California law allows individuals to expunge their criminal records after they successfully complete probation.
Having an experienced, local attorney prepare your expungement petition increases the chances that the petition will be approved the first time, without unnecessary delays. PC 1203.4 governs expungement petitions everywhere in California, but the procedures for filing expungements vary from court to court. Los Angeles and Orange County, for instance, require the payment of filing fees up front. Riverside and San Bernardino County impose filing fees after the petition is heard by a judge. Wherever your case is heard, our professional staff will prepare the proper paperwork, file it with the court, serve it on the District Attorney, and appear in court for any necessary hearings.
After your expungement is granted, you may honestly state that you have no criminal convictions in response to questions on most job applications. Employers in California may not legally discriminate against job applicants based on criminal charges that result in dismissals. Earning an expungement can help you get back to work and back onto your feet after you've been through a rough patch.
If mistakes from your past are standing between you and a better job, call us to discuss your options. We can pull a copy of your case file from the court's records system to determine whether or not you are eligible for an expungement. There are many factors that may affect your eligibility, but we won't accept a penny from you if we can't help.
If you've previously been convicted of a felony, call us to determine whether or not you might be eligible for a reduction of charges. Section 17(b) of the California Penal Code allows judges to retroactively reduce some felony charges to misdemeanors in the interests of justice. 17(b) reductions can even restore firearms rights in some cases.
California voters approved Prop. 47 in 2014. That law created a new option for individuals with felonies in their pasts to clean up their records. Before Prop 47 took effect, drug possession for personal use, theft of goods valued at less than $950 and some types of fraud were classified as "wobbler" offenses -- they could be treated as felonies or misdemeanors at the discretion of the prosecutor. Prop. 47 made those offenses straight misdemeanors for most defendants. Individuals who have been convicted of certain qualifying offenses may now petition the court to reduce those charges, even if they are currently serving a sentence. Prop. 47 works a little differently than PC 17(b), but our expert staff can help you determine which of these options is the best for you.
Since the passage of Prop. 64 in 2016, individuals with some marijuana-related convictions may also apply to have their cases dismissed or reduced. Call us to discuss your eligibility.
If you have questions about cleaning up your criminal record in Orange County, Los Angeles, Riverside or San Bernardino, call for a free consultation.
Note: The Judicial Council of California announced a few years ago that they disfavor the word "expungement" because the term may be misleading. Calling the petition an "expungement" wrongly implies that is has the effect of completely erasing a petitioner's criminal record. The petition actually has the effect of changing an entry on the petitioner's criminal history report from a "conviction" to a "dismissal". The judicial council advises that the petition should properly be called a "1203.4 Dismissal". I use the word "expungement" here because that term is still more widely understood in common usage.