We all make mistakes, but that should not mean you must continue suffering for them after paying your debt to society. Fortunately, lawmakers agree and have made it possible for some with a criminal record to wipe it clean through expungement (also called expunction).
Expungement of your record can improve your life in many ways, including:
- Access to more (and better) career opportunities
- Worry-free admission to top-tier universities
- Better options for renting or buying a home
Expunging your criminal history also removes the social stigmas that accompany past convictions.
What are the requirements for expungement in California?
Those still on probation, facing current criminal charges, or who once faced a federal conviction are ineligible for expunction. Examples of circumstances that may qualify you for the expungement of your record include:
- You have an eligible felony or misdemeanor conviction on your record
- You completed probation or obtained an early release from probation
- You are not responsible for any unpaid court-ordered fines
- You completed a sentence and its requirements (community service, etc.)
- At least a year has passed since your criminal conviction (if you did not receive probation)
A successful criminal record expungement will not completely remove your convictions. Instead, it lessens their impact by showing that your case resulted in a dismissal. For example, if a prospective employer performs a background check on you, they will see criminal charges, but they will know that a court dismissed the charges.
The procedures associated with an expunction are lengthy and require many documents. Learning more about the state laws governing expungement can help you find clarity. The guidance of a criminal defense professional can make the process smoother.