Unfortunately, it is not always the case that “past is the past.” San Diego residents who have a criminal record from a previous conviction know this all too well. Past misdemeanor and felony convictions may have a serious impact on your ability to gain employment and enjoy basic civil rights, such as gun ownership, voting and serving in the armed forces.
Californians with a past criminal record may be relieved to learn that there are options available for clearing your record and moving on with your life. The expungement process may result in dismissing or sealing your conviction from the official state or federal record. Essentially, an expungement of your record means that the conviction never occurred in the eyes of the court. It does not, however, mean that you have been “forgiven” for the offense or that it is erased from all public record.
While this may sound too good to be true, it is critical that you understand the limitations of an expungement. If you are eligible to obtain an expungement, you must recognize that you are not completely free and clear. In this article, we will explore three of the most vital things you need to know about the expungement process in San Diego that will help you understand if an expungement is an option for you.
Skilled expungement attorney Joni Eisenstein understands that the San Diego expungement process can be complicated. When you need assistance in understanding the process or in determining if you are eligible for a dismissal, contact attorney Joni Eisenstein for an expert consultation and honest legal advice.
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Understanding San Diego Expungements
Point 1. What exactly is an expungement in California?
According to Penal Code 1203.4, if a defendant meets certain criteria, “the court shall thereupon dismiss the accusations or information against the defendant and except as noted below, he or she shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she has been convicted…”
When a defendant petitions the court for an expungement, they ask for their past case to be reopened, for their guilty plea to be withdrawn and for the case to be dismissed. In the state of California, it is important to note that there are no true expungements. Instead, defendants may receive a dismissal of their case. A dismissal means that you are no longer convicted of the crime.
Point 2. What does an expungement do? What does it not do?
Many people have the wrong impression that an expungement is a complete erasure of the conviction and a true clean slate. However, there are some limitations that are important to be aware of. One of the primary things you can expect after you receive a dismissal of your conviction involves employment. You will not have to disclose to employers that you have had a conviction dismissed or expunged, unless you are applying for certain positions including a government job, a job that requires a special security clearance or public office.
A San Diego expungement will not:
- Remove all mentions of the previous conviction from public records including news articles, social media and Google searches.
- Reinstate your ability to possess firearms if that right was revoked.
- Eliminate the requirement to register as a sex offender.
Point 3. Who is eligible for an expungement?
Dismissal is a potential option for certain defendants, but not all. Generally speaking, a person can petition the court for an expungement if they have successfully completed their probation and they are no longer on probation for any offense, even those unrelated to the conviction they are seeking a dismissal for. Additionally, a person can request a dismissal if they were not sentenced to state prison.
There are other, extensive requirements that must be met in order to petition for an expungement, which you can view on the California Courts website.
Do You Have Questions About a San Diego Expungement?
As you can see, determining your eligibility for an expungement can be confusing. That is why it is recommended to have a lawyer by your side to help you through the process. Obtaining a dismissal of your case could have a lasting, positive impact on your life and that of your family.
If you are interested in beginning the expungement process in San Diego, contact attorney Joni Eisenstein today for your free consultation. Speak directly with an expert expungement lawyer to get the advice you need to petition the court for a dismissal of your misdemeanor or felony conviction.
Call the San Diego office of Joni Eisenstein at 760-721-3161 today.
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