Los Angeles Expungement Attorneys
It’s common knowledge that being convicted of a crime can affect your ability to get a job for the rest of your life. However, it may surprise you that the fact you were arrested is also featured on your record – whether you were tried or convicted. In other words, when you’re up for the job of your dreams, a background check can quickly reveal that you were arrested at some point in the past, putting you at a significant disadvantage. However, the California Penal Code provides two procedures you can use to seal and expunge your criminal record and restore your reputation.
Our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP have decades of experience protecting the rights of the wrongfully arrested. We can take you through the entire process of expunging your record, starting with filing the request and working through any needed appearances in court.
Criminal records, also called “rap sheets,” are official documents that contain a concise history of all illegal activity of an individual, including:
- Your full name, prior name(s), and any known aliases
- Your birth date, race, ethnicity, and fingerprints
- A photograph and notes of any distinguishing physical characteristics
- Any previous or current indictments
- Arrest records
- Any outstanding warrants
- Information regarding any convictions
Criminal records are established from the moment you are accused of committing a crime, beginning with a mugshot and fingerprints. Your criminal record can be requested by any person, as long as they provide their ID and a legitimate reason for requesting it. Your criminal record (if you have one) will likely be pulled by an employer who is reviewing your candidacy for any position. Because your arrest records are part of the document, the fact of having been arrested at any point in your life has a high potential to create a negative impact on both your ability to be employed, business partnerships, as well as romantic relationships.
Section PC 851.8 of the California Penal Code allows you to expunge an arrest from your criminal record if you can show a judge that you were “factually innocent,” and there were no valid grounds for your arrest in the first place. Showing that you were factually innocent can be challenging, as you have the burden of providing evidence to the judge that you were innocent. An acquittal or lack of charges being filed does not automatically establish that you were “factually innocent” – it only indicates that the prosecution had insufficient evidence to file charges and prove that you were guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The benefit of having your record expunged is that the record is deleted and will no longer be accessible by others.
In cases where you may not be able to prove factual innocence, recent legislation under the CARE Act (PC 851.91) outlines a process where you can have your arrest records sealed based on “legal innocence.” Legal innocence is determined when charges are dropped, no charges are filed, or you are acquitted after trial. The process in PC 851.91 can be used if:
- You were arrested but no criminal charges were filed
- Criminal charges were filed but later dismissed
- You were acquitted at trial
- You were convicted, but the conviction was later reversed on appeal
However, you may not be able to have your record sealed if:
- You were charged with a serious crime for which there is no statute of limitations (unless you were acquitted)
- The statute of limitations on the crime you were arrested for has not expired
- You intentionally evaded law enforcement in their attempt to arrest you
- You have a history of arrests or convictions for child abuse, domestic violence, or other violent crimes
Having your record sealed with PC 851.91 will result in the record being “invisible” to everyone except for government agencies and any review regarding your employment as a peace officer. With a sealed record, you can honestly say “no” to a question of whether or not you’ve been arrested from a potential employer.
Having arrests on your record can affect your life in countless ways, and there’s no reason not to act. Our criminal defense attorneys at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP have the knowledge and experience to file requests under either PC 851.91 or PC 851.8, and we know how to do it right. We can take your case through appeal and hearing as needed, fighting aggressively to protect your rights. Contact us today at (213) 688-0460 to schedule a free consultation.
Recent Case Results
- Complete Dismissal of Molestation Charges
Attorney Mark Werksman’s 29 year old client was falsely accused of molesting two neighborhood children and was subsequently charged with felony child molestation, with a significant prison sentence hanging over his head should he be convicted. Instead, at the preliminary hearing Werksman was able to convince the court to grant his client a complete dismissal of any charges.
- Decision Set Aside
Client, a college student in a faulty Title IX case, was awarded $130,000 in attorney fees.
- Probation with No Jail Time for Drug Money Laundering Charge
Wilmington man accused in New York federal court of laundering drug money through the sale of laptop computers. Mark was able to get the case transferred to federal court in Los Angeles, where he convinced the United States Attorney to reduce the charges. His client was sentenced to probation with no jail time on a misdemeanor conviction.