Can I get my conviction “expunged?”
If you have successfully completed probation, you can petition the court to set aside a guilty verdict or permit the withdrawal of a “no contest” plea and dismiss the charges against you. However, this does not “expunge” the conviction in the way most people think it does. In fact, there is no such thing as an “expungement” under California law where a conviction is “erased” and removed from your record. Your conviction will always show up on your record. However, seeking to have the conviction set aside does have advantages. Most importantly, a “dismissed” entry will be made on your record and will stand as proof to an employer asking about your history before hiring you that, despite the conviction, you have done everything you can to make things right and get your life back on track. There is more to it than that, which I can explain if you would like to contact me.
Can I get the records of my arrest sealed?
Yes. The way to do it varies depending on your case. For example, if your arrest did not result in a conviction, you have the right to have the record of your arrest sealed, with certain exceptions. If you were convicted of a crime, you don’t have the same right, but you can still petition the court to seal your arrest records “in the interests of justice.” Success on an “interests of justice” petition depends on many things such as whether you have been in trouble before, what you have done with your life since the conviction, and whether you got into trouble while you were on probation if probation was granted to you. The judge hearing your petition will want to know how the conviction is negatively impacting your life and how sealing your arrest records will help you.
What happens if I win my petition to have my arrest records sealed?
The court will send a copy of its order granting you relief to the California Department of Justice to update the arrest record, noting that the arrest is sealed. Records that are sealed under the court’s order, will be disclosed only to you or a criminal justice agency (District Attorney’s Office, police departments, probation and parole offices, etc.) Private employers cannot access the database containing sealed records. So, if you qualify for this relief, you should definitely pursue it. I can help you determine your eligibility and handle your petition for you.