People convicted of a crime may be eligible to petition the court to Expunge their conviction. Attorney Ryan L. Smith can prepare, file, and appear in court for an expungement. He can also help you determine, prior to hiring him, if you seem eligible for expungement, and whether or not it would be discretionary or mandatory upon the court.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO “EXPUNGE” A CONVICTION?
If a conviction is expunged, the person no longer has that conviction, and may legally answer “No” in regard to that conviction if asked if they’ve ever been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony (such as job on: applications, apartment rental applications, loan applications, etc…).
Exception: Expunging a conviction does not relieve one of the obligation to disclose the conviction in response to a question in an application for public office, employment as a police officer, licensure by any state or local agency, or for contracting with the California State Lottery Commission.
After expungement is granted, the charge will still appear on a conviction record, but the word “convicted” will be replaced with the word/s “dismissed” or “dismissed pursuant to Penal Code 1203.4.” Activities the individual was previously prohibited from doing due to the conviction, or items the individual was previously prohibited from possessing, are no longer prohibited after the conviction is expunged.
Exception: Expungement does not affect restrictions regarding possession of firearms, and expungement does not affect obligations and prohibitions regarding sex offender registration. A conviction expunged can still be used as a prior, or as a strike in a new criminal case.
WHO QUALIFIES FOR EXPUNGEMENT?
People may be eligible, and even entitled, to expunge their conviction if they: (1) successfully completed probation for the offense; (2) are not currently charged with any crime, serving a sentence, or on probation; AND (3) either did not serve in a sentence in state prison for the offense, or served in a sentence in state prison for the offense but would have otherwise been able to serve their sentence in county jail had the crime been committed after Prop 47’s realignment implementation. If you are entitled under the law, the court has to grant a properly filed petition.
WHO DOESN’T QUALIFY FOR EXPUNGEMENT?
If someone is currently on probation or serving a sentence (even for a different offense) they are not eligible to expunge their conviction until they are no longer on probation or serving any sentence. If someone failed to complete one or more terms of their sentence, or incurred a probation violation, the court may still grant a properly filed petition, but also has complete discretion to deny the petition, unlike if the person was entitled to relief.
Some felony offenses can never be expunged such as; Possession of Child Pornography, Sodomy with a Child, Lewd Act with a Child, Oral Copulation with a Child, Statutory rape, and several others.