An expungement is really the dismissal of the charges that led to conviction. This can be done whether the conviction was due to an adverse verdict in a trial, or through a plea bargain. The effect of an expungement is that the record of conviction is changed to show that the charge was dismissed pursuant to PC 1203.4. Although the record of the charge remains, the record will reflect that the charge was dismissed. There are several benefits to having a conviction expunged, such as
You can tell potential private employers that you have never been convicted of a crime.
You may become eligible for professional license or be permitted to retain a currently held professional license.
You may become eligible for a bank or student loan.
An expungement does not completely wipe away a conviction.
If the conviction was a “priorable” offense, meaning a subsequent conviction’s punishment for the particular crime is increased, an expungement will not alter or reduce that subsequently increased punishment.
An expungement will not remove you from the “sex offender” list.
You will have to admit the conviction when applying for certain government jobs.
Most crimes can be expunged so long as a state prison sentence was not imposed. If the conviction was for a felony, the process is similar. First you should try to reduce it to a misdemeanor. This is possible, so long as the felony was a “wobbler,” meaning it could have been charged as a misdemeanor. There can have been no prison commitment, even if such a commitment was suspended. Jail time served as part of a probation sentence is ok. If no probation was granted, you have to wait at least a year from the “judgment” for a misdemeanor and not have broken any laws in that time. If it was a felony without probation, it’s a year from the end of mandatory supervision, or 2 years from getting out of jail.
If a reduction from felony to a misdemeanor is possible, it may restore gun rights. Any felony conviction carries a lifetime weapons ban. Thus, if the charges are reduced and/or expunged, the ban may be lifted. This is not true for all crimes.
Certain sex crimes committed against minors cannot be expunged. For this you would need a certificate of rehabilitation and Governor’s pardon – difficult to obtain, but possible in some cases. Further, in order to be eligible to petition for an expungement, you cannot have an open case pending against you, or be on probation in any matter.
If the case you want to expunge is over, and probation was not violated, then the likelihood of getting a dismissal is very good. If, however, there were violations to probation, the expungement will only be granted “in the interests of justice” unless probation was terminated early. In other words, it is discretionary to the judge whether to allow the expungement. Typically, there is a hearing and the prosecution is heard as to whether to allow the dismissal or not. A skillful lawyer like Criminal Defense Attorney Peter Sebastian can argue your case to the judge, however, and your chances hugely increase. In fact, attempting an expungement on your own is more likely to be a waste of your time since you cannot negotiate with the prosecution who will probably oppose it. Nor will you be able to make a compelling argument to the judge as to why your expungement should be granted.
Contact Los Angeles Expungement Attorney Peter Sebastian. His extensive experience in criminal law and his rapport with prosecutors gives him a huge advantage in obtaining expungements.
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