If you have been convicted of a crime in Alameda County, you might experience consequences from your conviction long after you have completed the terms of your sentence. A criminal record can make it difficult to successfully apply for employment, be granted admission to educational programs, and obtain housing.
Fortunately, if you have been living a law-abiding life since your conviction, California law may afford you the opportunity to wipe your slate clean and receive a fair second chance at moving on with the rest of your life. If you meet certain legal qualifications, a reputable Alameda expungement attorney from Lamano Law Office can assist you in pursuing expungement of eligible convictions for your criminal record.
Why Connect With the Knowledgeable Team at Lamano Law Office?
When dealing with the criminal justice system, you want peace of mind knowing you have a dedicated legal team supporting your case. At Lamano Law Office, our all-women defense team of expungement attorneys offers compassionate legal representation to help our clients navigate the process of getting their lives back on track after a conviction. We have a success rate of 98%, with only 2% of our clients facing jail time. We also are the top-rated criminal defense attorneys in the Alameda area on Yelp, and we have earned 100 percent five-star reviews on Google. When you call our firm for help with your expungement matter, you’ll never have to wait longer than two rings for someone to pick up your call.
Our legal team understands that you desire a swift resolution of your matter so that you can wrap up the stress and anxiety of having a criminal record, so we’ll work quickly to review your case and identify the legal options available to you. We’ll provide a straightforward assessment of your rights and the best-case, worst-case, and likely outcomes of your matter. When working with our firm, you can rest easy knowing that your case is in safe and capable hands.
If you’ve stayed out of trouble since your conviction, you deserve a fresh start, free of the hassles that a criminal record can create. Reach out to Lamano Law Office today for a risk-free case review. Our team of Alameda expungement lawyers looks forward to speaking with you and advocating on behalf of your interests.
What Crimes Can Be Expunged in California?
Various misdemeanor offenses are eligible for expungement under California law. Examples of petty offenses that can be expunged include:
Examples of misdemeanor offenses that can be expunged in California include:
Neither federal felonies nor federal misdemeanors can be expunged under California state law. If you are hoping to get a federal criminal offense wiped from your record, you’ll want to speak with our office about your legal options.
How to Clean Up Your Record
Can a Felony Be Expunged?
One vehicle is filign a Penal Code 17(b) motion which asks the court to drop your felony to a misdemeanor.
Under California Penal Code 1203.4, certain felony convictions can be expunged. This statute allows someone who pled guilty or no contest to a felony charge to reopen their case, withdraw their plea, and enter a plea of not guilty. If a person was convicted after originally entering a not guilty plea, the court can set aside the guilty verdict.
In either case, after accepting a not guilty plea or setting aside the verdict, the court then dismisses the felony charge. Someone who has had their felony conviction expunged may legally say that their charges have been dismissed in the interest of justice on employment applications, housing applications, etc.
However, expungement does not overturn a driver’s license suspension with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), restore the right to own a firearm, or terminate any duty to register as a sex offender. A person whose felony conviction does not qualify for expungement may be able to obtain relief by utilizing an alternative legal opportunity, such as obtaining a certificate of rehabilitation or the California governor’s pardon.
Felony convictions in California can generally only be expunged when the sentence for the conviction did not result in time served in state prison. Under certain circumstances, felons who served time in state prison can have their records expunged if they could have served their term of incarceration in county jail if they had been sentenced under laws in place today.
Crimes are deemed ineligible for expungement where they involve child pornography, lewd acts with a minor, or certain sex crimes (usually those involving minors).
Can a Misdemeanor Be Expunged?
California Penal Code 1203.4 permits courts to expunge most misdemeanor convictions. Misdemeanor convictions are expunged in the same manner as felony convictions, as the court will reopen the case to either overturn a guilty verdict or allow a defendant to withdraw their guilty or no contest plea and enter a not guilty plea, followed by the court dismissing the charge.
