WHAT IS RECORD CLEARING / RECORD EXPUNGEMENT IN ORANGE COUNTY?
In Orange County, filing for an expungement is the process of petitioning the court to re-open your case, and either have it dismissed, or have your guilty verdict set aside. This can be done whether you plead guilty, or were found guilty at trial. The primary California Penal Code that governs expungements is PC 1203.4. If your expungement is granted, your record will read that the case was “dismissed pursuant to Penal Code 1203.4”, rather than stating that you were convicted. This will allow you to truthfully state on any job application that you have not been convicted of the crime. Additionally, the expunged conviction will not show up on nearly all background checks.
Generally, you will be eligible to file for an expungement under PC 1203.4, if you meet the following conditions:
- Your underlying offense occurred in state court, as opposed to federal;
- You didn’t serve a state prison bid as a result of your conviction (county jail time is okay);
- You have successfully completed the terms of your Probation;
- You do not have an open criminal case; and
- You are not serving a term of probation for a subsequent offense.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO TODAY IF YOU DIDN'T HAVE A CRIMINAL CONVICTION ON YOUR RECORD?
JUST IMAGINE THE OPPORTUNITIES! …PUT THE PAST BEHIND FOR GOOD
- Career Opportunities
- Naturalization / Immigration
- Education Opportunities
- Dream Act
PUT A STOP TO BACKGROUND CHECK COMPANIES DISCLOSING YOUR SEALED RECORDS
EVEN IF YOU HAVE MULTIPLE CONVICTIONS ON YOUR RECORD, YOU ARE STILL ELIGIBLE FOR EXPUNGEMENT!
We can file a petition for dismissal for each of your convictions. They must each be filed separately at the courts in which the cases originated. Our firm will handle each expungement as a separate case. However, if we are retained to expunge multiple convictions, the fees for all subsequent convictions will be significantly discounted.
- Our firm uses case Management software that will allow you to access your file 24/7. You will be able to receive live updates and information regarding your case.
- We will prepare all of the required documents and file them with the appropriate court.
- We will respond to any opposition put forth the by the prosecuting attorney.
- We will appear at the court hearing on your behalf to argue your case in front of the Judge. In very rare circumstances, you may be required to attend your hearing.
- In most cases, the entire process can be completed, and your conviction will be expunged, in just a couple of months.
SEALING YOUR CRIMINAL RECORD VS. EXPUNGEMENT IN ORANGE COUNTY
An expungement will not necessarily clear your arrest record. Some of our clients were arrested, but never formally charged in court. If you find yourself in this situation, ask one of our attorneys about sealing your record. With the recent passing of Senate Bill 393, there are more opportunities than ever to have your arrest record sealed.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO SEAL YOUR CRIMINAL ARREST RECORD IN ORANGE COUNTY?
Sealing your record prevents nearly any agency from accessing it, or using it to your detriment. This means potential employers will not be able to look into these records during the hiring process. Additionally, they will not show up in background checks.
WHAT RECORDS DO SHOW UP ON BACKGROUND CHECKS IN ORANGE COUNTY?
The simple answer, is that it really depends. Different background checking agencies use different levels of sophistication. The type of job you are applying for, or the reason the background check, will generally dictate the level of sophistication.
Determining what will actually show on your specific background check can be quite complex. If you have specific questions, it is always best to consult with one of our attorneys. However, the following scenarios can provide some general guidance. The following information relates to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the law that regulates background checks, and is provided for informational purposes only.
Non- Convictions that are less that seven (7) years old. “Non-Convictions” include: cases that never formally filed in court, cases that were dismissed, not guilty verdicts, deferred entry of judgment, and diversion programs.
Pursuant to the FCRA, these records can be reported on background checks.
Non-Convictions that are more than seven (7) years old.
These records should not be reflected on most background checks.
Convictions. Under the FCRA, these records can technically be reported forever. For this reason, if you have a conviction on your record, it is always best to consult with one of our attorneys to determine what can be done to have it expunged.
Non-Convictions that somehow become convictions. In some cases, you may have been given a deferred entry of judgment, or diversion program. If you violate the terms, you can then be convicted. If you are convicted, it would be reportable just as in Scenario Three.
Sealed and Expunged Records. If already sealed or expunged at the time of your background check, these records would not appear.
ORANGE COUNTY EXPUNGEMENT – RELEVANT LAWS
- California Penal Code 1203.4 – Allows individuals convicted of various infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies to petition the court for dismissal of their case. This is the foundational expungement statute applicable to clearing your record. PC 1203.4 also outlines the exceptions and guidelines that determine eligibility for expungement.
- California Penal Code 1203.3 – Allows individuals who received probation as part of their sentence, to request that the court terminate their probationary period earlier than it was originally set to expire. Often times, this must be done in order to have your record expunged. Generally speaking, the court will not grant your expungement if you are currently on probation. However, a request for early termination of probation can be filed at the same time as your expungement. This means the court can grant both at the same time. It is important to contact an experienced expungement attorney who can advise you as to the proper time to file for early termination of probation.
- California Penal Code 17(b) – Allows individuals convicted of certain felonies to have the court reduce the convictions to misdemeanors. Certain offenses can be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors; these offenses are commonly referred to as “wobbler” offenses. If you have a felony conviction on your record, it is important to consult with an experienced expungement attorney to determine if your conviction can be reduced. If your offense is eligible for a 17(b) reduction, there are a number of benefits to filing a 17(b) along with your expungement.
- California Penal Code 851.8 / Senate Bill 393 – Allows individuals that have been arrested, but not convicted of a criminal offense, to have their arrest record sealed and destroyed. It is applicable if you were arrested and: not charged with a crime; found innocent after trial; or if you completed a diversion program.
