Expungement law is dictated at the state level, not the federal level of law making. As a result, every state has its own laws on the issue. Some are very strict and some are much more liberal. Fortunately for you, California is considered to lean to the left on the issue, which means there is a very good chance we can expunge your criminal record.
Expungement is the act of having your record wiped cleaned. Importantly, the record is not being sealed. Instead, we will have a judge in the Orange County court system reopen the original criminal matter and consider dismissing it pursuant to certain penal code provisions such as 1203.3 and 1203.4. If the court agrees, then the original criminal charges are dismissed. Any mention of them is removed from your record and all criminal databases. If a person performs a background or criminal record check on you, they will see a clean slate. This can be the difference between starting a career or ending up in a low paying job for the rest of your life.
Are You Eligible?
There are many different paths through the penal code to having a criminal record expunged in Orange County. Each has its own requirements. For the purposes of brevity, however, there are a few common requirement that always need to be met.
The first requirement is procedural in nature. You must have originally been charged and convicted in state court. Federal cases are governed by separate legislation. Assuming you were in a state matter, you must also have complied with all the sentencing requirements associated with your original conviction including, but not limited to, paying fines and restitution and attending ordered classes [drugs, anger, etc.] and performing tasks such as community service. The completion of any probationary period is also usually required, however, we can often get your record expunged even if you are still serving probation by having it terminated.
The biggest hurdle that typically arises in the expungement process involves jail time served. If you have served time in a county jail, we can obtain an expungement of your record. If you spent time in a state prison, things become a bit more complicated as you are generally limited to seeking a Certificate of Rehabilitation instead of an expungement.
Determining whether expungement is an option is highly dependent on the facts related to your conviction. Please contact us at 800-628-0285 to learn more about the options applicable to your specific situation.
The expungement process typically takes between three to seven months depending on the caseload of the courts. The process involves a month or two of preparation time in which we meet with you and develop the strongest case possible. Once completed, we then file a petition for your expungement with the Orange County Superior Court. The case is assigned to a judge and the district attorney is given notice of the action. The court will then hold a hearing and consider the evidence and arguments of counsel before rendering a decision. In most situations, we do not need you to attend the hearing.
The expungement of a criminal record is one of the most important things that can happen to a person who has been convicted of a crime. Given this, it is vital that one retain an expungement lawyer in Orange County that has experience in the system. Knowing the views of certain judges and prosecuting attorneys can be the difference between a successful result and a hearing that goes bad.
It is important to understand one thing very clearly. The prosecuting attorney is going to argue against the expungement of your record. Most prosecuting attorneys have aspirations of entering politics at some point. If they hope to be elected, they cannot be seen as being “soft on crime” in any way. You can expect them to vigorously work to “protect” their previous conviction. In turn, you will need an experienced law firm such as ours to stand up for you and vigorously counter their arguments.
A criminal record will haunt you for the rest of your life. Background checks are now standard procedure for employers, licensing companies and even landlords. If you are tired of your past destroying your present and future, contact us today at 800-628-0285 for a free consultation regarding the Orange County expungement process.