court scene

If you have been convicted of a crime in California, there are a number of consequences that will result, one of which is documentation on your criminal record. Unsurprisingly, having a criminal record can make it very difficult for an individual to carry out their normal lives, obtain employment, rent a property, and more. Fortunately, an individual convicted of a crime may be able to have their criminal record wiped clean through a complex legal process called expungement. However, there are a number of different hurdles and criteria that must be met in order for this process to come to fruition. Here, we will explore California’s unique laws and requirements concerning expungement.

Eligibility Requirements

California Penal Code 1203.4 lays out the specific requirements needed for an individual to file for expungement. The first requirement is that the defendant must have fulfilled their probation period. Next, the criminal must not have served a sentence in state prison. Lastly, the individual filing for expungement must not be facing any other criminal charges or serving another sentence. Since the creation of California Penal Code 1203.4, other bills such as AB 1076 and SB 731 have been signed into law in California to help reduce the long-term consequences that those convicted of a crime have to endure.

Crimes that are Ineligible for Expungement

Although most crimes are able to be expunged so long as they meet the eligibility requirements, there are a few crimes that are completely ineligible to file for expungement. The crimes that are ineligible include some of the most serious crimes an individual could commit such as:

  • Murder
  • Rape
  • Assault with a deadly weapon
  • Child pornography
  • Arson
  • Terrorism 
  • Manslaughter 

Benefits of Expungement

Expunging a crime can greatly enhance one’s life and open up a world of opportunity that a convicted individual might have not otherwise had access to. Here are some of the benefits: 

  • Employment opportunities: Before you are officially hired for a new role, it is very common for the employer or HR department to conduct a background check. Since background checks will display your criminal record, it is very likely your employer will see the conviction and take it into consideration. Ultimately, your criminal charge could make the difference between you securing a new job or not. Therefore, filing for expungement can be very beneficial to help ensure you are considered for employment.   
  • Professional licensing: Some professional roles require licensing in order to perform the duties of their job, such as lawyers, doctors, real estate agents, commercial truck drivers, and contractors. However, if you have a criminal record, it is likely that you will either be barred from obtaining licensing or will have your current license revoked.
  • Renting houses or apartments: When you are looking to rent an apartment or home, it is very likely that the owner or landlord will conduct a background check in order to ensure that they are comfortable with the individual(s) that is renting from them. However, a criminal record appearing on the background check may cause them to think twice about letting you become a tenant.

Seek Legal Assistance 

As you can see, getting your criminal record expunged can have a number of great benefits but also a myriad of complexities. Fortunately, a Riverside criminal defense lawyer can help guide you through the process to ensure that you have the best chance of having your crime expunged. Criminal defense lawyers are well-versed in expungement laws and can help alleviate the stress of filing.

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