What Is the Difference Between Expungements and Dismissals?

What Is the Difference Between Expungements and Dismissals?

Having a criminal record can present obstacles to the things you want in life. If you've been charged with a crime and now want to be able to move on with your life without being haunted by your conviction, you may be able to take steps to clean up your record. There are various ways of cleaning up your record, each with its own pros, cons, and eligibility requirements. With more than one way to clean your record, you may not know what method is right for your specific case. Online record cleaning services may not be upfront about your options and chances for having your record cleaned. The below information should give you a general idea of what options there are, but if you have any additional questions or concerns, speak with an experienced California criminal defense attorney about your specific case. Having an experienced attorney assist you will give you the best chance at having your petition granted.

Expungement is a common way to clean up your California criminal record. Expungement grants you certain relief from having a criminal charge but it does not erase it altogether, nor does it result in your criminal record being destroyed or sealed. You may have also heard of something called a dismissal. While expungement is the process through which your record is cleaned, dismissal is the action taken against your conviction. With a dismissal, your case record is opened, and your plea or verdict that convicted you is removed, thus dismissing the charge from your record. This is also called a dismissal in the interest of justice. On many job applications, you will not be required by law to report any arrests that did not end in a conviction. Thus, if your conviction were dismissed, you would no longer have to report the arrest that led to that conviction. It is important to note that an expungement, if granted, will not prevent your conviction from being discovered when applying for government-based jobs or for jobs that require a government-issued license, permit, certificate, or security clearance.

You could have charges dropped and your case dismissed prior to being convicted as well. If you are wrongfully arrested, your arrest will still appear on criminal record checks however the case itself will be noted as dismissed. You will not actually be convicted of a crime and so do not have to petition for an expungement. You may, however, be able to request your arrest record be sealed and destroyed. When applying for many jobs, however, an expungement will mean you do not have to disclose your conviction on the application. Improved employment prospects is one of the main benefits of cleaning up your record. Keep in mind, this information is in regards to California expungements and dismissals, applicable only to criminal convictions obtained in California. These specifications may vary if your criminal charge was obtained in another state.

It is important to understand the different ways you can clean your record and just what happens to a conviction in the process. Not all methods of cleaning your record will get you the results you want so be informed before you file a petition or make a request. Consult with an attorney about your specific case. He or she can advise you on your options and on what will happen to your conviction in the end. Cleaning your criminal record can help you have a new start in life. California criminal courts understand the ramifications of having a criminal charge in the age of easily accessed, online criminal record searches. While it may take some time and patience, expungement is usually worth the effort. However, petitioning for expungement can be a complex process, one that isn't always successful. If you have questions or concerns about the expungement process, be sure to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney before you file your petition. Small mistakes could cause your petition to be denied and you may have to start the process all over again. Because the expungement process can take up to several months, it is best to prepare well and do it right the first time for the best chance at having your petition granted.

Are you in the Visalia, Hanford or Tulare area and want to clean up your criminal record? The Law Offices of Christopher Martens is here to help you. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, attorney Christopher Martens knows the ins and outs of criminal law and can help you do what it takes to clean your record. Contact our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at MartensLaw@gmail.com to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.

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