A conviction on your record can make you feel embarrassed and frustrated. It can jeopardize your career and future job opportunities and not allow you to take advantage of what life has to offer, such as buying a car or applying for a mortgage.
Fortunately, if you live in California, you may qualify to expunge your criminal record. This means that past convictions will no longer show up on your record.
Eligibility for California Expungement
If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense and have successfully completed probation, and are not currently charged with another crime or on probation for another crime, you are entitled to expunge your criminal records in California. You must have successfully completed your probation in its entirety or obtained an early termination of probation.
However, if you were sent to a state prison upon conviction of a crime, you cannot expunge your conviction. Additionally, you cannot obtain expungement if you have been convicted of serious sex offenses committed against children, such as lewd acts with a child, sodomy with a child, oral copulation with a child, and sexual intercourse between persons who are 21 years and older and persons younger than 16.
Where Can I Apply for Expungement?
If you meet all of the eligibility requirements, you may petition the court to expunge your criminal record. In many cases, a criminal defense attorney can expedite the expungement process by “packaging” several motions into one, such as reducing a felony to a misdemeanor in addition to expunging your record at the same time. Most petitions can be filed and heard within one to two months.