Having a criminal history can be stressful because it causes negative social stigma. The criminal history can affect your employment and housing opportunities. It is now legally possible to eliminate criminal records to bring back your life on track. Record Expungement in Orange County is a legal process of eliminating records of your arrest, charge, and conviction. In Orange County, it is a process of filing the petition in the court to reopen your case. This case was either dismissed or your guilty verdict was set aside. This is done under California penal Code 1203.4 PC. You are eligible to file this petition whether you plead guilty or are found guilty in a trial.
Under this Panel code, people who are convicted of felonies (Not all felonies) and the majority of misdemeanors can dismiss their convictions after completion of probation or sentencing.
Benefits of record expungement in Orange County
After getting Expungement from the court, your record will show that the case was dismissed rather than stating that you were convicted. This can be beneficial for you in getting the job and you can legally indicate that you were not convicted of the crime. You can also get help from the California Courts Website.
You can get the following benefits from expungement if you are in Orange County.
- The benefit regarding applying for a new job
Many people who file expungement are looking for a job or willing to grow in their career. Now employers can check the background of the candidates online. So, it is easy for them to find prior convictions, arrests, and warrants of candidates. Employers can directly ask candidates about their criminal conviction history.
After getting your record to expunge, you can state on your application that you have not been convicted in the past.
2. Benefits regarding getting professional licenses
Many careers require professional licenses. If you get the record clean by getting an expungement, these licenses can be applied and received.
3. Benefits in applying to organizations that don’t require professional licenses
Many professional organizations don’t require professional licenses for the job but they check the background of the applicant. You can truthfully answer in the application that you have not been convicted of a crime in the past.
4. Admission in colleges and universities
Many universities and colleges require a background check from the applicant. Things become easy if you get expungement before applying. You can get help from the Orange County Expungement Attorney to get your application filled properly and other legal advice.
Eligibility criteria to get Expungement in Orange County
Following are the eligibility criteria of Expungement.
- You have completed the term of your probation
- You don’t have an open criminal case
- You are not serving a term of probation for a subsequent offense
- Your underlying offense occurred in state court, as opposed to federal
- You have satisfactorily completed your sentence
- Not convicted of felony or misdemeanor during or after probation
- You have no proceedings pending
There are some conditions when eligibility becomes questionable. For example, if you have not completed all terms of your probation or sentence then expungement is not possible. You will consider being involved in violation of any of the terms that are not completed. So, your case is not closed. This violation may cause additional sentences or punishment. So, it is necessary to close the case before you apply for expungement.
If you are also preceding another case currently, then wait to finish or close the current case before filing expungement. You can also disclose about this current case in the petition for expungement that there is another case in the court. If you are having another case and expungement case together then you are not ineligible for expungement. The court can review both cases.
Crimes that cannot be expunged
There are some which can be expunged in all states. These crimes are given below
- Crimes of sexual nature like rape, sexual battery, sexual imposition, etc.
- Sexual offenses against a child, for example, pornography, rape obscenity
Alternate procedure for people who cannot get the expungement
People who cannot get expungement can get relief through the following processes.
- A certificate of rehabilitation or California Governor Pardon
- Commutation of a California prison sentence
Non-eligibility to get Expungement
Following people are not able to get expungement.
- People who are charged with a criminal offense
- People who are on probation for a criminal offense
- People who are serving sentence for a criminal offense
Benefits that expungement does not offer
You should be clear about the fact that what types of benefits can be extracted from expungement and what expungement does not offer. Following benefits are not offered by expungement.
- A criminal case history will not be eliminated by expungement but it will show that the case was dismissed or your verdict has been set aside after trial
- Licensing boards in some states require disclosing your conviction even after expungement
- It is possible that an expunged conviction still be considered an offense. Some simple crimes can become severe if you commit on regular bases for multiple times. If you commit the offense again then expunged conviction can still be considered.
- If you were involved in a felony then you cannot keep a firearm. An expungement will not reinstate a firearm.
- Expungement will not erase your sex offender status if your conviction requires doing so.
Time to file an expungement
You can file expungement if eligible for this legal action. You can start the process as soon as you have completed your probation. Your attorney can help you to terminate your probation early even if you are still on probation. He can file a joint petition for early termination of probation and expungement.
In expungement cases, time is very important. Getting the services of an experienced attorney will help you to file the process timely.
Steps to follow in getting an expungement
Following are steps to be followed to get an expungement in Orange County.
- Get your criminal record
It is necessary to know what your criminal record contains before starting the expungement procedure. Check the paper that you received from the court at the time of your conviction. You can also obtain the order of judgment by contracting the superior court of the county where you live. California State Department of Justice, Criminal Record review unit has all records of criminal cases in all California. You can get help from this website if your case is over 10 years old.
2. Collect necessary information
Organize following information from your criminal record.
- Information about Docket number
- Date of conviction and or plea
- Code name and section number you were convicted of violating
- Verdict or plea
- Probation terms/length, and also whether it was formal or informal
- Fines, restitution, or reimbursement you were asked to pay (if applicable)
- Prison sentence, (if applicable), and your release date
- Date your parole ended (if applicable)
3. Check the eligibility of your record for dismissal of record
You are not eligible to file your case in court for expungement due to the following offenses.
- If you have served state prison time and are still on parole
- You are also not illegible for expungement if involved in Vehicle code violation and sex offenses
You are eligible for expungement if convicted misdemeanor and completed probation or never sent on probation. You can request early termination of probation if on misdemeanor probation.
4. File a petition for dismissal
You can file your petition for expungement in court under the California expungement law governed by panel code sections 1203.4 and 1203.4a
5. Certificate of rehabilitation if everything fails
These certificates can be obtained under the penal code section 4852.01.
Exceptions- Special cases
- Marijuana for personal use
This is governed under the Health and Safety Codes Sections 11361.5 and 11361.7. These sections explain that your conviction of possessing marijuana for personal use is automatically erased after 2 years. But please note that convictions for cultivation, sale and transportation are not eligible for automatic expungement.
2. Convictions before attaining the age of 18 appear on criminal record but you are eligible to seal your juvenile conviction when you are over 18 years of age. But this procedure is not automatic. You have to apply for this. Get help from the attorney to fill the form and proceed to seal the record.
After reading the above article, you can get most of the information about expungement in Orange County. This information is not meant for guarantee expungement.
Some difficult procedures are involved in the expungement petition. Usually, people think that they can do it themselves. It is a difficult task but not impossible. You can download forms required for filing expungement cases from the County’s websites. These websites also help to follow different steps involved but it is very difficult to fill the form and gather all needed information to precede the case alone. Only an experienced and qualified attorney who understands all the steps involved can help you to get a successful expungement. So, it is better to hire an attorney.