A criminal conviction is an unfortunate event that may stigmatize you many years into the future—sometimes for your entire lifetime. A criminal history may prevent you from getting the job you need, bar you from various educational programs, stop you from driving, and even make it difficult to obtain desirable housing or financing. If you are living with a conviction on your record that is preventing you from moving forward in life, read on to learn what options may be available.
Understanding the Laws Relating to Expungement
Although you may have paid the price for your crime, a record that continues to follow you through life is an enduring punishment that seems to have no end. Fortunately, the state of California made it possible to get a new lease on life through a process known as expungement.
Under California Penal Code Section 1203.4, you may meet the criteria to have certain convictions retroactively dismissed. The process involves the submission of a petition to the court requesting such action.
While there is no guarantee of approval, you must at least meet the following qualifications:
You completed probation and all of its requirements or if you violated probation, you can justify to the court why you are deserving of relief.
There was not a prison sentence.
All ordered fees, fines, and restitution are paid in full.
You have no new charges pending against you at the time of filing.
Your probation history will be closely looked at by the courts. If you violated any requirements of that probation, they may not expunge your record for that crime. This may also depend on the types of violations and how many occurred during that probation period. It is a good idea to find out if you had any such violations before you submit your request to the courts.
Advantages of an Expungement or Other Type of Post-Conviction Relief
There are plenty of reasons to consider expungement. Easily the single most important motivation for clearing your name is regaining the ability to find and maintain gainful employment. It may not be fair, but some employers may overlook your application if you have a criminal record. They don’t want to take the chance that something could happen while you are an employee of their business.
Feeling held back by your criminal past can be hard on a person mentally. It can make you feel like you aren’t good enough and harm your self-esteem enough to make you give up on your life goals. But it isn’t the end of the road. There are many reasons to consider expungement or sealing your criminal history:
Gain needed security clearances for certain professional licensing and employment opportunities
Reopen educational opportunities
Improve your reputation in your community
Qualify for government assistance programs
Obtain housing opportunities
If you are an immigrant, a clean record can help with meeting immigration status requirements
Criminal Records in Santa Barbara
It is no secret California has a low tolerance for crime, and that means there are plenty of residents in the Santa Barbara area living with the ongoing impacts of living with a criminal record. There is no reason to be held back by older criminal convictions that meet the qualifications for expungement or sealing of the record. You have already paid your debt to society regarding these mistakes and have the right to move on with your life.
It is not uncommon for those convicted of DUI to have their record expunged. This particular offense has such a high impact on one’s life and career, it is one of the more frequently requested expungement petitions in Santa Barbara. There are specific requirements that you may need to meet before a judge might agree to expunge a DUI from your record.
Fortunately, the City of Santa Barbara has shown a willingness to work with previously convicted individuals wanting to start fresh in life. Retain an experienced Santa Barbara expungement lawyer to help you navigate the complex legal procedures involved with possibly getting your conviction retroactively dismissed under PC 1203.4.
Reclaim Your Reputation with the Help of a Santa Barbara Expungement Lawyer
Depending on the circumstances of your case and the skillfulness of your chosen criminal defense attorney, it may be possible to expunge certain criminal convictions.
Contact the Aron Law Firm today to begin a confidential dialogue regarding how we may be able to help you clear up your criminal record. You can reach us online or by phone at (805) 500-0867 to take this first crucial step in moving forward with your life.