How Do I Know if I'm Eligible for an Expungement?

How Do I Know if I'm Eligible for an Expungement?

Having a criminal record can burden you with limitations, restrictions, and stigma. It can prevent you from holding certain positions or living in certain areas. Unfortunately, a criminal conviction can stay on your record long after you've fulfilled your sentencing requirements and returned to a law-abiding life. Moving on from a criminal conviction is possible, but it takes time. After you've dealt with the criminal justice system, been convicted, and fulfilled the requirements of your sentencing, there may be steps you can take to remove certain pieces of information from your criminal record. This is generally referred to as the process of cleaning up your record and can be accomplished using a few different methods. There are numerous online services promising quick and cheap record cleaning in California. Before you pay for one of these online recording cleaning services, however, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the record cleaning process in California. While most criminal records can be cleaned in some way, you may be surprised to learn that not everyone is eligible for an expungement. Expungement is the process of dismissing a conviction from your record. This option can go a long way toward mitigating the effects of your criminal record, but it is only available to certain offenders.

If you are thinking of getting your record expunged in California, you should know that you are only eligible for this process if you were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony and were not given a prison sentence or put under the authority of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for participation in some alternative program. So, if you were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony and served jail time or were given probation, you would be eligible to petition for expungement. If you were convicted of a felony and given a state prison sentence, however, you would not be eligible and would have to seek other options.

If your conviction and sentencing make you eligible to petition for an expungement, there are further requirements you must fulfill in order for your petition to be considered. If you were given probation as part of your sentencing, you must have successfully completed your probation period or have been released from your probation period early. In certain cases, you may be able to have your probation period ended early so you can clean up your record. You must also have settled all your financial obligations for your conviction. These can include fines, victim restitution, and reimbursements. You must also not be charged with, serving a sentence for, or on probation for another criminal conviction. If you meet all these requirements, you can petition the court to dismiss your conviction. If you have not successfully completed your probation or were released early, the court may still grant a dismissal at its own discretion. Note that you will have to petition for dismissal of each conviction you wish to expunge. The expungement process does not wipe your entire criminal record clean.

If you never received probation for your conviction, you must wait at least one year from the date of your conviction before you petition for a dismissal of the charge. And, similar to the process for those given probation, you must have fulfilled all other requirements of your sentencing and not be charged with, serving a sentence for, or on probation for another offense. You must also have been a law-abiding and honest citizen since your conviction and may need to demonstrate this as part of your petition. Even if you are eligible for an expungement and you file a petition, the court is not required to grant it. You may need to provide the court with additional information that supports your petition. This is where having an experienced California criminal defense attorney can come in handy. An attorney can ensure your petition is complete and as sound as it can be, giving you the best possible chance at having it granted by the court.

Are you or a loved one in the Tulare, Kings or Fresno County area and have questions about cleaning your record? Visalia criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens can best advise you on what options you have for cleaning your record and can assist you with doing so. With over ten years of experience as a dedicated criminal defense attorney, Christopher Martens can help you navigate the DUI process. At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, every client gets the respect they deserve. Contact our Visalia or Hanford offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at MartensLaw@gmail.com to discuss strategic options for handling your case.

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