- California Penal Code 4852.01 – This statute governs eligibility for obtaining a certificate of rehabilitation. It allows individuals who have served state prison time to petition for a certificate of rehabilitation.
- Assembly Bill 2582 – After this Bill passed in 2011, most California infractions became eligible for Expungement under PC 1203.4.
- Welfare & Institutions Codes 781, 1772, & 707(b) – These statutes govern record sealing and expungements for juvenile offenses.
- California Proposition 36 and Penal Code 1210.1 – Commonly referred to as the Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act, this law replaced incarceration with probation and/or drug treatment for many non-violent drug offenses. After its passing, many more drug convictions became eligible for expungement.
- California Penal Code 1000 – A diversion program available for certain drug offenses. Upon successful completion of PC 1000, your case will be dismissed. There will be no need to expunge your conviction, but you should seal your arrest record under SB 393.
THE BENEFITS OF RECORD EXPUNGEMENT IN ORANGE COUNTY
There are a number of benefits to clearing your criminal record under California Penal Code 1203.4. Some of the more common include:
- Help with applying for, or obtaining, a job;
- Help with acquiring various state / professional licenses;
- Help with getting into various organizations;
- Help with applying for, and being accepted into schools and universities;
- Peace of mind.
APPLYING TO A NEW JOB
For many of our clients, difficulty finding employment, or advancing their career, is the main reason as to why they are seeking an expungement. With the rise of the internet, it has become common practice for nearly every employer to conduct a full background check. In most cases, these checks will uncover prior convictions, warrants, and arrests. Additionally, many job applications specifically ask the prospective employee if they have any criminal convictions on their record.
Even if you have previously convicted of a crime, if the conviction has been expunged, you can truthfully state on your application that you have not previously been convicted. Moreover, your prospective employer cannot consider your expunged conviction when determining whether or not to hire you.
STATE / PROFESSIONAL LICENSES
Many of our clients have, or are pursuing, careers that require professional licenses with various state boards and agencies. Expunging your record is often times the difference in being able to obtain one of these licenses. Most agencies look favorably upon the fact that you have taken action to clear your record prior to applying for a license.
Even organizations that do not require professional licenses will often conduct background checks on applicants. As noted above, a PC 1203.4 expungement will allow you to truthfully answer that you have not been convicted of a crime.
COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
Just like in job applications, most college and graduate school applications inquire into the applicant’s criminal history. To give yourself the best chance at being admitted, it is important to consult with one of our experienced attorneys as to how the application should be completed. In most cases, you will not have to disclose your conviction if it has been expunged.
PEACE OF MIND
Having a criminal conviction on your record can be very stressful. A PC 1203.4 expungement can help in bringing a sense of closure to your case, and putting it all behind you. Additionally, most people will find themselves in one of the positions discussed above within a few years of their conviction. Don’t wait until you are applying to jobs before you start thinking about the expungement process. It is best to have your record cleared sooner rather than later so that you don’t find yourself in a time sensitive situation.
UNDERSTANDING WHAT AN EXPUNGEMENT DOES NOT DO
At The Record Expungement Attorney Law Firm, we will be very up front with you in regard to what an expungement does not do for you. Understanding the limitations to an expungement is essential in determining whether or not an expungement is the right avenue for you. These include:
- An expungement will not erase all records of your criminal case. It will show that your case was dismissed, or that your verdict after trial has been set aside.
- There are some state licensing boards you are still required to disclose your conviction to, even after an expungement. These include, public office positions, and positions with the state lottery.
- An expunged conviction can still be considered a “priorable” offense. Some crimes become more severe if you commit them multiple times. An expunged conviction can still be considered if you commit the offense again.
- An expungement alone cannot reinstate your right to possess a firearm. If you are a convicted felon, and you cannot possess a firearm, an expungement cannot reinstate your ability to do so. However, it is important to consult with one of our attorneys, as there may be other avenues to reacquire your 2nd Amendment rights.
- An expungement will not end your duty to register as a sex offender if your conviction requires you to do so.
THE PROPER TIME TO FILE FOR AN EXPUNGEMENT
Assuming you meet the eligibility requirements discussed above, you can file fir an expungement as soon as you have completed your probationary period. Keep in mind that in many cases, even if you are still on probation, your attorney can petition to have your probation terminated early. Your expungement can often be filed jointly with your motion for early termination of probation.
If you are filing under 123.42, because you served time in state prison prior to Prop 47, keep in mind that at least two (2) years must have passed since you completed your sentence.
Because time is usually a factor in expungement cases, it is important to have an attorney who focuses primarily on expungements. Understanding when multiple motions can be filed together can be the difference in meeting deadlines with regard to upcoming job applications and background checks.
If you or someone you know has a criminal record that is holding them back, it is essential that you contact our office as soon as possible. Our firm will provide you with a completely free consultation to help you determine if you are eligible for expungement. Even if you are not, we may be able to assist you in other ways. We may be able to reduce your felony to a misdemeanor, or terminate your probation early. Even if you were not convicted, or if a case was never filed against you, we may be able to assist you in sealing your arrest record. Contacting our office may make the difference in you advancing your career, or passing an upcoming background check.
At The Record Expungement Attorney Law Firm, one of our experienced attorneys will meet with you directly, in the confidentiality of our office, to determine what avenue of relief will be best for you. Once we have made that determination, we will draft and file all of the necessary paperwork for you. In most cases, you will not even have to attend any court hearing with us. Our goal is to make the expungement process go as smoothly as possible for you.