The Before and After of Record Cleaning
Cleaning your criminal record can significantly improve your chances of getting a job, housing, or a loan. But doing so is an investment in your time and money, and there are no guarantees your petition will be granted. Many people want to know exactly how a dismissed conviction will appear on their record before and after the dismissal process. This is important to understand because, typically, your conviction will not be erased completely. It will still be visible to certain people and agencies and can still affect many things including:
- Your sentencing for future convictions. Your conviction can still be held against you as a prior conviction for future sentencing.
- Your driving privileges. Having a conviction dismissed won’t necessarily reinstate your driving privileges if they are suspended as a result of the conviction.
- You may still be required to register as a sex offender. A dismissal doesn’t necessarily relieve you of this responsibility.
- It may not restore your gun rights. You might have to file an additional petition to reinstate your rights.
- You might not be able to hold a public office if your conviction prevents you from doing so.
- You will still have to disclose the conviction to any governmental employers, but you can note the dismissal
Before the dismissal, your criminal record will show the conviction and the plea or verdict that was entered. More information might be displayed, depending on the type of background check. Typically, criminal convictions cannot be reported on consumer background checks after seven years, with a few exceptions. Employers and landlords commonly use consumer background checks. Official criminal backgrounds, or “rap sheets” are compiled and maintained by the government (i.e. law enforcement agencies). These are more comprehensive but are not public record. Rap sheets are used for law enforcement and other governmental purposes.
After a dismissal, the plea or verdict will be removed, and the conviction will appear as “dismissed in the interests of justice”. You will not have to disclose this conviction to most private employers, and once your consumer background check is updated, private employers, landlords, lenders, and other private parties will not be able to see the conviction at all. Keep in mind; consumer background checks commonly used by employers and landlords might not be updated as soon as your dismissal is granted. It could take several months before the agency providing the background check updates its records. So, it is a good idea to check with such agencies before you apply for a job, a loan or rental housing to makes sure your record is updated. If a private employer happens to learn about your dismissed conviction from a consumer background check that was out of date, however, that employer cannot hold the conviction against you in the hiring process.
Your official rap sheet will still display the conviction, but the dismissal will appear. Because the conviction remains visible, it can still be held against you in many scenarios. For example, your conviction can still count against you as a prior if you are facing additional criminal charges.
You should also have an attorney explain the benefits getting a conviction dismissed from your record can bring and the limitations you will face. For example, you must disclose your dismissal to most governmental employers, and your conviction can still increase your penalties for future criminal convictions. So, if you want to have a conviction dismissed, speak with an experienced California criminal defense attorney. The expungement process can be complicated and is somewhat limited in the benefits it can provide. For many people, however, clearing a conviction from a consumer background check will make all the difference, especially when it comes to applying for non-governmental positions, rental housing, and loans. An attorney can explain these benefits and help you petition for a dismissal, giving you the best chance of having it granted.
If you are in the Visalia, Hanford or Tulare area and have a question about cleaning your record, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens is here to help you. California criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens will work hard to help you clean your record so your conviction doesn’t hold you back. Attorney Martens has handled thousands of cases over a span of ten years of criminal defense practice and can fight hard for your rights in court. Contact attorney Christopher Martens for experienced criminal defense counsel today. Contact our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at MartensLaw@gmail.com to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.