Types of Record Clearing

If you have been arrested or convicted of a crime, you should know there are several options available for record clearing.  Record expungement is the most well-known of the options available for record clearing yet an expungement might not be ideal for your unique situation.  Here is an in-depth look at the many different types of record clearing available for those who have been arrested or convicted of a crime.


Expungements clear prior criminal convictions, making it nearly impossible for anyone to view these transgressions on your record.  Though government agencies can find out you have expunged your record, you will be able to answer in the negative if anyone else asks if you have committed a crime.  Answering in the negative to such questions provides considerable peace of mind as you will not have to worry about whether you are breaking the law by stating “No” to questions regarding prior criminal transgressions.  You will be fully within your legal rights to deny all prior criminal activity. 

You need a proven record expungement attorney on your side to ensure the request for criminal record expungement is handled properly on the first try.  If your request for record expungement is not filed in the proper manner, written to perfection, and served and filed in accordance with the court’s rules, your chances of winning an appeal will dramatically decrease.  If even a slight mistake is made with the initial request for record expungement, it might even be necessary to complete the record expungement request a second time.  The primary benefit of record expungement is employers, landlords and those who issue professional licenses/certificates will no longer be able to see criminal convictions on your record.  Even though you made one or several mistakes in the past, you still deserve the right to work, live in an apartment, obtain professional licensure and retain your privacy. 

Have your record expunged and the general public will no longer be able to look up your criminal record on the internet.  Nowadays, those who work outside of the legal system can access the criminal records of neighbors, friends, family and others at any point in time.  Let our attorney file an expungement and your privacy will be fully protected.  Furthermore, employers will not be able to use your criminal record as leverage against you as you attempt to climb the corporate or organizational ladder and seek additional compensation for your hard work.  Nor will an employer be able to low-ball you with a low salary or hourly rate offer when you are unemployed and seeking work.  Prospective employers will have no idea you made one or several mistakes in the past. This is the peace of mind you need and deserve to get the most out of life.


The majority of common crimes are eligible for expungement.  However, there are some especially serious crimes that cannot be expunged.  As an example, rape, criminal sodomy and aggravated criminal sodomy, sexual battery, indecent liberties with a child and murder cannot be expunged from your criminal record.  The vast majority of criminal actions pertaining to sexual offenses, death or harming children will prove challenging to expunge from your criminal record.

Alternatively, low level offenses are much easier to expunge as they do not have as much of a negative stigma tied to them.  As an example, an arrest and subsequent conviction for possessing marijuana will prove much easier to expunge than something like a sexual assault or aggravated robbery.  The logic behind making it easier to expunge a low level offense such as marijuana possession is that it has less culpability that more serious crimes.


Plenty of people assume criminal convictions will simply expunge on their own as time progresses.  People often confuse criminal records with driving records.  Traffic offenses eventually fall off your driving record in that auto insurance companies eventually cease considering those transgressions when factoring auto insurance rates after a certain amount of time passes.  However, criminal convictions do not naturally fall off a criminal record.  Nor will juvenile convictions fall off criminal records.  The sole means of removing criminal convictions from one’s permanent record is to file for a criminal record expungement.


There are some important differences between the types of record expungements.  As an example, California’s penal code 1203.4 details the letter of the law for cases in which the court grants probation.    Alternatively, 1203.4a is meant for cases in which probation is not provided and the court imposes a terminal sentence.  These two distinct California penal codes are expungements yet there are important distinctions between the two.  These differences dictate the relief provided under each of the respective codes. 

DUI expungements typically fall under 1203.4 as it is uncommon for DUI convictions to spur a non-probation disposition along with a terminal disposition.  The logic in the court taking such an action is to have leverage that encourages the defendant to avoid subsequent criminal activity.  If factual innocence is not proven pursuant to the California’s Penal Code Section 851.8, the state’s penal code 1203.4 is the sole form of relief provided to those found guilty of misdemeanors in the Golden State.  Once an expungement is granted, the subject will be released from penalties and disabilities stemming from the offense that caused the conviction.


If you violate your probation, do not assume it is impossible to have your record expunged.  The court has considerable discretion in terms of granting or denying petitions for PC 1203.4 expungement.  The judge considers a number of factors including but not limited to the following:

  • Your performance during probation
  • Your criminal history
  • The seriousness of the conviction in question
  • Whether you have strong ties to the community
  • Whether your family provides support
  • Your criminal history
  • Additional evidence that indicates the applicant deserves the relief.  As an example, if you have an opportunity to obtain gainful employment, the judge might grant your petition for expungement


A felony conviction that takes place in the last two years precludes the granting of an expungement or even the consideration of your application for expungement.  Such current or recent criminal activities will prevent expungement if the activity in question is considered a felony in the past two years.  Aside from this caveat, there are numerous instances in which our attorneys can work around another criminal conviction. 

