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Who is Eligible for Expungement in California?

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

Reversing Expungement

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 Campbell Whitten.

Call Campbell Whitten today at 661.735.1038 to discuss your case with a skilled member of our team!