If you have had any sort of a run-in with the law, including being arrested,
charged, or even convicted of a crime, then you will have an entry on
your public criminal history. This could have a serious negative impact
on your life since criminal background checks are now a common part the
process for seeking employment, housing, or even other resources like
loans. If you are having your ability to pursue these things hindered
by your criminal history, you may wish to consider having your record
expunged. However, this is not an option available to everyone who has
been convicted of any crime. Do you qualify? Read on to find out.
An Important Difference
The state of California does not allow for
true “expungement.” While the terms are often used interchangeably,
there is an important difference between expungement and “record
sealing.” Record sealing does not remove the criminal history from
the public record, it simply makes it read as though the case was dismissed.
Expungement, on the other hand, destroys the record of an incident entirely,
making it as though it never happened. This is not available in California
at all, so all “expungement” petitions are actually petitions
to seal an entry in your criminal history.
Eligibility for Expungement
Qualifying for expungement you to fit a rather stringent set of criteria.
The state does not grant these petitions easily, so it’s important
to make sure you even qualify before starting the petition process. If
you are unsure whether or not you qualify, speak with a Bakersfield criminal
attorney to discuss your wishes.
You may be eligible for expungement only if:
- You were convicted in a California state court (not a federal court)
- You did not go to a state prison
You have completed
all of your sentencing requirements, including probation, jail sentences, rehabilitation,
community service, required classes, and more
- Your charges were not a sex offense against a child, murder, or kidnapping
Because California does not allow for true record expungement, any sealed
record could be unsealed if you are convicted of the same crime again
after your record was initially sealed. This means completely sealing
your criminal history again could become even more difficult, as you must
petition the court separately for each individual charge you wish to seal.
Retaining an attorney for the expungement petition process is invaluable
to gaining a successful outcome to your case. At
Campbell Whitten, we are motivated by your success, and we fight to help you obtain the
best possible outcome. We can assist you with the expungement process
by helping you petition the court effectively and put your best case forward
during your hearing. When you need help with a criminal law matter, nobody
fights harder for you than the Bakersfield criminal defense lawyers at
Call Campbell Whitten today at 661.735.1038 to discuss your case with a skilled member of our team!