As part of the sentencing for many misdemeanor and felony crimes, you may be given a period of probation, either summary (informal), or formal probation. Probation is a period of monitoring while you are in the community in exchange for the suspension of certain elements of sentencing for a crime. For example, you may be given probation in lieu of some or all of a jail sentence. Probation is conditional; you must adhere to the terms and conditions in order to fulfill the requirements of your sentence. If you don't, you may be given a firm warning, but the judge could order you to serve your full original sentence. In this respect, probation is not a free pass, and it is best for those who wish to stay in the community and can dedicate them to following their probationary terms, which may be extensive. While the terms and conditions of your probation will vary, regardless of what kind of probation you are on, you will be under careful scrutiny from the criminal courts. Because probation is a cautionary period, it limits your options for cleaning up your record until it has terminated. It is understandable that you may want to clean your record as soon after your conviction as possible. Unfortunately, probation can last for several years, and you won't be able to do much in the way of record cleaning until your probation period ends or is terminated early.
Probation is part of your sentencing for your crime. Because it is part of your sentencing, you must fulfill this requirement before you can petition to have the conviction expunged. You must first petition to be released from your probation early before you can petition to have the conviction dismissed. Under California Penal Code 1203.3, a judge may end your probation period early, with his or her discretion. Keep in mind, not every petition for a dismissal will be granted. You must fulfill all other requirements of your sentencing first. This can include paying fines, performing community service, or enrolling in counseling. If you wish to petition for early release of your probation, you may want to speak with an experienced attorney about the process. Keep in mind; although the courts can technically end your probation at any point, judges typically like to see that you have successfully adhered to the terms and conditions of your probation for some period of time. You will have the best chance at being released from probation early after you've served at least one year of your probationary term.
Once you have either finished your probation period or have been released from it early, you can petition for an expungement. Until your probation has terminated, your conviction cannot be cleaned from your record. Terminating your probation period early can be challenging. You must have a compelling reason why you are seeking an early release and you need to demonstrate that you have been compliant with the terms and conditions of your probation thus far. Having an attorney assist you with this can go a long way toward having your petition for an early release from probation granted.
These specifications only apply to California criminal convictions and California probation. If your conviction was obtained in another state and you are on probation in that state, you must inquire with that state regarding your options for cleaning your criminal record. Having any criminal charge expunged can reap great rewards. Unfortunately, probation can last several years, during which your conviction can be seen by anyone viewing your criminal record. If you are still on probation but are ready to move on with your life, you may be able to be released from probation early, which will then allow you to initiate the process of expungement. This process can be tricky, so it is important that you at least consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney prior to making a request of the court.
If you are in Tulare, Kings or Fresno counties and want to clean your record but are on probation, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens can help. Experienced in criminal defense, attorney Christopher Martens will work hard to help you fulfill your probationary requirements and clean your record. Attorney Christopher Martens has over ten years of criminal defense experience and will do what it takes to help you move on from your charge. Contact our Visalia or Hanford offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss your options for defending your case.