Having a criminal record can hold you back in life. Regardless of your crime, having a record can hurt your chance of securing gainful employment. It can also prevent you from obtaining certain positions within your community, or obtaining public assistance. Luckily, there are methods through which you can remove certain pieces of information from your criminal record. The process of cleaning up your record can be done in several ways. You can have a conviction dismissed through the process of expungement. You are eligible to petition for expungement if you were charged with an infraction, misdemeanor, or felony but were not sentenced to time in a state prison. Expungement essentially opens your case record and removes your plea or verdict. You no longer plead guilty to a crime nor did a jury ever find you guilty. Once your conviction is dismissed, your arrest will no longer be considered one that ended in a conviction. Under California state law, employers cannot ask you about arrests that did not end in a conviction, meaning you will be able to answer "no" on applications when they ask if you've ever been convicted of a crime. Many employers are only concerned with whether or not you've been convicted, but it is important to remember that the arrest for the conviction will still be visible. Fortunately, California law prevents employers from holding an arrest on your record against you when considering you for employment, if they happen to become aware of it. However, today, there may be people other than prospective employers looking up your criminal record. Criminal background checks can be run for any number of reasons, from renting an apartment to applying for scholarships, so it is in your best interest to do all you can to clean your record as soon as possible after you are released from probation.
In order to be able to begin the process of expungement, you must be first released from your probation. Once you've fulfilled the requirements of your probation and have been relieved of it, you are ready to attempt to clean up your record. The expungement process can be difficult to make sure you know your conviction is eligible. Keep in mind; if you've been convicted of a felony and sentenced to a state prison, you are not eligible for expungement and dismissal of your conviction. There is a specific method for those sentenced to prison to clean up their record. If you've served your prison sentence, you can apply for a certificate of rehabilitation. A certificate of rehabilitation does not erase convictions or give you a clean slate. It can, however, demonstrate to prospective employers that the state feels you have paid your debt to society and have been rehabilitated from the actions or behaviors that resulted in your conviction. A certificate of rehabilitation may also mean certain sex offenders no longer have to register under Megan's Law and may allow some offenders to become state licensed. Obtaining a certificate of rehabilitation is also the first step toward obtaining a Governor's pardon, which you will automatically be considered for. This can help your employment prospects significantly.
Probation can last for several years after your conviction and places many restrictions and regulations on your life. If you are patient and successfully fulfill your probation requirement, there is relief for you. If your probation is not yet over, you can petition to have it terminated early. This is a complex process, so you may wish to speak with an attorney before filing a petition. Although you may be eager to complete the expungement process, make sure you follow the procedures for petitioning for a dismissal closely. Although you may have been on probation for years, and likely very eager to clean up your record, your petition could be denied on your first attempt and you won't necessarily have the opportunity to petition again. Also, the process of petitioning can take several months, and if you are in a hurry to have your conviction dismissed for a specific reason, a job opportunity for example, you will want to make sure you approach the process carefully and informed of what it takes to be successful. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to assess your case and instruct you on how to petition for an expungement and what you can do to improve your chances of having your petition granted.
Are your or a loved one facing DUI charges in Tulare, Kings or Fresno County area? Visalia area criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens can advise you on your options for cleaning up your record. Attorney Martens has over ten years of criminal defense experience and will do what it takes to clean your record. Contact our Visalia or Hanford offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss strategic options for your fighting your charges.