As an example, if the attempt to expunge a felony theft case that occurred a long time ago is followed by a conviction for marijuana possession in the past two years, the judge might allow the felony to be expunged from your criminal record.  The judge’s logic in taking such an action is that it might be possible to expunge the new offense at some point down the line.  However, if your record is littered with criminal convictions and you are attempting to clear out multiple crimes, the judge will not view any type of recent criminal activity in a favorable light.


A pardon is a form of forgiveness for a specific crime along with a cancellation of the associated penalty.  The pardoning process is typically performed by a high-ranking government official or the head of state.  Clemency is commonly confused with pardons.  Clemency is similar in that it forgives the crime yet it does not always cancel the full penalty.  

Others confuse commutation and remissions with pardons.  Commutation and remissions decrease the penalty, yet the crime is not forgiven.  The end result of commutation and remissions is still guilt for the crime in question.  Reprieves are sometimes granted yet they are typically a temporary postponement of the punishment.


Pardons, sometimes referred to as Governor’s Pardons, are granted when people demonstrate they have paid their debt to society.  Pardons can also be granted for other reasons.  If the person making the decision determines the person in question is deserving of a pardon following meritorious actions, a pardon might be granted.  Plenty of Presidents issue pardons toward the end of their term to free those who have paid their debt to society.  In some cases, pardons are issued as the supposedly guilty party is determined to have been wrongfully convicted.  If you are interested in a pardon, your first step is to reach out to our record expungement attorneys for assistance. 

Pardons require the completion of a fairly complex application process.  An application for a pardon is not considered unless the individual in question has been discharged from parole or probation for a minimum of a decade without subsequent criminal activity.  This waiting period can be waived in extraordinary circumstances.  As an example, an individual who hires an attorney capable of proving factual innocence will likely be able to bypass the waiting period.  However, the assistance of a record expungement attorney will be necessary to show the nuanced circumstances necessary to justify the need for the pardon.

It is also possible to be pardoned in as few as seven years following release from custody.  If you are provided with a Certificate of Rehabilitation, lean on our attorneys for the pardon application process.  The state of California considers the Certificate of Rehabilitation an application for a pardon in and of itself.  The application for a pardon will not be considered unless the conditions detailed above are met in full.  If you have any questions about the pardoning process, do not give up!  Our record expungement attorneys are here to help ensure you take full advantage of this type of record clearing.


Sealing a criminal record is another highly effective means of preventing others from finding out about your prior transgressions.  There is a significant difference between sealing a criminal record and expunging a criminal record.  Most of those who reach out to our legal office express a desire to seal and destroy their adult criminal record and/or juvenile criminal record.  The sealing and destroying of an arrest record is detailed in California’s SB 383.  Sealing a record is a completely different process compared to expunging a record of a criminal conviction.  You are entitled to have your California arrest record sealed if any of the following apply to your situation:

  • You are arrested yet the prosecutor failed to file criminal charges
  • The conviction is overturned and subsequently dismissed on appeal
  • You were acquitted by a panel of their peers in a jury trial

You successfully completed a diversion program.  As an example, Penal Code 1000’s deferred entry of judgment and Prop 36 drug diversion qualify as program diversions.  Let our record expungement attorney seal your arrest record and you will be able to state in full confidence and with solid legal footing that you have not been arrested for a crime.  You are allowed to make such a statement without violating any laws as the judge is required to declare you as factually innocent when sealing your record.


Sealing a juvenile court record in the state of California gives the petitioner the exact same benefits as sealing an adult record.  You can seal a juvenile arrest record if the following conditions are met:

  • You must currently be of adult age or the juvenile court jurisdiction must have terminated a minimum of half a decade ago
  • There must not be any pending civil litigation connected to the juvenile incident in question
  • You cannot have been convicted of crimes of moral turpitude.  This means any sort of history of criminal activity involving immoral behavior or dishonesty will prevent the sealing of your juvenile arrest record

If you meet the conditions described above, contact our attorneys to get the ball rolling on sealing your juvenile arrest record.  We will fiercely advocate on your behalf to ensure the judge grants the motion for the sealing and destroying of your juvenile arrest.  Once your juvenile arrest record is sealed for three years, it will be destroyed.


Reach out to Record Expungement Attorney and we will start working on clearing your record.  This is the expert legal assistance you need to enjoy a fresh start on life.  Contact us today at 714-587-5907 to coordinate an initial consultation.