The second annual National Expungement Week (N.E.W.) was held during the last week of September – did you miss it? If so, no worries, the experienced Rancho Cucamonga expungement lawyer of My Rights Law Group – Criminal & DUI Attorneys have you covered. Contact our office at (909) 340-2000 with any questions that you may have about getting your record expunged.
What Was National Expungement Week?
National Expungement Week consisted of various events hosted across the United States that were each aimed at providing expungement services, and other forms of legal relief, to the many Americans who are currently living with a criminal record. A “criminal record” is a police record in which an individual’s past criminal convictions (along with other legal events, such as arrests) are listed.
There are approximately 77 million Americans who currently have criminal records, many of whom are seriously hindered by the fact that they have a record. Having a criminal record not only carries a social stigma but it can also restrict your access to certain jobs, housing, education, public assistance, etc. There’s no doubt about it, having a criminal record can seriously impede your ability to move on after a criminal conviction, even long after your sentence has been served. That’s the bad news. The good news is that many Americans with criminal records are eligible to have their records expunged!
What Does it Mean to “Expunge” a Criminal Record?
Each state has its own rules when it comes to criminal expungements (or dismissals), but here’s the deal in California- Under section 1023.4 of the CA criminal code a qualifying individual can petition the court in which they were convicted to reopen their case, set aside their conviction, and issue a dismissal. When such a petition is granted and an individual has a record expunged, the expunged conviction or arrest will no longer appear in record searches done by the general public. Additionally, the individual is no longer required to disclose their prior conviction to potential landlords, employers, etc.
Is My Record Eligible for Expungement?
Here in California, a criminal conviction record (for either a misdemeanor or a felony offense) is generally eligible for expungement if the following conditions are met:
- Any probationary period ordered in connection with the conviction has been successfully completed,
- The defendant did not serve time in state prison for the crime (or would not have served time in state prison if Proposition 47 had been in effect at the time of sentencing),
- The defendant is not currently serving time for a criminal offense,
- The defendant is not currently on probation for a criminal offense,
- The defendant is not currently charged with a criminal offense, AND
- The criminal conviction at issues is not for certain sex crimes involving children.
Additionally, if the CA criminal record that you are looking to expunge has to do with a marijuana crime you may be able to get your conviction hidden or reduced even if you do not meet the eligibility requirements outlined above. Back in 2016 California voters legalized recreational marijuana (in some limited capacities) when they passed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. At the same time, they also voted in a law that allows some Californians with past marijuana convictions to reduce or expunge their convictions.
The most recent version of this law (AB 1793) went into effect on January 1, 2019 and requires the Department of Justice to identify past marijuana convictions that are potentially eligible for recall, dismissal, or re-designation under the Adult Use of Marijuana Act. Therefore, if you were convicted of a marijuana crime that is no longer a criminal offense, or is now a lesser offense than it was when you were charged, then you may be able to reduce or expunge your conviction.
Alternatives to Expungement
Afraid that your record is not eligible for expungement? Consider asking a local criminal defense lawyer to evaluate your situation to see if you are in fact ineligible and, if so, to recommend alternative forms of legal relief. Even if you are not able to have your California record expunged you may be able to obtain legal relief via:
- A certificate of rehabilitation,
- Having your sentence commuted,
- A pardon from the governor, or
- Having your record sealed.
Other types of legal relief are also sometimes available, but each case is unique so you will need to discuss your individual situation with a local criminal defense lawyer in order to determine which alternatives to expungement are available to you.
How My Rights Law Group – Criminal & DUI Attorneys Can Help
If you have a California criminal record that is dragging you down My Rights Law Group – Criminal & DUI Attorney’s expungement lawyers are here to help. In order to clean up a client’s record as thoroughly as possible we begin by scheduling a free, no-obligation strategy session. During this meeting we assess the client’s record, determine whether or not they are likely eligible for expungement, discuss the different types of post-conviction relief that are available, and recommend which course of action is likely to be the most beneficial.
Contact Us Today
My Rights Law Group – Criminal & DUI Attorneys helps clients throughout Southern California expunge their criminal records, and we would be happy to help you. To discuss your specific record and learn about the expungement process, as well as the other various forms of legal relief that may be available to you, simply call our Rancho Cucamonga office at (909) 340-2000 or fill out our online contact form today.