Trying to get a conviction dismissed through the expungement process can be a challenge. The California expungement process is complicated and will require a lot of information from you. If you are thinking about getting an expungement, you are probably wondering what information you will need to do so. It is a good idea to gather all this information before you start the process. You will need this information if you are handling your expungement on your own or are having an attorney do it for you.
To petition for an expungement, you must have all the details on your conviction. You probably know what you were convicted of. If you haven't gone over your court documents lately, however, you may need to do so again to get some more details. The specifics of your conviction may affect your eligibility, so you should begin the process with gathering all this information. You should find out:
- Your case number
- The date you were convicted
- The code and section number you violated
- Your plea, or verdict if your case went to trial
- Whether you were given probation and how long that probation was
- The fines, restitution, reimbursements, and penalties you were ordered to pay
- What prison you were sentenced to serve time at, if applicable
- Your prison release date, if applicable
- Your parole end date, if applicable
You will have to request a copy of your records through the court that convicted you if you cannot find any of this information. You may also be able to get your records through your attorney, public defender, parole officer, or someone else you had contact with regarding your case. You may also request your criminal record information from the California Department of Justice. This process can take a while. You will have to submit a fingerprint scan, and the records will have to be mailed to you.
You can determine whether you are eligible for an expungement once you have gathered this information. You may be eligible for expungement if you were charged with an infraction, misdemeanor, or a felony that could have been charged as a misdemeanor and were not sentenced to prison or put under the authority of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Once you have gathered all your information and have determined your eligibility, you will need to submit a few forms. These will vary from case to case depending on your conviction and your sentencing. If you were convicted of an infraction or misdemeanor and successfully completed your probation or were not given probation, you must file a petition for dismissal. If you were convicted of a misdemeanor but have not completed your probation, you must first have your probation period ended early before you can petition for a dismissal. If you were convicted of a felony and have completed your probation and/or jail sentence, you must first have your felony reduced before you petition for a dismissal. If you were convicted of a felony but have not completed your probation, you must have your probation period ended early and have your felony reduced before you can petition for a dismissal. These are just general guidelines. Your specific case may require more steps to be completed.
With your petition, you may need to submit documents that support your request for a dismissal. This may be a letter of support, proof of completion of rehabilitation, courses, or counseling, and any school transcripts or diplomas. Information that can demonstrate good character, reformed ways, or rehabilitation since your conviction may be of help. Speak with an experienced California criminal defense attorney if you have questions about what other information may help your case.
If you were convicted of a felony and sentenced to prison, you cannot have your conviction dismissed. You can, however, petition for a Certificate of Rehabilitation and a Pardon. Gather the details of your conviction, and file your petition with the superior court where you live.
Always keep in mind; the court will use discretion when granting any of your requests. Your request for a dismissal, to end your probation early, or have your felony reduced to a misdemeanor could be denied. It is important you speak with a California criminal defense attorney before starting the process. An attorney can help you gather all the information and supportive documents you need and can advise you on the specific expungement process you will need to complete.
If you are in the Tulare, Fresno or Kings County area and have questions about the expungement process, call experienced criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens today for expert counsel. At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we know how to prepare you to petition for an expungement, giving you the best chance at success. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, attorney Martens is ready to defend your rights. Contact our Visalia or Hanford, CA offices at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] to discuss a possible plan of action for your case.