An expungement is where a conviction is destroyed as if it never existed. That means that your name, arrest record, and conviction are destroyed. That means that when asked by a potential employer if you’ve ever been arrested for a crime you can proudly mark the box – no.
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Can Every Criminal Case Be Expunged?
The short answer is no. Certain qualifications have to be met for a case to be expunged. The main conditions to have your case expunged are 1) if your probation has been completed, and 2) you’re not charged with a criminal offense or serving jail time for another offense. Also, your case cannot be expunged if you’ve been convicted of performing lewd acts with a minor, sodomy with a child, oral copulation, and other instances.
What Is The Process For Getting My Case Expunged?
When your case is expunged it is first reopened by the court. The verdict and the guilty plea are then withdrawn from the case and replaced with “dismissed in the interest of justice.” You’ll then want to get a copy of the record and fill out all of the necessary forms. A qualified lawyer can help you get all of the necessary information that you need.
Benefits of an Expungement
There are 4 main benefits of expungement.
1. Getting a Job – This can be one of the things that affectd domeone the most if theyhave a record. Most employers do a background check before hiring someone and having a criminal history will hold them back. If someone gets their conviction expunged, they can lawfully answer “no” if asked if they have been convicted of a crime.
2. Getting a Loan – Just as employers, loan agencies frequently do a background check. Some think that a criminal conviction may lead to them not being able to fulfill their financial obligations. Because of this a person witha record could face excessively high-interest rates or receive no loan at all.
3. State Licenses/Professional Organizations: Having a conviction on record can cause it to be difficult or impossible to get a state license (such as a real estate or contractors license). It can also be hard to join professional organizations because they do background checks before inviting someone to join or hold a position in an organization.
4. Peace of Mind – Although the other benefits are great, perhaps the greatest benefit of expungement is the relief of knowing that you have a clear record. While this does not magically erase the past, a lot of times this can help someone begin to move on from their crime and bring closure to a hard time in their life.
What Are My Options If My Case Can’t Be Expunged?
Not all cases can be expunged. If your case is one of those, then you can seek a Governor’s Pardon or a Certificate of Rehabilitation. Usually a Governor’s Pardon is reserved for those that were wrongly convicted of a crime. The Certificate of Rehabilitation doesn’t take anything off of your record. On the other hand, it just adds good things to your record. It can also make it so you don’t have to register on the Sex Offender Registry.
While your case may or may not be eligible for expungement, it is worth the time to explore your options. If you’re curious about whether your case may be eligible contact us and see if we can help.
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Bradley Corbett is a criminal defense attorney in San Diego. He graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo Utah in 2004. Later he enrolled at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego where he participated in a prestigious internship program with the Los Angeles County Public Defender. Since then he has handled over 2,000 cases.
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