A Conviction Can Follow You Wherever You Go
The law holds people accountable no matter where they are. You are just as susceptible to criminal charges when vacationing or traveling as you are in your home state. Many Californians learn this the hard way and are convicted of crimes when traveling to nearby states such as Arizona and Nevada. When facing criminal charges outside of their home state, many people make the mistake of pleading guilty so they don't have to come back to court at a later date. What happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas, right? Not exactly.
No matter where you are convicted of a crime, you will earn yourself a criminal record. And that criminal record can follow you wherever you go. You will still have to disclose out of state convictions on applications for jobs or for rental housing, and California law enforcement may still access information about your out of state convictions. If you want to put your past behind you, you are not alone. Many people ask me if they can expunge an out of state conviction in California. The short answer is no. If you get a criminal conviction in Nevada, for example, you will have to go through Nevada's process for expungements, not California's. The same goes for federal convictions. If you have a federal criminal record, you will have to go through the federal government's process for cleaning that record, which is obtaining a presidential pardon.
If you have an out of state conviction but live in California, you may be wondering what you need to do to expunge your conviction. Will you need to travel? Get an attorney in the state of your conviction? How long will this process take? These are very important questions because the expungement process can be complicated, and you won't want to waste your time or go out of your way to find out you aren't eligible. Your first step should be contacting a criminal defense attorney in the state of your conviction. If you aren't sure how to locate a trusted one, don't hesitate to contact a criminal defense attorney in your area for guidance. Some Californian attorneys, if not licensed to practice in other states, might be able to refer you to an attorney in your state of conviction they know and trust. And, unless you have friends or family in that state that know a good attorney, you should always try to get a referral.
Your next step should be discussing your case with that attorney. Every state has its own laws on expungements, and it could be that your specific conviction is not eligible for expungement in that state. The attorney you contact should be able to clearly explain your options for cleaning your record in that specific jurisdiction. He or she can also explain how long the process will take and whether or not you can have an attorney appear on your behalf in court so you don't need to travel to that state.
You should have an attorney help you with cleaning your record, especially if you have an out of state conviction. Asking for a referral from a trusted California criminal defense attorney is a good start, but you will need to discuss your case in detail with an attorney in the state of your conviction. Likewise, if you have a California conviction but live in a different state, you will need to seek the assistance of a California criminal defense attorney. Expungement laws can vary quite a bit from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and you should never attempt the expungement process without trusted legal guidance.
If you have a California criminal conviction you want to expunge, speak with an experienced California criminal defense attorney about your case. And, if you live in California but have an out of state conviction you'd like to expunge, consider asking a trusted criminal defense attorney in your area for an out of state referral.
If you are in the Tulare, Fresno or Kings County area and have questions about cleaning your record, call experienced criminal defense attorney Christopher Martens today for expert counsel. At The Law Offices of Christopher Martens, we can help you clean your record or direct you to the right out of state resources so you can move on from your conviction. Attorney Martens has over ten years of criminal defense experience and will fight hard for 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.