Choose Yanez & Associates: Orange County California’s Expungement Lawyers
FAQ: How Will an Expungement Help My Housing and Employment Prospects?
Having a conviction on your criminal record can cause a great degree of strife and stress. This is because background checks detailing past criminal convictions are often used by employers, housing authorities and other parties in order to evaluate what kind of person you are. In fact, a criminal conviction on your record and background check could result in you being denied housing and employment. Luckily, the State of California provides a comprehensive expungement process that allows you to have certain convictions expunged from your criminal record. Following expungement, employers and others will see that your original conviction was dismissed, and in certain circumstances they will no longer be able to request information about your offense because a California court officially dismissed your criminal conviction.
Here in California, expungement is the process of having a previously entered conviction officially dismissed from your criminal record. The expungement process involves the reopening of your original case, and a subsequent conviction dismissal order being entered by a California court. Though this conviction is not erased from your criminal history, an official notice that the conviction was dismissed is thereafter added to your criminal record. As a result, your criminal conviction will most likely no longer show up on traditional background checks used by employers and housing authorities, and public records will reflect that you were never convicted of the specific criminal offense. However, even with conviction expungement your original conviction may still appear on more complex background checks that are fingerprint-based.
Is My Conviction Eligible for Expungement?
California Penal Code section 1203.4 provides specific circumstances under which certain criminal offenses can be dismissed from your criminal record. However, your eligibility for expungement depends on an assortment of factors, most importantly being whether you were convicted for an infraction, misdemeanor or felony. In order to be eligible for the expungement of an infraction or misdemeanor, you must wait at least one year following the completion of all sentencing requirements. If this is the case you will only be eligible for the expungement of a misdemeanor or infraction if:
• You already paid all of the fees, fines and restitution that were ordered as a part of your conviction sentencing; AND
• At the time of your expungement request you are not presently being charged with any other offense, and are not currently serving a sentence or probation for a separate offense.
Obtaining expungement of a felony conviction is extremely rare given the serious nature of these crimes. However, in certain situations a felony conviction can be expunged if sentencing did not include imprisonment in a California state prison. In fact, the only felony convictions that can be expunged under California law are those that were punished by a sentence to serve time in a California county jail. Furthermore, violent crime felonies such as murder and felony manslaughter are ineligible for expungement. Lastly, it is important to note that though most felony convictions are not eligible for expungement, there is alternatively the option to receive a Certification of Rehabilitation and a pardon for your felony conviction. Ten years must lapse from the time of your conviction before you can become eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation and a pardon. You may also be eligible to have your felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor.
What Will Life Be Like After My Conviction Expungement?
Upon approval of your expungement request you are legally cleared of all limitations and penalties imposed as a result of your now dismissed conviction. The expungement of your criminal conviction can have many positive impacts on your life, especially when it comes to employment and housing. Following the expungement of your criminal conviction, a California court clerk will inform the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to update their records to reflect that your conviction was dismissed. However, the private organizations that provide background checks to landlords and employers will not be notified that your conviction is dismissed. As a result it will be up to you contact these private companies in order to ensure that their records reflect your conviction expungement.
How Will Expungement Help My Housing and Employment Prospects?
Under California employment law, an employer is forbidden from asking about your criminal past if your criminal record has been sealed or dismissed. However, though your employer will be unable to ask you about your past criminal conviction, they will have the ability to access your arrest record. Ultimately, following expungement, employers are prohibited from using the information in your criminal record to disqualify you from employment, because under California law, employers are prohibited from questioning potential employees about arrests that did not result in a conviction. Doing so is considered a criminal misdemeanor punishable under California law. If you successfully file a claim against an employer for questioning you about your dismissed conviction, or considering your criminal record when making employment decisions, your employer may be subject to a $500 fine and be required to pay your attorney’s fees.
With regards to housing, California law does not prohibit landlords from denying residency to potential tenants with criminal records. However, during the housing application process you will be able to honestly answer “No” to any questions regarding criminal convictions and involvement in criminal activities. Even if you have been convicted of a felony that cannot be expunged you may be able to receive a Certificate of Rehabilitation and a pardon, which can be used to illustrate that the State of California has determined that you are rehabilitated and pose no threat to the general public.
Choose Yanez & Associates As Your California Expungement Attorney
Though somewhat difficult, the decision to pursue the conviction expungement process can yield extremely favorable results. In addition to positively impacting your employment and housing prospects, you will also have the relief of knowing that there is not a conviction on your criminal record. Contact the Orange County California expungement attorneys here at Yanez & Associates today for advice and assistance in your conviction expungement case.
Table of Contents
- 1 Choose Yanez & Associates: Orange County California’s Expungement Lawyers
- 2 Is My Conviction Eligible for Expungement?
- 3 What Will Life Be Like After My Conviction Expungement?
- 4 How Will Expungement Help My Housing and Employment Prospects?
- 5 Choose Yanez & Associates As Your California Expungement Attorney