Frequently Asked Questions About Expungements
DUI Expungement Attorneys
What exactly is an expungement?
The California legislature has drafted specific statutes allowing people convicted of certain crimes to have their records "expunged" after their case has been resolved. This law allows our attorneys to file a petition with the court requesting that the court withdraw your finding of guilt, enter a plea of not guilty and have your case dismissed.
Do I need to hire an attorney?
There are several important reasons to have an attorney working for you as you make the commitment to clear your criminal record. First, you want to make sure that your petition is done right the first time so it does not get rejected and cost you months of delay and hundreds of dollars in extra filing fees. Second, you need an attorney on your side to handle any objections from the district attorney. Third, you need an attorney who is able to go to court to argue your case if necessary. Finally, attorneys can be helpful by writing letters to potential employers and explaining to them that your case has been reopened and that you will soon have the conviction off of your record.
Do I have to go to court?
No, we will send one of our attorneys on your behalf. If the judge requests your presence, which is rare, we will request that your attendance be excused.
What will show up when someone does a background check?
The most common background check is a standard commercial background check. When this type of check is performed any expunged conviction or case will not appear. If the employer requires you to submit fingerprints and provide a copy of your CA Dept. of Justice report or submit to a LiveScan, the report will show that there was a case, but it was dismissed and there was no conviction or finding of guilt.
What if I do not know exactly what is on my records?
Our attorneys would be happy to provide you with a Record Analysis Report that would detail every entry on your record and outline every available record clearing service that would benefit you. The cost of the Record Analysis Report ($195).
What kind of criminal convictions can be expunged?
Almost all misdemeanors can be expunged and most felonies can be expunged provided that the Defendant has not served time in state or federal prison. Serving time in county jail will not necessarily disqualify you from a successful expungement.
How does the court decide whether or not grant the expungement?
The court will review your arrest record and the District Attorney will have the right to oppose our petition regarding your case. If you have completed your probation in a satisfactory manner, have not committed any new offenses, and paid all of your fines, the chances of winning your case are extremely high.
Who can see my criminal record?
Criminal records are public records so anyone who wants to access your record may do so. Usually this is done through a commercial background check agency.
Do I ever have to disclose my conviction once it has been expunged?
The only time you will have to disclose your expungement is in three circumstances: contracting with the CA State Lottery Commission, applying for public office, or when applying for a state license.
If I am not a U.S. citizen, can I obtain expungement? If so, will that aid me from being ultimately deported?
Yes this service is available to all people who have been prosecuted under California law. Depending on the crime and circumstances surrounding your crime, obtaining an expungement could definitely help you. Having a clean criminal record is always beneficial.
Does the process erase all records and destroy the court file?
Obtaining an expungement will change the disposition of the case to reflect a dismissal under 1203.4 of the Penal Code. This change will be reflected in the court file. The California Department of Justice and the FBI will then update their files to reflect a new plea of "not guilty" being entered and that the case has been ordered dismissed by the court. However, general commercial background searches, like most private employers conduct, will show no criminal record.
What if I have multiple cases?
That is not a problem. We can help you clear all of your convictions off of your record so long as you meet the necessary criteria. However, expungements can only be obtained on a per case basis so we will have to petition each case individually. But if you sign up for multiple cases we will discount each additional case.
How do I keep track of what is going on with my case?
We have a secure client log in system that you may access once you become a client. You will be issued a username and password that will allow you to log on and see the progress on your case. We will also notify you via email every time your client file is updated in our system. From the online access system you will also be able to view your payment history and any outstanding balance.
Are juvenile records expunged?
No. Juvenile court records can be sealed if a petition is filed by either the subject of the records or by the probation department. Application may be made five years after the termination of juvenile court jurisdiction or when the subject of the records reaches age 18, whichever is earlier. To be eligible for relief (sealing), the individual must not have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude and there must be no pending civil litigation concerning the incident. Relief consists of sealing of arrest and other records, papers and exhibits. Once the records are sealed, the proceedings shall be deemed to never have occurred, and the person may reply accordingly to any inquiry.
Are records ever “automatically” expunged?
No, in order to expunge your record you must petition the court through a 1203.4 Motion. This will be heard before the court and is at the discretion of the judicial officer (not automatic).
Can an expungement be denied?
After filing a 1203.4 motion for expungement it cannot be denied if you have met all the eligibility requirements. There are a few instances where the motion can be denied. It could be opposed by the prosecution or probation department or due to lack of payment of court fines and fees and if probationer violated too often while under probation.
Can previously sealed records ever be unsealed?
No. Under only rare circumstances and good cause brought by law enforcement. Law enforcement will be able to see your sealed records however a private party will not be able to see the previous conviction.
If my record is expunged, do I ever have to admit that I have a criminal record?
No, after an expungement is granted you will not have a record of a conviction. Your arrest will still be on record but the conviction will be changed from “guilty” to “not guilty”. Therefore you can truthfully state that you have not been convicted of a crime. However, an arrest record will still be there. An arrest record cannot be erased unless there is a factual finding of innocence by a judicial officer.
What are the basic qualifications for an expungement?
In order to be successful in petitioning the court for an expungement under PC 1203.4, you must have paid your fines to the court, have fulfilled your community service requirements, have not violated any terms of your probation and have no open cases are pending against you. If probation has been successfully completed or terminated early and the defendant is not serving a sentence or on probation or have been charged with any offense, relief "shall" be granted.
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