What is an Expungement?
Expungement is a civil action that removes arrests and convictions from a criminal record, effectively making it seem to most authorities as though the incident never happened. Expungements seals and hide records, legally allowing a person with an expunged record to answer truthfully that the incident never occurred. If someone without a criminal record is convicted on an assault charge and has the record expunged, that person can legally say they’ve never been convicted of assault.
Who is Eligible for an Expungement in California?
Expungement is available to defendants convicted of misdemeanors and felonies in that do not result in a prison sentence. They are only available to defendants charged with state crimes. If the charges were brought in a federal jurisdiction, the records cannot be expunged by California. Expungement becomes available only after probation has been completed, as have all other sentencing requirements, such as community service. Committing additional crimes could limit the circumstances under which expungement may occur and could even cause expunged records to be reinstated. Defendants convicted of certain violent or serious felonies are not eligible for expungement.
What are the Benefits of Expungement?
People with an expunged arrest or conviction no longer need to disclose that event on forms or applications, as those records will not appear in background checks. This makes it easier for people who have made a mistake in the past find employment or housing. Persons with expunged records can legally say they have never been convicted of a crime. While expungements do not literally remove records from existence, they limit who is available to find those records to law enforcement and certain government agencies. Committing another crime could void an expungement.
Attorneys Can Help with Criminal Record Expungement
Experienced criminal defense attorneys can help individuals who have made some mistakes remove a damaging conviction from their record, providing a second chance. The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth can help with expungements. Call us today at 888-517-9888 to receive a free consultation.