In California, expungement is the legal option allowing individuals with convictions to reverse the judgment or plea leading to a dismissal of the case. Under the California Penal Code 1203.4, this option is allowed for individuals with misdemeanor or some felony convictions so long as all the requisites under the law have been met.
The main effect of expungement is the removal of all records of the conviction upon proof of compliance with all the accessory penalties imposed by the conviction and issuance of the grant of expungement. The following though are the consequences of expungement upon its approval.
• While there is a removal of the conviction in an individual’s criminal history, some records of the conviction are not extinguished. These include repositories of the California and Federal Bureau of Investigation for criminal records which would indicate the conviction and the subsequent dismissal;
• The individual’s right to possess firearms are removed;
• The individual is prohibited from omitting the record of conviction in applications for government issued license, such as driver’s and other permits;
• The court case file cannot be sealed from public inspection because the court file remains part of the public record. There is recourse though under the California Labor Code;
• The previous conviction cannot be prevented from being used as a fact of prior behavior for sentencing purposes in any future convictions;
• The previous conviction cannot be prevented to be entered as evidence to impeach testimony given when the former convict gives testimony in court;
• The previous conviction cannot be prevented to form part of the basis in the refusal to grant or revocation of a government license or permit, such as real estate license, teaching credentials, security guard certificate and the like;
• The previous conviction cannot be prevented from being part of the record for the Immigration and Naturalization Service in any case on the grant, removal or exclusion of visa papers and matters.
• The previous conviction cannot be prevented from forming art of the record in determination of fitness for civic duty such as jury duty or civil service.
Expungement would have the effect removing some of the records of the conviction as well as the dismissal of the case. The abovementioned consequences remain intact and shall form part of the individual’s record despite the expungement.
The expungement of criminal records is a serious matter in California. Should you be or know anyone undergoing this process, do reach out to the lawyers at the Law Offices of Ramiro J. Lluis for a free consultation today.