Many ex-offenders find it difficult to advance and enjoy a free and productive life because of their criminal records. A former offender, for instance, is considerably less likely to receive a job compared to a non-offender, even if they match all of the standards. Furthermore, they are still stigmatized as offenders even after serving their sentences, which is unjust.

These individuals made restitution to society. They ought to be able to thrive as the rest of the public. Hiring a lawyer can help you secure an expungement of your criminal records, allowing you to pursue your aspirations while simultaneously providing for your family. This blog covers the definition of expungement under the law and the benefits of having a California criminal record expunged.

Expungement Under California Law

Expungement is described under California's PC 1203.4 as a legal procedure through which a defendant is freed of all the negative repercussions and penalties associated with a conviction. AB 1008 of the Ban the Box bill prohibits businesses from requesting applicants' criminal background information except if they are offered conditional employment. An evaluation of the people applying should be individually tailored and centered on merits before actually denying them the opportunities due to a criminal record.

After your records have been expunged, your employer or manager can still have access to your criminal history. However, he or she cannot use the information as grounds for refusing to accept your job application even after making a limited job offer. In addition, a clean record shows a prospective landlord, employer, or a licensing board that you've never been apprehended, accused, or convicted of an offense without violating the law.

Even after marijuana usage was legalized, the Department of Justice was entrusted with evaluating and expunging the records of previous cannabis offenses because the substance was no longer illicit. In this case, you don't have to seek an expungement since your marijuana conviction has been erased from your record.

Qualifying For an Expungement

California's PC 1230.4 outlines the standards that should be fulfilled when filing an expungement petition. The following are the prerequisites for expunging a felony or misdemeanor:

  • You shouldn't have been imprisoned for the crime in state prison

  • You should not be currently facing criminal charges, doing probation time, or serving jail time as a result of a probation violation

  • You should have acquired an early notice of probation termination or have completed your probation period

  • The violation must be a misdemeanor offense or a felony that should have been tried as a misdemeanor to be removed from your record

  • You should have paid up all of your court fees, fines, and recompense for the underlying offense

It's worth mentioning that if you've been convicted of a felony and served a jail or prison sentence, you won't be eligible for expunction. Furthermore, if the underlying offense is a sexual crime against a child or a traffic violation, you will not be eligible for expungement.

Also, even if you did a jail term, you can be eligible for an expungement if the offense was committed after the enactment of Prop 47. The following exceptions should be available for your crime to be admissible under Realignment law. You should not be:

  • Currently serving a sentence

  • Be on probation

  • Be accused of any type of criminal offense

Completing your probation term implies that you have met all of the court's obligations for the program, such as paying court fees and fines, community service, completion of counseling programs, and victim recompense. If you're currently accused of an offense or your lawyer missed court while you were on parole, it will not be considered successful completion.

However, you can still breach ome conditions of probation and still be able to qualify for an expunction if you receive a special hearing from the courts to decide your candidature. On the other hand, even if a judge finds you eligible, your record will not be expunged if you have already served a jail term for a sexual offense involving a minor. These sexual offenses can prevent you from receiving an expungement:

  • Sodomy with a minor, as defined by PC 286(c)

  • Statutory rape as per PC 261.5(d)

  • Lewd act with a minor as per PC 288

  • Oral copulation with a minor, as defined by PC 288(c)

Benefits of an Expungement

There are numerous advantages to having your criminal record expunged under PC 1203.4. These are the advantages:

Ease of Securing a Job

Before employing any job candidate, most, if not all, employers conduct background checks. These background checks reveal a great deal of information, such as a defendant's arrest, conviction, and probation status. Recruiters inquire if job candidates have ever been accused or convicted of an offense. Reporting someone who has committed an offense can make it difficult for him or her to secure a decent job.

An expunged criminal record is not required to be revealed to prospective employers during a job application or interview. Furthermore, an individual who has had their record expunged is legally permitted to reply "NO" when asked if they have been charged or convicted of an offense. This enables an individual to freely seek jobs without fear of being rejected due to prior criminal history, hence enhancing their viability and chances of securing a job.

A private employer is prohibited by law from inquiring about any misdemeanor conviction dropped under 1203.4. According to California legislation PC 1203.4, it is illegal for an employer or any other covered institution to request or obtain information about an applicant on:

  • Any detention or arrest which didn't result in a conviction

  • Any sentence for which the records have been ordered to be expunged, sealed, or statutorily erased by the judiciary, for instance, a juvenile offense record sealed following the provisions of Welfare and Institutions Code 389 and PC Sections 1203.45 or 851.7

  • Any misdemeanor crimes for which probationary period has been completed and/or released and the lawsuit has been lawfully dismissed according to the terms to PC Section 1203.4, or any sentence for which the records have been lawfully sealed or expunged

  • Any arrest where a pretrial diversion program has been completed per PC Sections 1001.5 and 1000.5.

