Navigating the Process of Obtaining an Expungement for a Criminal Case in California
Obtaining a criminal expungement for a misdemeanor or felony case in California can be a complex process, but it can also be a valuable tool for individuals looking to move on from past mistakes. In this blog post, we will discuss the steps involved in obtaining a criminal expungement in California, as well as some of the benefits of doing so.
What is a criminal expungement?
A criminal expungement is a legal process that allows individuals to have certain criminal convictions removed from their record. In California, an expungement can be granted for either a misdemeanor or a felony conviction. Once a conviction has been expunged, it is treated as if it never occurred and the individual is no longer required to disclose the conviction on job applications or other official documents.
Eligibility for a criminal expungement in California
To be eligible for a criminal expungement in California, an individual must have completed their sentence and not be currently serving a sentence or on probation for another offense. In addition, the individual must not have any pending criminal charges.
The Process of Obtaining a Criminal Expungement in California
File a Petition for Expungement: The first step in the expungement process is to file a petition for expungement with the court where the conviction occurred. This can typically be done by submitting a form, along with the filing fee, to the court clerk.
Notify the District Attorney/City Attorney: The next step is to notify the district attorney's office of the pending expungement petition. The district attorney has the opportunity to object to the expungement if they believe it is not in the best interest of justice.
Attend a hearing: If the district attorney/city attorney does not object to the expungement, the case may not be set for a official hearing. Otherwise, individual seeking the expungement must attend this hearing and present evidence in support of their petition.
Wait for a decision: After the hearing, the judge will review the evidence and make a decision on the petition. If the petition is granted, the conviction will be expunged from the individual's record. It typically takes 3-8 months before a decision is made by the Court.
Benefits of Obtaining a Criminal Expungement
Improved job opportunities: Having a criminal conviction on your record can make it difficult to find employment. An expungement can remove this barrier and open up new job opportunities.
Improved housing options: Landlords and property managers often conduct background checks on prospective tenants. A criminal conviction can make it difficult to find a place to live. An expungement can remove this barrier and open up new housing options.
Improved professional opportunities: Certain professions, such as teaching or nursing, have strict background check requirements. A criminal conviction can make it difficult to enter these fields. An expungement can remove this barrier and open up new professional opportunities.
Improved mental and emotional well-being: Carrying around the weight of a criminal conviction can take a toll on an individual's mental and emotional well-being. An expungement can provide a sense of closure and allow an individual to move forward with their life.
In conclusion, obtaining a criminal expungement for a misdemeanor case in California can be a complex process, but it can also be a valuable tool for individuals looking to move on from past mistakes. It is important to consult with an attorney to understand the eligibility criteria and the process of obtaining a criminal expungement.
*It is important to note that the legal landscape in California is vast and varied, with each county having its own set of rules and procedures. While the overall structure of the criminal justice system may be consistent throughout the state, the nuances and specificities of each county's legal system can greatly impact the outcome of a case. It is crucial to be aware of these variations and to work with an attorney who is familiar with the particularities of the county in question. Please reach out if you need assistance with an expungement or early termination of probation, or both, in San Diego, California.
- Monty Randhawa, Criminal Defense Trial Attorney