There are three types of crimes recognized by the California criminal justice system: infractions, misdemeanors, and felonies. Infractions are the least serious offense, but nevertheless many people would rather not have anything on their record at all. Many infraction crimes in California are traffic violations, such as exceeding the speed limit. There are also non-traffic criminal infractions, such as possession of less than one ounce of marijuana for personal use. While traffic infractions are not eligible to be dismissed through the process of expungement, non-traffic infractions can be expunged.
Having a non-traffic criminal infraction on your record is less than ideal, no matter how minor the violation was. Infractions are punishable by a fine and no jail time if the fine is paid. Some infractions can show up on your record. Non-traffic infractions include some fish and game code violations, possession of less than one ounce of marijuana for personal use, city and county ordinance violations, certain boating violations, certain parks and recreation violations, and certain underage drinking violations. Infraction violations such as fishing without a license probably won't be a cause for concern for most people, and they may see little reason to go through the process and hassle of having it dismissed. But, infractions such as marijuana possession or certain underage drinking violations can raise some eyebrows. When applying for jobs or housing, you may not want your prospective employer or landlord to know that you were caught with marijuana or trying to buy or consume alcohol underage. Luckily, you may be able to have a non-traffic infraction offense dismissed. Traffic infractions are handled differently than non-traffic criminal infractions. They are handled by traffic court, and many disappear from your record after a period of time. Traffic infractions are ineligible for dismissal.
To petition for a dismissal through the process of expungement, you have to follow the same procedures those with misdemeanor convictions do. You must first make sure you have fulfilled all the requirements of your sentence. For an infraction, this usually means you paid your fine. Then, you have to gather certain pieces of information about your violation and file a petition with the court. You will have to pay a fee of up to $150 for the expungement. You cannot file the petition until one year after the date of your conviction. A marijuana possession infraction will be erased from your record after two years without needing a petition for a dismissal, but you would have to file a petition if you want the infraction dropped sooner. As with any petition, the court has some level of discretion when granting dismissals. If for some reason the judge does not find it in the interest of justice to dismiss your conviction, your petition may be denied. In many cases, proper planning and know-how can result in a successful petition.
Dismissing an infraction has the same function of dismissing a misdemeanor or felony conviction. If the court finds that it is in the interest of justice to dismiss your conviction, your case will be opened, your plea or verdict will be set aside, and your conviction will be dismissed. Again, for some infractions the process may not be worth the effort and the fee one would have to pay. Infractions related to drug or alcohol use, however, may be well worth the effort and cost of the petition, especially if you are looking for a job or applying for housing.
You should speak to a California criminal defense attorney with experience in record cleaning if you have a non-traffic infraction you would like to have dismissed. No offense is too minor when it comes to cleaning your record. Having anything on your criminal record at all can prevent you from obtaining certain jobs or positions in your community. A skilled attorney can inform you of the steps you need to take to have your infraction dismissed and assist you with the process to help ensure your success.
If you are in the Visalia, Hanford or Tulare area and want to clean your record, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens is here to help you. Criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens will work hard to defend your rights and help you get your conviction dismissed. Attorney Martens has handled thousands of cases over a span of ten years of criminal defense practice and can fight hard for your rights in court. Contact attorney Christopher Martens for experienced criminal defense counsel today. Contact our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at MartensL[email protected] to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.