If you have a felony conviction on your record, you can face serious obstacles in applying for employment, housing, education, or other benefits or services due to the loss of certain rights following a conviction as well as due to the social stigma of criminal conviction. However, under certain circumstances, you may have the right to expunge your felony conviction and obtain a clean slate.
The expungement attorneys of Lamano Law Office can help. Our all-women legal team provides clients with a compassionate, comforting approach and over 30 years of combined legal experience. Our 100 percent record of 5-star reviews on Google serves as a testament to our skills and determination. When you turn to our firm for help with felony expungement, you can expect us to treat you with the dignity you deserve and to give you an honest assessment of your rights and the potential and likely outcomes of your matter.
We will work efficiently to resolve your case so that you can feel at ease knowing you either no longer have a conviction record hanging over your head or that we did everything we could to pursue a favorable outcome on your behalf if, for whatever reason beyond our control, things don’t go your way.
When you need supportive legal assistance to help guide you through the process of expunging a felony conviction in California, reach out to the expungement attorneys of Lamano Law Office to schedule a confidential case review to discuss your options.
What Felonies Can Be Expunged in California?
Felonies are those offenses classified as the more serious crimes prosecuted under California criminal law. A conviction for a felony usually results in a term in state prison as part of a defendant’s sentence. Expungement eligibility requires that applicants cannot have served a term in state prison as part of the sentence for their conviction (unless that term served could have been served in county jail if the offense in question had taken place after new realignment standards were implemented by the state).
As a result, you may need to speak with our team about alternative avenues for relief beyond expungement if your criminal record required you to serve time in state prison. Note also that if your felony conviction was prosecuted under federal law, we’ll need to explore alternative options as well. Federal felonies cannot be expunged under state law.
What Felonies Cannot Be Expunged?
In addition to felony convictions that resulted in a state prison sentence, certain categories of offenses are also excluded from expungement eligibility, including:
- Lewd acts with a minor
- Sodomy of a minor
- Oral copulation with a minor
- Statutory rape of a person younger than 16, where the offender was age 21 or older
- Child pornography offenses
Are You Eligible for Felony Record Expungement?
Under California’s expungement law, you may be eligible to have a felony expunged if you meet certain qualifications. These eligibility criteria include:
- Serving time in jail only, not state prison, if subjected to incarceration. An exception to this rule allows for the expungement of an offense that would have allowed a defendant to serve time in jail (instead of prison) per the recently implemented California “realignment” standards
- Having completed a term of probation in your sentence (if applicable)
- Having fulfilled any other aspects of your sentence, including completing behavioral therapy or substance abuse treatment, performing community service, and paying fines and restitution as ordered
- Having a clean criminal record since your conviction was entered
- Being free of probation or incarceration obligations at this time
You can apply for expungement as soon as you complete any term of probation that was ordered in your sentence. If your sentence did not include probation, there is a one-year waiting period from the date of conviction that you’ll need to honor before you can petition for expungement.
What Is the California Felony Expungement Process?
Steps involved in obtaining an expungement of a felony conviction in California include:
- Collecting copies of the police and court records related to your criminal charge and conviction
- Filing a motion with the court to terminate your probation (if you are still serving probation)
- Preparing a formal petition for expungement. Some courts have forms that you can use to file a petition; otherwise, you and our Oakland expungement attorney team can draft a formal own petition on our own.
- Filing your completed petition at the courthouse where you were convicted
- Confirming that a hearing has been scheduled
At your hearing, the court will determine your eligibility for expungement. If you violated your probation, the court would also evaluate the facts and circumstances of your case to decide whether to exercise the court’s discretion to grant your expungement petition.
If you have already applied for expungement and your petition was denied due to a technical error or insufficient information, you can refile your petition in six months after correcting any error or deficiencies with our assistance.
How Can a Conviction Change from a Felony to a Misdemeanor?
Under California law, certain felony offenses are considered “wobbler” crimes, which means that they can be graded as either a felony or as a misdemeanor. In an expungement petition, you can ask the court to reduce the grading of the charge from a felony to a misdemeanor. You will need to prove to the court that reducing the grading of your charge to a misdemeanor serves the interest of justice.
