In California, an expungement is a legal process that allows individuals to petition the court to seal or destroy their criminal records. This means that the record of the conviction will not be accessible to the public and it can’t be used against the person for certain purposes, such as employment or housing.
Expungements in California are governed by Penal Code 1203.4, which allows individuals who have been convicted of a crime to petition the court for an expungement if they meet certain eligibility requirements. These requirements can include:
- Completing probation and/or serving a sentence
- Not currently serving a sentence or on probation for another offense
- Not currently facing criminal charges
- Not currently on parole
It’s important to note that not all criminal convictions are eligible for expungement. Certain types of crimes, such as serious or violent felonies, cannot be expunged. Additionally, certain misdemeanors, such as those involving sex offenses or drug offenses can’t be expunged.
If you are eligible for an expungement, the process can be complex and time-consuming. It typically involves filing a petition with the court, providing notice to the prosecution and other parties, and appearing in court for a hearing. An attorney can help you navigate the process and increase the chances of a successful outcome.
Additionally, California now offers a new process called the “clean slate” process which is an automatic process that seals criminal records for people who are eligible, without them having to file a petition.
It’s also important to note that even if a criminal record is expunged, certain agencies, such as law enforcement agencies or the Department of Justice, may still be able to access the record.
In conclusion, an expungement in California is a legal process that allows individuals to petition the court to seal or destroy their criminal records. Not all criminal convictions are eligible for expungement and certain types of crimes, such as serious or violent felonies, cannot be expunged. If you are eligible for an expungement, it’s important to seek legal representation to help you navigate the process and increase the chances of a successful outcome. The new “clean slate” process also offers another option to seal criminal records for eligible individuals.