Once you have been arrested, charged, or convicted of a crime, your criminal record becomes public and permanent. Unfortunately, having a criminal record may severely limit your opportunities professionally, personally, and financially in the weeks, months, and years following the completion of your sentence.
Fortunately, in some cases, individuals eager to start a new chapter in life may have their criminal records expunged. Find out whether you qualify for a criminal record expungement by contacting our San Luis Obispo record expungement attorneys at the Aron Law Firm. Our firm offers high-quality legal services in all areas of criminal law, including expunctions of criminal records. We are here to help you understand your legal rights and, if needed, navigate the record expungement process. If you have a conviction on your record that is keeping you from advancing in life, read on to see if expungement may be right for you.
What Is an Expungement?
Expungement, which may also be called expunction, refers to the process of legally destroying, erasing, or deleting records or information related to criminal charges found in files, computers, and other repositories. The expungement of criminal records provides relief to individuals convicted of certain felonies and misdemeanors. If you are eligible for expungement and your conviction is expunged, it will reopen your case. Your guilty plea or verdict will be set aside, and then your case will be dismissed.
Expunction may commonly be mistaken for an outright deletion of one's criminal record. However, it's more accurate to describe it as a dismissal. In California, when you have a conviction expunged from your record, it may still appear on your record, but your record will reflect that the conviction was dismissed.
Eligibility for Record Expungement in San Luis Obispo, California
Expungement is not available for all convictions. To be eligible for an expungement, you must meet certain qualifications and attend a hearing. Section 1203.4 of the Penal Code of California requires the following conditions to be met:
- All the requirements and terms of probation, such as community service, mandatory rehabilitation, and treatment programs, have been met.
- Prison was not a part of your sentence.
- No outstanding fees, fines, or restitution is due.
- You are not facing any new charges or involved in any other pending cases at the time of filing.
Courts may carefully review your probation history. As such, if you broke any probation terms, your criminal record may not be expunged. The type and frequency of violations that occurred during probation may also factor into this. Before you apply for record expungement, find out if you were subject to any such violations.
Note that petitioners for expungement may not be eligible if their specific crimes preclude eligibility. For instance, sex offense convictions, especially those involving a minor, are generally excluded from expungement.
What Are the Benefits of Record Expungement?
Expungement has a number of benefits. Regaining your ability to find and maintain employment is hands-down the most critical reason to clear your name. Employers generally avoid hiring someone with a criminal record, particularly if the other candidates have no criminal history.
Sometimes, individuals with criminal charges or convictions may feel mentally weighed down by their criminal past. In this situation, you might feel unworthy of a fresh start or lack the self-confidence to accomplish your goals, but there is still hope. A criminal record sealing or expungement may help you:
- Receive the clearances needed to obtain certain employment and licensing opportunities
- Restore educational opportunities
- Rebuild your reputation within the community
- Obtain government financial assistance
- Secure affordable and accessible housing
Additionally, maintaining a clean record is vital if you're applying for immigrant status. If the prior criminal convictions meet the expunction or sealing requirements, there is no reason to delay. Expungement is a complex legal procedure, so depending on the nature of your conviction, your best bet is to speak with an experienced San Luis Obispo expungement lawyer as soon as possible.
Reduce the Impact of Your Criminal Record with Solid Legal Defense in San Luis Obispo
The best way to overcome your criminal charges is with a fresh start. At the Aron Law Firm, we provide strategic legal counsel for expungement petitions in San Luis Obispo. Dedicated to helping clients get their second chance, we put decades of legal experience to work to secure it. The process of expunging a record is lengthy and often overwhelming. As such, a qualified criminal defense attorney always comes in handy, and we make providing first-class representation to every client from start to finish our top priority.
Start a confidential conversation with the Aron Law Firm today to discuss your options for clearing up your California criminal record. Take the first step toward a better life by calling (805) 618-1768 or filling out our online contact form to set up your consultation.