Misdemeanor convictions appear on your criminal record contrary to the common assumptions of the vast majority of people. This can be very problematic because criminal records appear in background checks and these due diligence devices have become very popular today. It is estimated that more than 80 percent of companies now order background checks on individuals they are considering for a position in the company. As you can imagine, the discovery of a criminal record tends to disqualify the person in question from the job.
Alas, misdemeanors can also hurt the individual who is looking to start a professional career. Whether you desire to become a doctor, lawyer or some other profession, most licensing boards perform a background check to determine if you have committed any crimes of “moral turpitude”. These investigations do not focus on whether the offense was a felony or misdemeanor, but instead on the nature of what was done. If your conviction involved something questionable, your license application could be rejected out of hand. That would be a disaster, particularly if you already have completed the expensive education process! Imagine owing $100,000 in student loans and then being rejected by the licensing board because of that misdemeanor on your record!
What is 1203.4? It is the code section in the California penal code that we can use to get your misdemeanor conviction expunged from your record. To this end, it is important to understand that we are not just getting your conviction sealed. No, we are getting it dismissed completely. We will petition the court to re-open the case, consider your current status and mark the previous case as dismissed.
When successful, not only will your criminal record show no misdemeanor, it will be the legal equivalent of having never been convicted at all. This means that you will be able to check the “no” box on applications that ask if you have ever been convicted of a crime. This would include employment applications, mortgage documents, student loan queries and, well, pretty much everything with a few small exceptions. This is why so many people move to have misdemeanors removed from their record.
As you can imagine, the courts are not just going to invalidate misdemeanors on a whim and the district attorney is going to fight the petition with all its might. This is why it is critical to have competent counsel fighting for you. We’ve become so adapt at these expungements that our clients often don’t have to attend the hearting to be grilled by the district attorney lawyer, but that is neither here nor there. To prevail in these matters, we must show the following requirements have been met to the satisfaction of the court:
- You were originally charged in a state action, not a federal case.
- If you were assigned probation, you have completed it in all aspects.
- If you were not assigned probation, a calendar year has passed since the date of your conviction.
- You have paid all monies in the form of fines and restitution ordered in the original conviction.
- You have performed all tasks such as community service, drug counseling, etc., ordered by that court.
- You are not currently charged with another crime.
As you may or may not know, the process of getting a petition through the court system can take longer than one might expect. The primary issue is the courts are overwhelmed with cases while also having had their budgets slashed given the economic problems in California. All of this means your petition could take anywhere from a couple of months to half a year to be completed. We encourage you to contact us for the latest time estimates as the court docket changes throughout the year.
We all make mistakes in life. For some of us, there are no consequences. For others, the mistakes end up in a conviction and a criminal record that can follow you around for the rest of your life. America is the land of second opportunities and getting you conviction expunged is the best way to get that second chance. When you are ready to start the misdemeanor expungement process, contact us at 800-628-0285.