Clearing a criminal offense from your record is referred to as an expungement. Once completed, your expunged arrest or conviction will not be visible to private employers, landlords, financial companies, or educational institutions during background checks. It’s like you were never charged with a crime to begin with.
Benefits of Having Your Criminal Record Cleared
- Expungements erase evidence of the charge from your record and the charge can never be used criminally against you by law enforcement or reopened for any reason.
- An employment background check will no longer limit your job prospects or your future opportunities. A standard background check will show either that you have no record, or it will show that the case was dismissed. With few exceptions, most employers cannot ask you about an expunged conviction or use it as a factor in hiring or termination.
- An expungement protects your ability to earn or maintain a professional license. Typically, a misdemeanor or felony conviction will trigger a notification to the licensing board of any professional license you hold. An expungement of your criminal record may be required by the issuing board for your license to remain valid or before the board will issue a license.
- You may avoid certain immigration consequences. Conviction of a crime often carries deportation consequences, and it can also prevent you from obtaining a work visa or citizenship. However, an expungement can allow you to avoid deportation due to a conviction, or it can allow you to become eligible for a visa or citizenship if you otherwise qualify.
How the Law Offices of David A. Stein Can Help You With an Expungement
An attorney experienced in navigating the Orange County expungement procedures can help you successfully clear your record. First, the process of dismissing your charge with an expungement will require that you show you are eligible. It will then follow a legal process that includes filing a petition with the court, notifying the district attorney, and participating in one or more court hearings. There are a few criminal offenses that cannot be expunged.
Attorney David Stein can give you expert guidance about your eligibility to clear your record. First, Mr. Stein will prepare all the evidence you will need for a successful expungement. Then, he will then petition the Orange County court to re-open your case, respond to any opposition from the district attorney, and fight before the judge to have your plea set aside.
Mr. Stein will also advise if you of whether you qualify for early termination of your probation, or for a reduction of the offense from a felony to a misdemeanor so that you can expedite the process of clearing your record.
California Penal Codes section 1203.4 declares you are eligible for an expungement if you meet the following criteria:
- You did not serve a sentence in state prison for the offense.
- All terms of your probation have been successfully completed without violations, including the payment of fees or restitution.
- You are not currently facing another criminal charge.
If you do have a probation violation, David Stein will evaluate your circumstances for the possibility of a special hearing to argue for dismissal relief.
The Difference Between Sealing a Record and Expunging a Record
Sealing a criminal record is not the same as expunging the record. Sealing a record means that the record is not visible in public records (except under special circumstances). However, the sealed record can be reopened in the future if new evidence emerges, and it can be you against you by law enforcement under such circumstances.
On the other hand, expunging a record essentially erases the charge. It cannot be reopened or used against you in the future, and it legally wipes your slate clean.
Sealing a Juvenile Record in California
Juvenile records are not automatically sealed at 18 years of age except under special circumstances or processes, such as a deferred entry of judgment. In most cases, you must take legal steps to seal a juvenile criminal record.
In general, you are eligible to seal your record if:
- You are at least 18, or it has been five years since the jurisdiction of the court in your case has ended.
- You have not been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony theft, sex, fraud, or drug charge as an adult.
- There are no pending civil lawsuits against you.
- You were not convicted at 14 years or older of one of several specific “serious” crimes.
With an experienced attorney you may not have to appear in court to be granted a sealing or expungement. Mr. Stein will prepare a strong petition to seal your record, file the petition with the court, appear before the judge on your behalf, and argue against any evidence or opposition from the district attorney and the Department of Probation.
David Stein is an experienced criminal law attorney and has helped clients seal or expunge their criminal record in Orange County. He can help you. Call him for a no-cost consultation on how to successfully clear your record. We are located in Irvine and serve in all courts in Orange County. Call us today at: (949) 445-0040 or email us confidentially here.
The Law Offices of David A. Stein is based in Irvine and serves clients throughout the communities of Irvine, Anaheim, Tustin, Santa Ana, Orange, Buena Park, Newport Beach, Laguna Niguel, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Mission Viejo, Westminster, Aliso Viejo, and Laguna Beach.