In California, expungement of criminal records means that a prospective employer cannot see or use your past conviction against you when it comes to hiring. Furthermore, expungements can help with securing or maintaining professional licenses and for joining many professional organizations, providing previous offenders with a “fresh start” without suffering the repercussions of conviction.
Qualifications for Expungement
Under California Penal Code 1203.4 PC, a person is eligible for expungement if you were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense, and you:
- Completed either misdemeanor or felony probation successfully
- Are not currently charged with a crime, on probation for a crime, or serving a sentence for a crime
However, if you were sent to California state prison – either at the time of judgment or due to a probation violation – you do not qualify for expungement. In addition, you are ineligible for expungement if you were convicted of serious sex offenses against children, including sodomy, lewd acts with child, oral copulation with child, and statutory rape.
When Can I Apply for Expungement?
If you meet the all eligibility requirements, you may petition the court to expunge your California criminal record as soon as you complete probation, or once early termination of probation is granted. In many cases, an experienced criminal defense attorney can expedite the process by combining a number of motions into one, such as granting early termination of probation, reducing a felony to a misdemeanor, and expunging your conviction all at once.