Knowledgeable Stanislaus County Criminal Defense Lawyer Helping Clients Clear Their Records for a Fresh Start
Were you charged with a crime that ended with the prosecution withdrawing the case, or you being acquitted by the judge or jury? Have you been convicted of a crime, either after a jury trial or entering a guilty plea? Is the impact of your criminal record holding you back from finding a job, going back to school, or remaining in the country legally? If so, an expungement may be the answer. At the Law Office of Rebecka A. Monez, our experienced Modesto criminal defense attorney has helped countless clients get a clean slate by getting their records expunged. We can help you determine if you are eligible for an expungement and, if so, effectively prepare your petition in hopes of getting you the fresh start you’re looking for.
Does California Allow Expungements?
While, technically, California does not allow for expungements, the California Penal Code provides various similar mechanisms that have the same practical effect as an expungement. For the sake of simplicity, however, most people refer to these procedures as an “expungement.”
While there are slight differences in the overall effect an expungement can have on your record, in essence, an expungement either seals your record or allows the court to set aside your conviction and dismiss the case against you. As a general rule, once you obtain an expungement, you can answer “no” to a potential employer’s inquiry about whether you’ve been convicted of a crime. However, certain government agencies will still be able to see that you’ve been convicted of an offense, for example, when determining whether you’ve had a prior conviction for the purposes of a repeat offense or sentencing enhancement.
Types of Expungements in California
California allows for a few different types of expungements. Below is a brief description of a few of the most common types of expungements. However, before proceeding with any expungement, it is important to reach out to an experienced Modesto criminal defense attorney to ensure you are pursuing the appropriate relief.
Expunging a Prior Conviction
If you have a prior conviction you want off your record, you can file for an expungement under Penal Code § 1203.4. To qualify, you must successfully complete the term of probation for the offense and not be on probation for any other offense. Additionally, the court must determine that it is “in the interests of justice” to allow you to obtain an expungement. If the court decides to grant your expungement, the judge will reopen your case, set aside your conviction, and dismiss the case. Only certain misdemeanors and felonies are expungable; for example, if you have a conviction for a sex offense involving a child, you are generally not eligible for an expungement.
Expunging Arrest Records That Did Not Result in a Conviction
If you were arrested for a crime and were either acquitted or the prosecution withdrew the charges, you can file for an expungement under Penal Code § 851.91. However, even if the case was dismissed, you cannot qualify for this relief if you either absconded or evaded prosecution by engaging in identity fraud.
If you were innocent of the crimes for which you were arrested, you can petition for an expungement under Penal Code § 851.8. This type of expungement results in all records of your arrest being sealed and destroyed. In this way, it is one of the only types of expungements which virtually eliminates all records of your arrest. Of course, a petition for factual innocence is difficult to obtain because you must prove that there was no reason for your arrest.
Regardless of your prior record or the type of expungement you are seeking, it is imperative to work with an experienced attorney who can successfully guide you through the process.
Are You Looking to Wipe Your Criminal Record Clean?
If you have prior arrests or convictions that are holding you back from getting a job, getting into school, or otherwise hanging over your head, reach out to our Modesto expungement attorney at the Law Office of Rebecka A. Monez. Attorney Monez is an aggressive advocate in and out of the courtroom and knows how to get the results her clients are looking for. She regularly prepares expungement petitions on behalf of clients with prior arrests and convictions who are looking for a fresh start. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call 209-488-4959. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.