Expungements offer the chance to have your criminal offense removed—legally called expunged—from your record. The concept of expungement is based, in part, on the idea that once an individual has “paid his or her debt to society” for the crime he or she committed, the slate should then be wiped clean so that the offender might live as they did prior to their conviction.
California, including San Diego County, and most other states permit certain offenses to be expunged from an individual’s criminal record. Having a criminal offense expunged from your record can provide numerous legal benefits, including no longer having to report past convictions in job interviews, and providing you with a peace of mind that your past won’t continually come back to haunt you.
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As a seasoned criminal defense lawyer in San Diego, Anna R. Yum has helped many, many people to experience the relief that comes from having criminal offenses expunged from their “rap sheet.” The expungement process and how you may be able to mitigate collateral damage from mistakes made in the past can be easily explained to you by an experienced San Diego Criminal Expungement Attorney.
What are expungements in San Diego?
In San Diego County, expungements allow prior offenders who were convicted of a crime, or who pled guilty or no contest to a crime, to have their criminal records relieved. That way, a prior offender no long has to suffer certain penalties or legal disabilities because they have served their time, paid the proverbial price for their mistakes, kept the peace, and proven themselves to be good citizens following their sentence.
Advantages of having your criminal record expunged in San Diego?
One of the most common and problematic barriers that those with criminal records face when trying to find employment or housing is the criminal background check involved.
Background checks are typically used in the following instances:
- College and university admission
- Financial aid and loan applications
- Obtaining a professional license of some kind
- Rental applications
Even if you committed a relatively minor offense many years ago, for which you paid a fine or served time, it can still affect your chances for gaining employment, housing, or even prevent you from pursuing educational development. Having your criminal record expunged in San Diego can provide a number of benefits in leaving your past behind and successfully pursuing your future endeavors.
What Criminal expungements in San Diego May Not Always Relieve
After an expungement, a prospective employer may still choose to conduct a background check on an applicant, and may thus find the offender’s court records and evidence of his or her conviction. An employer may also find evidence of the expungement, which technically is the setting aside of a conviction or a guilty plea. Because of the ubiquity of the Internet, much evidence of a prior offense or an expungement can be found.
An expunged crime can still be used in an enhancement of another, later sentence if you are convicted of a different crime, post-expungement. For instance, San Diego County has deemed that convictions for a DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs) may be used to enhance a later DUI sentence, even if the prior DUI conviction was expunged from your record.
In addition, even after a legal expungement, an individual’s conviction record is still available and accessible by law enforcement agencies.
Finally, a successful expungement will not restore an individual’s right to possess or own a firearm if this right was previously revoked from you as a result of your conviction.
Expungement Eligibility in San Diego
If you were convicted of either a misdemeanor or a felony offense in the state of California, you may be legally entitled to have your offense expunged from your record if you have successfully completed your probation in its entirety, or if your probation was officially terminated early. Completing the entirety of your probation means that you have:
- Attended each required court appearance, either in person or through appropriate counsel
- Completed all community service hours or custody
- Completed all corresponding counseling or treatment programs
- Kept a clean record while serving your probation
- Satisfied payment of all corresponding fines and restitution
To be considered eligible for criminal record expungement in San Diego County, you must also meet these additional qualifications:
- You are not currently charged with a criminal offense
- You are not currently on probation for a criminal offense
- You are not serving time or a sentence for a criminal offense
It is important to note that you do not qualify for criminal record expungement if you were sentenced to any of California’s state prisons, whether you were sentenced there at the time of your judgment or as a result of a probation violation.
What disqualifies an individual from a criminal expungement in San Diego?
While there are many reasonable and attainable legal pathways to have a criminal conviction expunged from your record, certain offenses cannotbe expunged from your criminal record, even if you have adhered to any or all of the previously mentioned eligibility requirements.
Offenses that cannot be expunged from a criminal record are usually serious felony crimes committed against children, including:
- Lewd acts with a child – Penal Code 288 PC
- Oral copulation with a child – Penal Code 288a(c)
- Sodomy with a child – Penal Code 286(c) PC
- Statutory rape prohibiting sexual intercourse between persons who are older than 21 years old with persons younger than 16 years old – Penal Code 261.5(d)
How does the expungement process work in San Diego?
With the guided assistance of an experienced Criminal Defense Expungement Attorney, you must determine certain criteria before seeking an expungement from the state of California, including in San Diego County.
- You must examine your particular case and circumstances to determine whether you meet the basic qualifications for expungement in California. You must also investigate or hire an attorney to investigate the legal outlines for your potential case and how current San Diego expungement laws may apply to your criminal record.
- You or your San Diego Criminal Offense Attorney must file the appropriate paperwork on your behalf within the proper legal timetables. For instance, notice must be provided to the former prosecutor of your case within 15 days of your expungement hearing before a judge. The former prosecutor of your case has the legal right to review your case for expungement and object if he or she so desires.
- You must attend all expungement hearing proceedings.
It is worth noting, however, that even if you follow all the legal steps correctly, and even if you meet all the legal outlines, a judge may not always rule in your favor and grant you an expungement of your criminal record. That’s why it is incredibly important to have a knowledgeable and experienced San Diego Criminal Defense attorney on your side who understands the ins and outs of expungement law, and has had success in helping clients succeed in expungement cases. The complexities of the law are best handled by a trained defense attorney who knows what is necessary to successfully advocate on your behalf, in achieving an expungement in San Diego County.
To learn more about the expungement process or to speak to a nationally recognized, award-winning criminal defense attorney about the specifics of your case in a confidential, no-strings-attached consultation, contact the Law Offices of Anna R. Yum today.