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Can Felonies Be Expunged?

By Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney on May 15, 2023

The law on expungement was designed to help people who deserve it to get a fresh start. Expungement is a legal procedure that takes a criminal conviction off the record. It removes the guilty plea or verdict and changes the disposition of the case from conviction to dismissal.

A felony on your record can have a significant impact on your future prospects. Speak with an experienced Los Angeles criminal defense attorney about the possibility of expungement. It could help you clear your name and move forward with your life.

What Does Expungement Mean in California?

Expungement is the legal process of sealing or erasing a criminal record from public view. Once a conviction is expunged, it is no longer accessible to the public or to potential employers. In California, many felony crimes are wobblers, meaning they can be reduced to misdemeanors and expunged in the same proceeding. Once relief is granted by the court, you may answer “no” in most circumstances to questions regarding criminal convictions. In California, expungement is known as “dismissal,” and it does not entirely erase the criminal record. Still, it can make it easier for you to find housing, employment, and other opportunities.

Why Is Expungement Important?

A criminal record is an official document containing an individual’s history of any illegal activity. It includes your name, date of birth, ethnicity, fingerprints, photograph, and any distinguishing physical characteristics. It also contains a record of arrests, previous or current indictments, outstanding warrants, and convictions.

Your criminal record can be requested by anyone who provides ID and a valid reason for requesting the record. It will likely be pulled by any employer considering you for a position. A felony conviction on your record has the potential to negatively impact various aspects of your life, including employment, business partnerships, and romantic relationships. Under state law, individuals who have been granted expungement cannot be discriminated against in employment matters.

Can Felony Convictions Be Expunged in California?

Some felonies can be expunged in California, but not all of them. State law does not permit expungement for certain serious sexual offenses against children. In addition, other serious crimes, such as rape, murder, arson, terrorism, assault with a deadly weapon causing serious injuries, capital offenses, and crimes punishable by life in prison, cannot be sealed.

Who Is Eligible for Expungement?

To be eligible for expungement in California, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have completed your sentence, including probation or parole.
  • You must not have any charges pending or be serving any other sentence at the time you petition for expungement.
  • You must have paid all court-ordered fines.

How Do You Get a Felony Expunged in California?

The expungement process begins by filing a petition with the court where the conviction occurred. In most cases, you will not have to appear in court for expungement proceedings. Your attorney will appear on your behalf. Expungement hearings are conducted in front of a judge. There is no jury. The prosecution will attend the hearing and may argue against expungement. Although the rules of evidence apply, expungement hearings are less formal than trials. Oral arguments typically take approximately 10 minutes once the case is called. Your attorney will need to provide documentation of rehabilitation and good behavior since the conviction.

If you want a felony criminal record expunged, contact Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP. Our firm has been serving criminal defense clients since 1994. When you choose us, you get an entire legal team dedicated to finding the most positive solution to your problem. Contact us at (213) 688-0460 to find out about expunging a felony.

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Posted in: Criminal Law