There is a specific remedy that individuals can avail of that had been previously convicted of misdemeanors and some felonies in the state of California. This special avenue is called expungement and it is the legal process of setting aside an individual’s final conviction after plea of guilt or no contest to the criminal offense charged.
This special proceeding is found in the California Penal Code 1203.4. Here, the individual’s court files would be modified from the original conviction to an entry of judgment of not guilty. It should be noted though that expungement does not erase or remove the conviction from the public record. What the effect of expungement in the California Criminal dockets would mean a clearance of any conviction of guilt for the misdemeanor committed or some felonies that have been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The California Penal Code further sets forth the qualifications for an individual to be eligible for expungement. All of the following conditions must be met before an individual can undertake expungement proceedings for their benefit.
1. Full compliance and completion of all the conditions set forth in the probation order must be shown. Should there be no probation condition imposed on the conviction, then an individual can file for expungement proceedings three hundred and sixty five days after the judgment on the case has been pronounced.
2. All fines and other financial/fiscal penalties must have been fulfilled in compliance with the sentencing order.
3. All the conditions set forth in the sentencing order must be complied with by the individual. These may include community service hours or public service announcements or even wearing ankle bracelet trackers that have been included in the judgment order.
4. No new offenses should have been committed by the individual or other penalties such as probation being served at the time of the commencement of the expungement proceedings.
Upon presentation of proof of compliance to all the requisites of expungement has been made, then one can file for expungement proceedings. If all requisites have been complied with, the full expungement process can take anywhere from four to six months and is done on a first come, first served basis. This time frame is dependent on the availability of records of the arresting agency, the records of the county where the arrest was made or conviction was pronounced, the date and age of the case and the transmittal of other necessary documentation. Once fully reviewed and the court finds merit in the petition, then a court order would be issued detailing the setting aside of the judgment or conviction.
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.