Will I Ever Have To Go To Court To Seek An Expungement?

An expungement involves dismissing your case. After you finish your probation, you become eligible for expungement. You cannot dismiss or expunge your case; you're not eligible. An expungement in California does not wipe your criminal record clean. Even though you may get your expungement granted, it still shows on your paper that you had the case and that it got dismissed. An expungement in California is a dismissal, which is the term used on the paperwork.

You have to be able to show the judges that you completed all the terms and conditions of your probation successfully and that you're no longer on probation. Then, you can file paperwork, pay a fee, and the judge will rule on it.

Expungement in California

A letter will be sent to you saying whether or not your expungement was granted. If it was given, you're able to say on a job application that you were acquitted of the crime because it will read as dismissed. There are exceptions, including running for public office and seeking a state license. You should consult with your attorney if you're unsure.

Your best bet is to hire an attorney to deal with your expungement matter to do it the right way. If you've got a felony conviction, you can often apply to have the case reduced to a misdemeanor and then try to get it expunged. If you get a felony expunged and try to reduce it to a misdemeanor, you might have a problem because the judge may not see the point.

The way you should do it is to hire an attorney or use the attorney who handled your case for you and let them deal with the expungement. You don't necessarily have to go to court. You have to fill the form the right way with the clerk, pay the fee, serve a copy to the prosecuting agency, and then the judge will rule on it.

You'll get a notice in the mail about the judge's ruling. You want to make sure that expungement is the best vehicle for you to use to deal with your case before filing. For example, for immigration purposes, expungement will not help you. It doesn't remove the conviction for immigration. You would want to speak to your attorney about seeking some other remedy. Our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys will explain further below.

What Are The Main Reasons An Expungement Would Be Denied?

If you were not placed on probation but instead were sent to prison in your underlying case, you would not be eligible to get your felony expunged or get your felony reduced down to a misdemeanor. Another reason an expungement attempt would be denied would be that you haven't completed your probation. In that scenario, you'd have to file a motion to terminate your probation early, and if the judge granted it, you could do the expungement.

Other examples of expungement being denied could be that you violated the terms and conditions of your probation. You didn't do something you were supposed to do, or you picked up a new criminal case while on probation. The point of the expungement is to argue that you got a criminal conviction, but you finished probation flawlessly. If you weren't all that compliant on your probation, it could be a reason to deny your request for expungement.

I've had cases where my client has violated their probation and eventually completed it. If you've had a violation, all is not lost. The key is that you are done with probation. You complied with all the terms and conditions of probation, and you've completed everything you were supposed to. It helps if there has been a gap of time after your probation where you didn't get in trouble.

If your conviction were a strike, that strike would be with you forever. That's why it's so important not to plead to strikes because you cannot get rid of them if you stay in California. You also can't reduce strikes down a misdemeanor most of the time. You have a felony on your record forever. You can't vote or possess weapons, and several other rights are taken away from you.