Expungement provides many important benefits for those with a criminal record. Expunging a conviction from your record can significantly improve your chances of getting a job, an apartment, or even a loan. But there are some things expungement does not do, which you should learn about if you are considering starting the process.
Expungement will not remove a conviction entirely from your record.
One of the commonly misunderstood benefits of expungement is what it will do to a conviction on your record. Contrary to popular belief, expunging a conviction does not wipe the slate clean. This specific benefit is reserved for certain juvenile and arrest records. If you were convicted of a crime as an adult, however, expungement may be your only option.
Through the process of expungement, the court opens the record of your conviction. If you plead guilty to the offense, the court will withdraw your plea and replace it with “not guilty.” If a jury convicted you, the court would set aside the guilty verdict. Your record will also show that the court has terminated your probation and dismissed the case.
Again, people will still be able to see your conviction on your criminal record after an expungement, but they will also see that the ultimate resolution of the case was that you were not guilty and the case was dismissed. This can make all the difference in the eyes of a potential employer.
An expungement will not relieve you of the requirement to disclose your conviction when applying for certain state-issued professional licenses.
The benefits an expungement can bring are somewhat limited to the realm of public enterprise. If you hold a federal or state government issued license, you must still disclose your conviction to the licensing agency or authority. Bear in mind, however, a licensing board may be more accepting of a dismissed conviction. Expungement can still place you in better standing when it comes to obtaining and renewing professional licenses.
Expungement will not relieve you of the requirement to register as a sex offender.
Unfortunately, you will still have to register as a sex offender even after you have a conviction dismissed. This requirement supersedes many forms of relief the court can offer.
Expungement might not restore your firearm rights.
Getting a conviction dismissed through the process of expungement won't necessarily restore your firearms rights. Federal law prohibits felons and those with certain misdemeanor convictions, such as domestic violence, from owning or possessing firearms. Felons lose their firearms rights for life, while those convicted of certain misdemeanors can face a 10-year ban on firearm possession under California law. Expungement does not necessarily “stop the clock.” There may be other steps you can take to restore your firearms rights. Speak with a California criminal defense attorney with record-cleaning experience if you are interested in restoring your firearms rights to discuss your options.
Expungement does not erase “priorable” offenses.
The court treats certain convictions as priorable offenses, meaning they can influence your sentencing for any future convictions. For example, a second DUI conviction will result in harsher penalties than a first simply because of the sentencing enhancement from the prior DUI. The court may still view a dismissed conviction as priorable in certain cases.
Call a Visalia Are Expungement Attorney to Explore Your Options
While these limitations of expungements may discourage you, we encourage you to speak with a Visalia area expungement attorney to discuss all your options for cleaning your record. In some cases, an attorney can file a motion to have a felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor. This could potentially restore certain rights. Likewise, an attorney can help you petition the court to dismiss a misdemeanor conviction. An expungement still provides many benefits that are well worth the time and effort of the process. In California, employers may not ask about an arrest that did not end in a conviction. Thus, once you have a conviction dismissed, you do not have to disclose that conviction to most employers. For many, this benefit alone makes a world of difference when searching for a job. It increases your job security and makes you a more competitive applicant. Most importantly, it reduces the stigma you'd face and requires employers to consider your application based on merit rather than your past indiscretions.
Have you been convicted of a crime and need help cleaning your record? Visalia area DUI defense attorney Christopher Martens can help you get the outcome you deserve. With over ten years of criminal defense experience, Mr. Martens has handled thousands of cases and has taken over 50 to trial. Attorney Christopher Martens has the skills and knowledge needed to defend your rights. Serving the Visalia and Fresno areas, The Law Offices of Christopher Martens can provide expert criminal defense counsel. Call our office at 559-967-7386 or email us at [email protected] for a free consultation.