80% of people with a past conviction experience barriers to job opportunities, housing, education, financial services, adopting or fostering children, and more.
In fact, Californians living with a criminal record face over 5,000 legal restrictions — many of which are employment-related, and 73% are permanent.
California SB 731 is a transformative bill designed to automatically seal the criminal records of eligible individuals and allow others to petition for it.
For those experiencing the consequences of having a criminal record, this is an unprecedented opportunity to access stable housing, employment, and more.
Here, you’ll learn everything you need to know about SB 731, including what it is, its benefits, the eligibility criteria, how you can get your records sealed, and more.
However, to fully understand this bill, you need to know what “sealing,” “expunging,” “clearing,” and “relief” mean in a legal context — that’s what we’ll start with.
Here’s what “sealing,” “expunging,” “clearing,” and “relief” mean:
It’s important to mention that sealed records can still be accessed with a court order or by law enforcement agencies or other government entities.
Expungement, on the other hand, guarantees that any records of an arrest or criminal charge are erased.
Rehabilitated people don’t deserve to carry the burden of past mistakes forever. Contact defense attorney Mariya Melkonyan to find out if you qualify for record expungement.
Before SB 731 came into effect in California on July 1, 2023:
Here are the main changes SB 731 made to the California Education Code and Penal Code:
If you’ve been convicted of a serious or violent felony and want to have it sealed, Mariya Melkonyan and her team of defense attorneys can help you petition a judge. Speak with Mariya today to find out if you qualify for record sealing.
Generally, your gun rights will not be restored even if your criminal records are sealed.
In most cases, only a pardon from the governor of California can restore your gun rights.
Both individuals and their communities will reap the benefits of SB 731 which include:
All in all, SB 731 gives people a chance to start fresh and rebuild their lives, free from stigma and discrimination.
Here are the main eligibility criteria to get your criminal records automatically sealed under SB 731:
If your case doesn’t fulfill these criteria, you can still apply for criminal record sealing — unless you were required to register as a sex offender.
In these cases, the criteria are a bit more complex. Also, the waiting period before you can apply depends on the severity of the offense; it can range between one and five years.
An experienced defense attorney can help you find out whether you qualify and assist you in filing your record-sealing application.
Now that SB 731 is in effect, anyone who qualifies for relief will automatically have their records sealed.
To know if your records have been sealed already, you need to ask the Department of Justice for your background check to see whether your record still shows.
Those who aren’t eligible for automatic record sealing need to follow this process:
However, getting your application for criminal record sealing approved by a court can be quite challenging.
Among several other factors, the legal process itself is complex. You need to gather all the required documentation, fill out forms accurately, and follow certain legal procedures — which can all be difficult for people without legal expertise.
If you want expert legal help for filing your records sealing application in California, contact defense lawyer Mariya Melkonyan.
Living with a criminal record in California means you face over 5,000 legal restrictions, including barriers to employment, housing, financial services, and education.
However, if you don’t qualify for automatic record sealing under SB 731, you’ll have to go through a very complex application process. And if you want your record expunged, the process is even more difficult.
With 13 years of experience as a former Deputy District Attorney, Ms. Melkonyan can expertly help you file your record sealing or expunging application. Schedule your no-obligation case review with Mariya Melkonyan today.