When facing criminal charges in California, much of the anxiety and fear you experience often revolves around the aftermath of a conviction. Everyone loves their freedom. The thought of your freedom being restricted or taken away is quite incomprehensible. Unfortunately, defendants must come to terms with this truth when fighting a criminal offense in court. You could go to jail or prison if you are found guilty of a criminal offense. You could lose your freedom for months or even years.
If you are convicted of a criminal offense, you will not be the only one experiencing terror or worry. Your family will feel it too. For instance, if one parent is sentenced to jail, the remaining parent becomes the family's sole supporter. It could be worse if you were the only one taking care of your elderly parents. Your elderly parents would be forced to pay for assistance or move into a home for the elderly. Therefore, the effects of a conviction for a crime committed befall the defendant and everyone around them.
After A Criminal Conviction
You will end up with a criminal record after a conviction. Your criminal record would impose severe collateral consequences that could affect your life long after serving your sentence or any other penalty the court imposes. If the court convicts you of a criminal offense in California, you could face intimidating statutory repercussions, most of which are hard to move past. The collateral consequences you could face in a criminal conviction include:
Difficulty maintaining your current job.
Loss of driving privileges
Difficulty obtaining a loan
Problems with child custody
Required registration as a sex offender
Depending on the classification and nature of your crime, any of the above consequences could apply. In addition, federal or California law charges certain collateral consequences. This is why you need to contact a competent expungement attorney to help you avoid a criminal conviction or reduce the potential consequences.
The typical consequences of a criminal conviction in California could include:
Ineligibility To Obtain A Professional License
To obtain a professional license in California, such as lawyer, physician, dentist, or doctor, you must show good character. You must also avoid anything that could compromise your ability to uphold the profession's ethical standards. For example, if you once faced a conviction for any crime, you will not obtain a professional license in California because your criminal record would testify against you. If you can still uphold the required standards despite your criminal record, you must provide additional proof to convince parties that deny or approve professional licenses.
Your licensing board or agency will be notified if you have any criminal conviction within California for a felony or misdemeanor. If you are charged with a crime, certain circumstances require you to notify your licensing authority. Action will be taken against your professional license following your conviction. Therefore, even a crimnal conviction for a seemingly minor offense could adversely affect your occupational or professional license.
Certain crimes like domestic violence or driving under the influence are considered to affect your duties or functions as a professional directly. You could face negative consequences after suspension or revocation of your professional license in California. For instance, if a dentist or physician pleads guilty or no contest in a criminal case, their malpractice insurance could become costly or challenging to renew. Some insurance service providers could also withdraw the defendant’s insurance coverage. The National Providers Data Bank could also list the defendant’s criminal conviction, making potential clients question the defendant’s reliability.
Possibility Of Losing A Business
Your competitors in businesses like mortgage brokering or real estate sales would ensure that clients know about your licensing problems. This would give them a competitive edge in these highly competitive industries in California. Currently, most agencies and licensing boards post final determinations and pending actions online. With a few strokes of the keyboard, anyone could view your status and license history online. In addition, you must reveal all prior license disciplines on any future license application, anywhere within California or in another state. Failure to disclose your previous license disciplines could form a basis for the revocation of a professional license. Non-disclosure could also be a separate basis to deny the defendant a new business license.
Ineligibility For Promotion Or Getting A Job
In California, any person seeking a job is subject to background checks and disclosures. You will be an unattractive candidate for corporate or government positions if the court convicts you of a crime, especially a white-collar crime. Even if the law prohibits employers from discriminating against former criminal convicts, it would be difficult for you to form professional relationships or be promoted at the workplace once your employer learns of your past criminal record. Your employer could assume that you have not yet reformed.
Limitations To Owning A Gun
If the court convicts you of a felony in California, you would not be allowed to possess, buy, own, or receive a gun. If you are convicted of certain misdemeanors, you could be forced to surrender your gun ownership rights as well. Surrendering your gun rights means that you will not be allowed to possess firearms you used previously for hunting or other hobbies. For example, a defendant will not hold rifles or keep antiques they owned or inherited. The court could also impose a life ban on felonies and other severe crimes on gun ownership. Fortunately, some misdemeanors are lenient, as you could only face a 10-year ban on gun ownership.
A Permanent Criminal Record
You will have a permanent criminal record once the court convicts you of a crime. The fact that you are charged and sentenced for a crime will always be there, whether online or on paper. Your permanent criminal record will appear any time someone runs a background check on you. You will have to admit or disclose your past conviction when filling out an application for your dream job. You could think of having your criminal record expunged or sealed, but this provision is only allowable in some cases. To qualify for expungement and sealing your criminal conviction, you should not have served a sentence in state prison.
