Expungement / Sealing Records
Is a criminal record holding you back? Past convictions are heavy burdens to carry, often preventing you from getting the job you want or living where you want. The same is true of arrest records even if you were never convicted. The question is: what can you do to clean up your record and move forward in life?
One of the best things you can do is call the attorneys of The Law Office of Stein & Markus in Bellflower. Depending on your criminal history, we may be able to help clear your record through either expungement (dismissing old convictions) or record sealing (sealing arrest records if you weren’t convicted). Your eligibility for either of these options can only be determined by a close review of your history, so finding a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer you can trust is important. With decades of legal experience and hundreds of satisfied clients, you’ll find that lawyer here.
What Can an Expungement Do in California?
Essentially, record expungement is a dismissal of an old conviction. If successful, you are released from “all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense.” Once the process is complete, you are legally allowed to say you have never been convicted or arrested. Your record will show a dismissed case.
What are the benefits to you? Perhaps the most important one is that potential employers will not be able to access information about the case when looking at your criminal history. Government jobs, however, are an exception. If you apply for a job requiring a government license or security clearance, you are still required to disclose the conviction and the expungement.
What an Expungement Will Not Do
There are a variety of limits on what an expungement can accomplish in California. An expungement does not:
- Restore gun rights
- Allow you to stop registering as a sex offender
- Prevent your conviction from counting as a prior if you get in trouble again
- Prevent the revocation of government licenses (teaching, bus driving, real estate, etc.)
Eligibility Requirements for Expungement
A variety of conditions must be met before you can file for expungement. We will fully explain the requirements during a meeting with you, but a few of the basic ones include: waiting one year following your conviction; the sentence must not involve state prison time; you cannot be on probation; you must have paid all fines; and several more conditions.
Additionally, certain crimes cannot be expunged. These include serious sex crimes committed against children (sodomy with a child, lewd acts with a child, statutory rape, and others). Murder, kidnapping and certain other violent crimes cannot be expunged.
Record Sealing vs. Expungement
Expungement is easily confused with record sealing, but these two processes are completely different. Expungement is a process for dismissing convictions, while record sealing applies to arrests.
You are entitled to have your California arrest record sealed and destroyed if:
- You were arrested but charges were never filed; or
- Your case was dismissed in court; or
- Your case went to a jury trial and you were acquitted; or
- You were convicted but the conviction was overturned on appeal; or
- You successfully completed a diversion program (such as drug diversion)
If we are successful in getting your arrest record sealed and destroyed, you are legally allowed to say you have never been arrested for a crime.
Discuss Expungement and Record Sealing in a Free Initial Consultation
You may be able to clear your criminal record and move forward into a bright future using expungement or record sealing. Talk to the Bellflower attorneys of The Law Office of Stein & Markus to find out whether you are eligible. Your initial consultation is free. Call (562) 512-7030 or contact us online to get started.