Reducing the grading of your offense from a felony to a misdemeanor as part of the expungement process could result in the restoration of certain rights that you lost because of your felony conviction that are not restored by an expungement alone, such as the right to own firearms.
What Is the Difference Between Expungement and Having Your Record Sealed?
Expungement does not mean that all records of your case are deleted or destroyed. The records of your criminal charge remain publicly available even if/when you are granted expungement, although the record will show that your criminal charge was dismissed in the interest of justice.
To avoid complications in your personal or professional life from a record that shows you have been arrested and charged with a crime, you will need to petition the court to seal your record. If a criminal case record is sealed, it cannot be accessed by the public or many other organizations. However, your record will still be accessible to certain government entities, such as the courts and departments of corrections in California and other states.
What Is the Difference Between a Direct Pardon from the Governor and Expungement?
While expungement legally eliminates a criminal conviction, it cannot remove certain consequences stemming from that conviction, such as the obligation to register as a sex offender, loss of the right to own firearms, or having a prior offense that can be used for a sentencing enhancement or a “strike” under California’s three-strikes law. To be relieved from all the legal consequences of a criminal conviction, you would need to seek a pardon from the California governor.
A pardon is a rarely granted form of relief from conviction, offered only to those persons who have demonstrated a substantial level of rehabilitation after completing their sentence. Benefits of a governor’s pardon include:
- Restoration of firearms rights (except if convicted of a felony involving the use of a deadly weapon)
- Elimination of the duty to register as a sex offender
- The right to serve on California juries
- The right to apply for a state professional license without having an application automatically denied
- A defense to deportation as a lawfully present alien
Can You Get a Felony Record Expunged If You Violated Probation?
While you normally would only qualify for expungement if you successfully completed the terms of your probation, the court does have wide discretion to grant an expungement even if you were charged with a probation violation. In deciding whether to grant expungement despite your probation violation, the court will consider factors such as:
- Your overall conduct while on probation
- The circumstances of your probation violation
- When the violation occurred
- The similarity of your probation violation to your underlying conviction or other prior criminal conduct
- Your conduct and behavior post-probation
The court retains full discretion to find that your probation violation disqualifies you from obtaining an expungement of your conviction. However, we will do our utmost to ensure that the context of your violation is clear and that you and your story are judged in a broader context.
Why Go Through the Process of Cleaning Your Record?
Obtaining an expungement or other relief from a criminal conviction, such as a governor’s pardon, can offer significant benefits to your quality of life. Some of the reasons why you may want to consider seeking an expungement of your criminal conviction include:
- The ability to legally deny that you were convicted of the subject offense
- The benefit of having employers or landlords subject to requirements that they must treat you as though you have not been convicted when evaluating your application for a job or housing
- An easier time getting approved for a state professional license.
- The potential to prevent your deportation or other immigration consequences
How an Oakland Felony Expungement Lawyer Can Help
If you wish to obtain an expungement of a felony conviction, you don’t have to go it alone. Let an Oakland felony expungement lawyer from Lamano Law Office take care of all the details of your expungement petition so that you can feel at ease knowing we are fighting for your best interests and focus your energy on other aspects of your life. Our attorneys can pursue a favorable outcome in your case by:
- Collecting copies of your criminal records
- Evaluating your circumstances to determine your eligibility to petition for expungement
- Sitting down with you to ensure you understand what expungement can and cannot do for you
- Completing your formal petition paperwork for you and filing the petition in the appropriate court
- Petitioning the court to reduce your felony to a misdemeanor charge, if possible
- Advocating on your behalf during your expungement hearing
Get Your Clean Start: Contact Our Expungement Lawyers Today
You might be eligible to expunge a California felony conviction from your criminal record and get the fresh start and peace of mind you deserve. Contact Lamano Law Office today for an initial consultation to learn more about how our knowledgeable expungement lawyers may be able to assist you with pursuing a felony conviction expungement. We look forward to speaking with you.