As a result, if a record has been discharged or sealed by the court, an employer is prohibited from inquiring about it. It's worth noting that if an employer breaks this law on purpose, it's considered a crime. Again, if the defendant files a lawsuit against the recruiting institution or employer, he or she could be fined up to five hundred dollars in fine or damages, plus the attorney's expenses.

Credibility as a Court Witness

An expungement of a criminal record helps prevent prior allegations and/or sentences from being used as evidence against one's integrity in some proceedings. Convictions, in general, throw a pall on an individual's overall character, particularly for witnesses in courts. Nonetheless, an expunged record can't be used in court to cast doubt on the reliability of a witness.

For instance, if a witness with a felony record testifies in a California court, the opposing side could cite the conviction as a point of contention. It is, however, illegal to question a witness' integrity in the event of erased records.

This expungement advantage can be extremely beneficial if you, for instance, sue somebody or are dragged into court for damages in a civil dispute and your testimony is crucial to the verdict.

Helps You Acquire State Licenses

It is much easier to obtain state professional licenses after your criminal conviction has been cleared. Even if your criminal record has been expunged, you should still report it to the appropriate state licensing body. However, if the preceding criminal background was successfully deleted or cleaned from the files by an expunction, the licensing agency will have to overlook it.

Criminal records appear better if they have been expunged since it indicates that the prosecutor and the judge who resolved to cancel the first plea and drop the case undertook extensive vetting. As a result, the licensing authority considering the offender's request for a professional license to practice medicine, law, or any other specialty will perceive him or her as an ethical individual who is likely to maintain the domain's ideals, and so is likely to grant the license. Completion of the defendant's probation sentence and expungement process will improve his or her chances of getting the license.

Although expungement can assist you in obtaining a state license, it has limitations that need the use of a rehabilitation certificate. Even though you have a criminal history, the certificate shows that you have completed rehabilitation. Many benefits, such as the automatic appeal of the Governor's amnesty, are available with the documents. Furthermore, no one will refuse you a position as a state expert because of your record.

Personal Fulfillment

An expungement brings a sense of comfort and satisfaction to the individual. Although it doesn't erase the reality that you committed crimes and were convicted, it can provide a sense of peace and redemption to a difficult and frustrating phase of life. You have better comfort knowing that the offenses you committed have been wiped out and that the remainder of your life will be free of crime.

You Can Easily Join a Professional Organization's Faculty

Several professional organizations, like businesses, conduct background checks on those who wish to join or occupy posts in their institution. With an erased criminal record, the influence of your former sentences will be greatly reduced, increasing your odds of landing the desired job or membership in a professional organization.

When someone does a background check, your erased conviction will not appear in the public registry. Instead, a discharge appears because, after the records are expunged, an updated dataset will indicate no convictions.

Ease in Fostering and Adoption to Expand or Start a Family

Through fostering or adoption, you can build or grow your family after an expunction of your record. The Department of Human Services conducts criminal background checks on prospective foster parents to see if they have a criminal history. A criminal record can be an obstacle, that's why you should engage an expungement attorney to cleanse your records. That way, your convictions won't prevent you from adopting or fostering a child, enabling you to expand your family.

Enhanced Housing Options

When renting or leasing an apartment, most landlords will ask you to complete an application form that requires you to unveil if you have any criminal record. Some will conduct background investigations, and if they discover you have a criminal history, they could refuse to lease or rent to you, notwithstanding when the offense occurred.

However, following an expunction, your records will appear clean, and property owners will never realize they are renting to someone with a criminal record. An expungement will provide you with more housing possibilities, allowing you and your family to live comfortably.

Integrate Back to Society

Rehabilitated offenders can return to their normal lives. Even if you have been reformed, a criminal conviction comes with a lot of baggage. When people learn about your criminal history, they will automatically condemn you for having been charged with and sentenced for a certain offense. However, by erasing your record, you don't have to be concerned about others discovering your criminal past, making it easier to integrate into society. You don't have to hide because of the concerns that other people will learn about your convictions.

Expungement gives you peace of mind knowing that you have been rehabilitated, and it corresponds to what others who undertake background investigations find.

Enhanced Educational Opportunities

If you want to advance your profession, a criminal history can be a big obstacle since several graduate schools will not accept you if you do have one. These courses are extremely competitive, and a criminal background could prevent you from being accepted. If you get an expungement, however, your records will be covered, which means you'll have the same opportunity as the other candidates to get into college.

Find an Los Angeles Expungement Attorney Near Me

Having your criminal record expunged can give you peace of mind and help you to move on with your life without being tormented by the past. If you live in Los Angeles and are interested in having your criminal record expunged or to know more about the procedures, please contact our legal team at Record Expungement Attorney. We have helped many people enjoy the benefits of expungement in the past, and we are eager to help you too. Call 424-286-1516 right now for a free consultation and case evaluation.