Misdemeanor convictions must also meet the same eligibility requirements as felony convictions before they can be expunged.
Understanding California Expungement Requirements
Not all criminal convictions are eligible for expungement under California law. Instead, an individual seeking to expunge their conviction must meet certain requirements:
- The conviction must have occurred in state court, as California state courts cannot expunge federal criminal convictions.
- The defendant must not have served time in state prison for the conviction. If the defendant did serve time in state prison, they need to have been eligible to serve their sentence in county jail if their crime had been committed after “realignment” under Proposition 47 was implemented.
- The defendant must have completed all aspects of their sentence, including any term of probation, community service, behavioral or drug rehabilitation, classes, and payment of fines or restitution.
- The defendant may not be currently charged with another criminal offense or serving probation or a term of incarceration for another criminal offense.
What Is the Waiting Time for Expungement in California?
Under California law, you may apply for the expungement of an eligible conviction as soon as the term of probation you were sentenced to (if applicable) ends.
After you have applied for expungement, you can reasonably expect the entire process to take approximately three to four months, although your case may take longer depending on the court’s schedule.
How to Expunge Your Record in California
The process of pursuing expungement of your criminal record involves multiple steps. Missing any step or failing to properly follow a step may lead to denial of your request for expungement. Steps that our firm will take when seeking to expunge your record in California include:
- Obtaining copies of your criminal records from the conviction that you are seeking to expunge. Our law firm can help you gather these records.
- Determining your eligibility for expungement, including ensuring that you have completed your term of probation and have paid all fines and restitution ordered as part of your sentence. Our firm has access to proof of these records.
- (If you are still serving a term of probation) Petitioning the court to end your probation early under Penal Code 1203.3.
- Completing a petition to dismiss pursuant to California Penal Code 1203.4. Some courts have forms that you can use for your petition; otherwise, we can draft a formal petition. You must file a separate petition for each conviction that you want to expunge.
- Filing your petition with the court that issued the judgment of conviction.
- Preparing for the court hearing on your petition. In some cases, the district attorney’s office may file an objection to your petition, which means that we’ll need to prepare an argument to advocate in favor of expunging your conviction.
- Have an expungement hearing, where the court will evaluate your request based on factors such as the nature of the offense, your parole status, your criminal history, your employment status, your ties to the community, and whether you have led a law-abiding life since your conviction. Oftentimes, you don’t need to attend this kind of hearing if you hire a lawyer.
Note that if you have already petitioned for expungement and your request has been denied by the court, we can help you to modify and refile your petition assuming your petition was not denied with prejudice and provided your conviction is legally eligible for expungement.
Who Can See Expunged Records in California?
In California, expungement does not delete or destroy records of your charges. Instead, expungement merely changes the status of your charge from a conviction to a dismissal of the charge “in the interests of justice.” Expungement, therefore, allows you to legally say that the charges were dismissed in the interest of justice. However, the fact that you were charged will remain a matter of public record. To prevent members of the public from accessing records which show that you were charged with a crime, you will need to also petition the court to seal your record. One way to do that is to file a Motion to Seal Your Arrest Record.
An expunged conviction may still be used against you under limited circumstances, including if/when you apply for professional licenses (although the expungement can weigh in your favor). This includes applying for jobs with law enforcement like a local police agency, the CIA, or FBI. An expunged conviction can also be used for impeachment purposes in a future criminal prosecution or as a “prior strike” to enhance your sentence in a subsequent conviction.
Ready to Wipe Your Record Clean? Speak With Our Alameda Expungement Lawyers Now
If you have previously been arrested or convicted of a crime in California but have led a law-abiding life since then, you don’t deserve to be saddled with the consequences of a criminal record once you have completed your sentence. Contact Lamano Law Office today to schedule a confidential consultation with our Alameda expungement lawyers. If your charges are eligible for expungement, it would be our honor to help you navigate the expungement process as efficiently and effectively as possible. We look forward to speaking with you.