Your criminal record will follow you around for the rest of your life. Getting your life back to normal after a criminal conviction is a challenge, even after you complete your sentence. While your family and friends know you are a good person, you may find it hard to get a new job. Despite your skills and work ethic, employers have a hard time ignoring previous criminal convictions. Getting a conviction expunged from your record is the best way to get back into the workforce after serving your sentence. You seldom have to disclose an expunged conviction, and your criminal record practically disappears. Hiring a registered legal document assistant (LDA) to prepare your application for expungement can improve your chances of success.
Are You Eligible to Have Your Conviction Expunged?
Not all criminal convictions are expungeable. Many can, though, including some felony convictions. According to California’s Expungement Law (Penal Code 1203.4 PC), you may be eligible for expungement if you:
- You were under probation which you completed successfully, with no violations.
- Completed a sentence in county jail, and at least two years have passed since your release.
- Are not currently a defendant in an ongoing criminal case.
- Are not currently in jail, on probation, or supervised release.
- The conviction was not for sexual abuse of a minor.
When You Must Disclosure an Expunged Conviction
One of the benefits of expunging a criminal record is to be able to state that you have no convictions of crimes. However, expunging your conviction does not mean that you will never have to disclose your record! Unfortunately, there are some situations when you will have to disclose your conviction, even if you have successfully expunged it from your record. You can find these exceptions in California Penal Code 1203.4. More specifically, an expungement order will not relieve you of the obligation to disclose your conviction:
- When applying for any type of license by any state or local agency;
- In response to any direct question contained in a question or application for public office, such as running for mayor, a position on city council or governor;
- When contracting with the California State Lottery Commission.
Be aware, however, other situations may arise in which your past criminal convictions may have a negative impact against you. Many employers run background checks on potential employees. Fortunately, they typically access background databases which only display convictions that are active. However, some employers use fingerprints and require potential employees to sign to release their Department of Justice criminal records. In this situation, your employer will see your prior convictions. They will also see the expungement of those convictions. Most governmental jobs such as police, public school teacher, and firefighter require a DOJ background check. It is essential to understand, however, that an expunged conviction won’t prevent you from being hired for most jobs in the local or state government.
Benefits of Expungement
Expunging your criminal record gives you a new lease on life. Furthermore, it also makes it easier to get a new job. You do not have to disclose an expunged conviction on job applications. That means that you can check “no” on the question about prior convictions. From a legal standpoint, this answer is truthful. When your record is expunged, it usually will not show up on criminal background checks.
The stigma attached to having a criminal record can feel like cruel and unusual punishment. This is especially true if it was for a minor offense long ago. California lawmakers have ensured that there are ways for those convicted of crimes to wipe the slate clean. For example, California Assembly Bill 1793 offers ways to expunge marijuana convictions from the time before recreational cannabis became legal in California.
A People’s Choice Can Help You Expunge a Criminal Conviction
Filing your application for expungement on time is important. You do not need to pay for a lawyer to help you file a successful expungement application. A registered legal document assistant (LDA) can prepare your documents at an affordable price. Contact A People’s Choice about preparing an application to have your criminal conviction expunged. We can help you expunge your criminal record for a much lower cost than hiring an attorney. Give us a call at 800-747-2780.
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