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Can Misdemeanor or Felony Charges Be Expunged?
Having a conviction on your criminal record is a serious matter that can affect your life for years to come. In addition to the penalties associated with a misdemeanor or felony charge, being convicted of a crime also means you will have a criminal record. This can have a significant bearing on your ability to secure employment, pursue higher education, or find a place to live long after you have completed your sentence. A dismissal (also known as an expungement) can offer convicted offenders considerable benefits in terms of reinstating lost rights and opening up otherwise unattainable opportunities in the future. To find out whether you may be eligible to petition a judge to have a prior misdemeanor or felony conviction dismissed, contact our criminal defense attorneys at Sevens Legal as soon as possible. The consequences associated with a criminal record can be long-lasting, so don’t hesitate to call.
- The consequences of a misdemeanor or felony conviction in California can be severe and long-lasting.
- Being convicted of a crime can make it very difficult to find a job or housing moving forward.
- Most employers run a background check on prospective employees, which will reveal your criminal history.
- Certain criminal convictions may be eligible for dismissal or expungement under California law.
- Securing an expungement can help offenders avoid specific barriers associated with having a criminal record.
What Constitutes a California State Crime?
Every person, regardless of where they live in the United States, is subject to both state and federal laws. Violations of federal law are federal crimes and such crimes are prosecuted by the U.S. government. However, most criminal offenses in California are violations of state law and these crimes are handled in state court. The two main categories of state crimes in California are misdemeanors and felonies, distinguishable by the nature and severity of the crime and the harshness of the punishment. Compared to misdemeanors, which are less serious offenses typically punishable by up to one year in county jail, felonies can result in a state prison sentence ranging from one year to life in prison. The following are some categories of criminal offenses that may constitute California state crimes:
- Domestic violence
- Drug crimes
- Sex crimes
- Theft crimes
Getting Charges Expunged in California
California Penal Code Section 1203.4 PC is the legal statute that covers expungement or the clearing of a defendant’s criminal record. The legal process known as expungement involves asking a judge to withdraw a plea of guilty or no contest, enter a plea of not guilty, dismiss the case and set aside the conviction.
Expungement is an important legal option to consider after being convicted of a crime, as it can help you avoid the lasting consequences of a criminal conviction. However, expungement is not available to all criminal defendants in California. Generally speaking, you may be eligible for expungement if:
You were convicted of a California misdemeanor or felony,
You did not serve time in state prison, and
You have successfully completed all terms of your probation.
There are certain exceptions to this rule. For instance, if you did serve time in state prison, but would have served the sentence in the county jail instead had the crime taken place after the introduction of Proposition 47, you may still be eligible to petition the court to have your criminal record expunged.
Can Felony Charges be Expunged?
If you were found guilty of a felony in the state of California, you are probably wondering, “can felony charges be expunged?” The answer is “possibly.” If you have a felony conviction on your record and you did not serve time in state prison for the crime, you are likely eligible for dismissal. If your crime was a “wobbler,” meaning an offense that can be either a felony or misdemeanor, you can petition the court to have the felony reduced to a misdemeanor. Keep in mind, there are certain felony offenses that cannot be expunged. For instance, if you were convicted of a sex crime involving a minor, you are likely not eligible to have the conviction removed from your record.
Understanding the Benefits of Expungement
If you have been convicted of a crime in California, it can be very difficult to find a job, qualify for housing, or secure a state professional license. For convicted offenders in California, the relief expungement can offer is considerable. When granted by the court, an expungement effectively releases the defendant from many of the penalties associated with a criminal conviction. That means an expungement can help you access otherwise unattainable employment prospects or even a state professional license, among other opportunities.
How an Expungement Affects Your Criminal Record
Your criminal record is an official record of your criminal history, including any arrests and criminal convictions. When you apply for a new job, the employer will most likely run a background check on you to verify your educational and employment history, along with other details of your past. This background check will also give the employer a look at your criminal record. Following an expungement, potential employers who run a background check on you may still see the conviction and dismissal. However, the law prohibits employers from asking you about the conviction during the job interview or discriminating against you by making a hiring decision on the basis of a dismissed conviction. Once you have secured a dismissal pursuant to Penal Code Section 1203.4 PC, you are no longer required to disclose the conviction on an employment application.
Free San Diego Expungement Consultation
If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense in California, it is in your best interest to examine every option available to you under state law for cleaning up your criminal record. Depending on the circumstances of your conviction, you may qualify for expungement, which could considerably open up your rights and freedoms moving forward. When determining whether you are eligible for expungement, there are a number of factors to consider, including the specifics of your criminal case, the severity of your offense, and your criminal history. Contact Sevens Legal today to schedule a free consultation with our top-rated San Diego defense attorneys.
How to Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorneys
Our San Diego criminal defense attorneys at Sevens Legal know how devastating a criminal conviction can be, and we are prepared to thoroughly review your case and determine whether you may be eligible to have your record expunged. To speak to a knowledgeable San Diego criminal defense attorney about your options for getting a fresh start after a criminal conviction, call Sevens Legal right away at (619) 430-2355.