrests on your record sealed, the better. As long as you meet the eligibility requirements and the statue of limitations has passed for that particular offense, there's no reason to delay.
At Record Expungement Attorney, we can give you a free initial consultation to help you determine if you're eligible to have one or more arrests on your police record sealed. If you are eligible, we can immediately begin working on your case.
First, we will have to file a petition to have the arrest sealed in court. The petition must be filed, if at all possible, in the court where a the case against you was filed by the prosecution OR where it would have been filed (if it never was, in fact, filed.)
Next, we serve copies of the petition to the agencies responsible for your being charged or for your being arrested. These petitions must be complete and accurate and include information that you probably wont' have access to on your own. A good attorney will be able to get the needed information out of the court and/or law enforcement agency, however.
In some instances, the DA or law enforcement agency may choose to contest the petition for arrest record sealing. In that case, we can appear in your behalf at a special hearing held to determine if you will be eligible for record sealing. We can argue either why the sealing is a matter of right under California's current laws or why it would be in the "interest of justice" (even if not a matter of right), depending on the details of each case.
In general, it takes around 90 days to get your arrest record sealed, from filing the petition to the sealing actually being implemented. The court will send an order to the DOJ and arresting agency to seal the relevant arrest(s) on your police record if the court approves your petition. Individual cases can take longer or a little less than 90 days, however, depending on if the petition is contested and on a number of other factors.
Once sealed, any law enforcement agency that illegally releases the record of an arrest can be fined up to $2,500 for "improper dissemination." Plus, the job of the person or persons responsible could be in jeopardy. This is a big disincentive, so it's not likely the sealed status of your arrest record will be violated.
WHY CHOOSE RECORD EXPUNGEMENT ATTORNEY?
California's laws on record expungement, arrest sealing, and other related matters like getting a certificate of detainment (saying you were "detained" but not "arrested") or petitioning for a Governor's pardon, are complex and could change at any time. Additionally, one has to be familiar with how these laws have been interpreted in the courts on top of the letter of the statutes themselves.
At Record Expungement Attorney, we have deep experience in these very specific and complex practice areas. We have helped numerous others in Orange County, CA, and beyond get their records expunged or sealed, and we can do the same for you.
Our law firm has a longstanding presence in local Orange County communities, and we have high client satisfaction rates, a great BBB score, and overwhelmingly positive online reviews.
Our attorneys are highly trained, fully licensed, deeply and broadly experienced, and always put the needs of the client first.
Unlike some other California law firms, we are not a "law mill." We do not pass you off to some less experienced lawyers for a kick-back fee like some of our competitors do. We give you the personal, customized attention you need from day one and stay with you through the whole process, communicating with you "early and often" as needed.
Not only professional expertise, but also integrity, a high work ethic, and unflinching dedication to the best interests of each and every client we serve, characterize Record Expungement Attorney.
CONTACT US TODAY FOR IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE!
At Record Expungement Attorney, we have deep experience in assisting people with the expungement, arrest record clearing, and similar processes in Orange County and throughout Southern California.
Our client satisfaction rate is extraordinarily high, and we get many new clients on referral from past ones because we know how to navigate the process and get your record clear so you can "get on with your life."
For a free, no obligation legal consultation on record expungement and/or other related issues, call us anytime 24/7/365 at 714-587-5907!