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The consequences of a criminal conviction are more serious than most people realize. A misdemeanor or felony conviction can limit your opportunities in life. It is important to know that many crimes can be expunged if you meet certain qualifications of your conviction.
Mariya Melkonyan can talk to you about your options based on the details surrounding your arrest and conviction in a free consultation.
California law allows a person to petition the court to clean their criminal record in an expungement. Defendants file an expungement application to withdraw a guilty or no contest plea, enter a plea of not guilty, or have their case dismissed. The application can be made on your own, through an attorney, or your probation officer.
The court will decide to either:
In both cases, the accusations against the defendant are dismissed. This releases the defendant and cancels any remaining penalties. Expungements help individuals clear their criminal records.
An expunged conviction isn’t disclosed on an employment application. You are allowed to check “no” if asked about prior convictions and don’t have to disclose it once offered a job. However, you need to disclose an expunged conviction on an application for a position in public office.
An expunged record won’t show up in a background check. Many individuals with convictions are denied loans or credit cards as a result of their criminal background history, but an expungement or dismissal of your case lets you have a fresh start.
Many crimes can be expunged from your criminal records if you meet these criteria under PC 1203.4:
Certain crimes cannot be expunged, meaning that even when you complete your parole or probation conditions, the charges and conviction will remain in your record. Under California law, your conviction cannot be expunged if you served time in state prison or were convicted in a federal court.
California does not allow expungements for crimes such as:
Expunging your record is complex. If you file the wrong information or make errors, the application will be denied. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you complete the appropriate forms for your case and represent you in court to improve your chances of expungement.
The expungement forms you need depend on your case. For example, under California PC 1203.4, an individual charged with a misdemeanor can file to dismiss only if they’ve completed probation. Otherwise, you’ll first have to file to terminate your probation.
Felonies must be reduced to misdemeanors by the court before they are eligible for expungement—the defendant files to reduce their charges to a misdemeanor under California PC 17b. Once the charge is reduced, the defendant then files for expungement.
After completed paperwork is filed with the court, there will be an expungement hearing. Your defense attorney and the prosecutor will be present, and the judge will determine your case. If your petition for expungement is denied, you are allowed to refile. If the petition is granted, your criminal record can be sealed and is no longer visible to the public.
You can clear your criminal record by filing a Factual Innocence Motion. This procedure lets you petition the court to destroy or seal your criminal record if you’ve been falsely accused.
This motion only applies to individuals who meet these qualifications:
If you meet these qualifications and the judge grants your motion, your criminal record will be sealed and destroyed.
You may be able to reverse your guilty plea through the Motion of Withdrawal. In California, defendants are allowed to file this motion any time before they’re sentenced. This motion may also be filed within 6 months of the verdict.
A withdrawal of plea can be filed by the defendant if:
A criminal record follows you for the rest of your life and can prevent you from finding employment, qualifying for a mortgage, and obtaining state professional licenses in California. A criminal record also affects your personal reputation.
Instead of letting mistakes harm your prospects, consider contacting a criminal defense attorney to advise you of your rights. The team at the Melkonyan Firm will work hard to help you clean up your criminal record and apply for expungement or dismissals where possible. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your case.
Employers can’t discriminate against you under Labor Code 432.7. They also can’t ask about your expunged case, and if they do, they face fines. However, employers in law enforcement and healthcare can screen applicants. You will also need to disclose your expungement if applying for a position in public office.
Under PC 1203.4, an expungement allows the defendant to withdraw a guilty plea, enter a plea of not guilty, and have the case dismissed. While an expungement allows the court to set the conviction aside, so it’s no longer available to the public, it will remain on your record for sex offender registration or immigration purposes.
Yes, California state licensing authorities will not issue a license to someone before their case is expunged.
An expungement will remove your case from the public record, but it will remain accessible within the judicial system. Your attorney should always try to seal your case in an expungement. Once the case is sealed under PC 851.87, it is only accessible by court order.
Many crimes can be expunged if you meet certain qualifications of your conviction. The Law Offices of Mariya Melkonyan can talk to you about your options based on the details surrounding your arrest and conviction in a free consultation session. If you or a loved one is charged with a crime, speak with our experienced attorneys as soon as possible.
It’s very important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney to give yourself the best possible fighting chance at freedom. At The Law Offices of Mariya Melkonyan, we always have our client’s best interest at heart. From the moment you contact us for a consultation, we start planning solid defenses for your case. Most clients feel ashamed, frustrated, and angry after being charged with a federal crime, but our legal team is here to reiterate that you, as a citizen, have basic rights, one of which is to hire an attorney.
Before you speak to authorities, remember that you do not have to answer any questions without a lawyer present. Mariya Melkonyan is a former Los Angeles District Attorney who has filed countless dismissal and expungement cases and can apply those same skill sets in your case.