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Expungement Law

After pleading to a criminal charge, many are placed on probation. That period can be as short as one year or it can be as long as five years. Once it is completed however, you may petition the court to reverse your conviction under California’s expungement law as your first step to “clear your record.” While there are steps to take afterward that better ensure your past doesn’t come back to haunt you, obtaining an expungement order is the most important stage to get there.

If done the right way, a Guilty plea will be converted into a Not Guilty plea.  Finally, the conviction will be turned into a dismissal for purposes of your court record.  Since a “criminal record” is really a compilation of many information sources, that court docket is critical.

Below are some common questions about expungement law and some suggestions for those looking for some direction.

Can I Clear my Record Before Probation is Over?

In some cases, yes.  California makes it very clear that under special circumstances, the expungement law will allow you to petition the court for a reduction or termination of your probation before it expires. If granted, the expungement is then granted by operation of law.  Which cases qualify for early termination are tricky and should be evaluated by an experienced attorney.

Do Employers Get to See My Record Under the Expungement Law?

If done the right way, you will have the authority to say that you have not suffered a conviction. However, employers utilize several ways of doing background checks or screenings.  Those companies will not automatically know that the court granted your request and could use outdated information in reports that are generated about you for employment purposes.  But a more comprehensive answer to this question can be found on another article: What is a Criminal Record?

In short, most employers will have limited access to your criminal court files.  If they do obtain your records, however, the expungement law allows you to state you have never suffered a criminal conviction if your case has been expunged.  This is the purpose of the expungement law.

How Do I Get Started with Clearing my Record?

You can start by contacting an experienced expungement attorney that has successfully handled criminal case expungements so that your case can be first evaluated.  Once there is a clear roadmap on what your goals are, you can proceed to petition the court for the chance of a fresh start.

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