Ineligibility To Rent A House Or An Apartment
Many property owners in California are wary of renting to people with a criminal record, even if it is unlawful for them to discriminate against past convictions. It is against the law to discriminate against a tenant even if he/she was convicted of a drug-related or violent crime. Your options for safe and affordable housing dwindle if you are continuously denied housing. This situation could hurt you or your family's emotional and physical well-being.
Ineligibility To Vote
Most people take their right to vote for granted until that time when it is taken away from them. For example, if the court convicts you of a felony in California, you would generally lose your voting right while in prison, jail, on parole, or mandatory supervision or post-release community. However, you could still vote again if you are on supervised probation or have completed parole.
Ineligibility To Apply For Graduate Programs and Colleges
Under California law, you could attend college and graduate school despite your criminal record. Unfortunately, disclosing your criminal record on a college or graduate program application could be detrimental and embarrassing. Your criminal background could taint your essay, grades, and other recommendations even if you are an excellent candidate for the school. On the other hand, you could later face disciplinary issues, or your application could be rejected if you fail to disclose your criminal record.
A criminal conviction may hinder you from taking the next step in your immigration journey if you are convicted of any crime while on a green card or visa. You could lose your visa or be denied renewal because of the conviction. You could also face immigration restrictions if you were trying to obtain a green card and become a permanent resident in the United States. Certain crimes, especially crimes of moral turpitude, could make it impossible to be a citizen in the United States.
Prohibition From Living In Specific Regions
A prohibition from appearing or living in specific regions is also a possible consequence of a criminal conviction. At times, the court could draw a list of localities you are not supposed to visit. Often, the court will restrict you based on the distance from where you committed the crime.
Ineligibility To Adopting Children
If you face a conviction for a misdemeanor or felony crime in California involving a family, the law does not allow you to adopt a child. The state statutes also prohibit any person from adopting a child if he/she commits a crime involving alcohol within ten years of committing another crime. Alcohol crimes violate California’s Controlled Substance Act. You could also be ineligible to adopt a child if you let a child access a firearm.
Loss Of Right To Hold Public Office
California's public offices include local employment, municipal, and state offices. In addition, administrative, judicial, appointive, and elective offices fall under public offices. The consequences of a criminal conviction on a public officer's status could be twofold. First, a criminal conviction could lead to the office you hold forfeiture. Second, a criminal conviction could render you ineligible for public office.
You could lose your right to hold public office in several ways. Losing your right could be a disciplinary sanction, a further collateral consequence, or a declaration by the court. Individuals who conflict with the laws in California are not allowed to represent and serve the State. In most states in the United States, ineligibility to hold public office is a specific punishment imposed only on public officers. The sentence mainly applies mandatorily to certain criminal convictions.
Expungement Of A Criminal Conviction
Certain criminal convictions could be sealed or expunged by the court or a judge in California. An expungement clears convictions from your criminal record as if they never happened. After expungement, the conviction will no longer be available on public domains. Prospective employers will not view the conviction even upon running a background check on you.
Currently, the federal government does not have a regular mechanism for clearing federal convictions, but most states in the United States provide expungement for certain types of criminal records. For an expungement to go through, you must file a petition, attend the court proceedings, and observe a waiting period without committing an additional crime. Unfortunately, many convicts who qualify for an expungement find the procedure costly. It is costly because you have to pay legal and administrative fees, amounting to hundreds of dollars. Many eligible convicts are also not aware that expungement is an option.
The local and states jurisdictions are making more records criminal eligible for expungement across the United States, including convictions for human trafficking and drug offenses. In addition, different localities and states in the U.S have stepped up efforts to streamline the expungement process by reducing filing fees and eliminating waiting periods. Between 2009 and 2014, at least 31 states have expanded the scope and effect of expungement remedies.
The Role Of An Expungement Attorney
You will feel more confident when appearing in front of a judge if you have an attorney by your side throughout the expungement process. An attorney will guide you on what to say and increase your chances of having your criminal records sealed off. The benefits you will reap from an expungement attorney are:
An attorney will help you determine whether you are eligible for a conviction
An attorney will accelerate the expungement process because they specialize in interpreting the law and assisting clients.
An expungement attorney will take the pressure of proving to the court that you deserve an expungement of you.
Find A Record Expungement Attorney Near Me
A past criminal conviction means that you have carried the weight of the conviction for years. You have probably dealt with constant discrimination and harsh judgment. However, a past sentence should not hinder you from reaching your full potential and achieving your best quality in life. A record expungement attorney can help you get your life in line. For guidance and legal assistance in filing a petition for expungement of your criminal conviction in Los Angeles, contact the Record Expungement Attorney. Our attorneys will help you determine eligibility for expungement and help you file a petition. Call us at 424-286-1516 today and talk to one of our attorneys.