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Bay Area Criminal Defense Blog


Posted by Lynn Gorelick | Feb 25, 2015 | 0 Comments

Expungement is a legal process that permits the convictions and other criminal records to be sealed from a person's criminal record.  The California Penal Code allows for three different types of expungements.  Which type of expungement is right for you depends upon your criminal record, prior criminal sentencing, and other factors.  Many people see an advantage in having an expungement or “having their records sealed,” because convictions are essentially “erased” from your record.  This process grants many individuals a fresh start, and can be helpful in seeking employment, various licenses, even in renting an apartment or buying a home.  

Types of Expungement

There are three types of expungements available to those with a criminal record.

  1. Criminal convictions involving Probation:  According to §1203.4 of the California Penal Code (PC), Misdemeanor convictions in which probation was a part of the sentencing may be expunged.
  2. Criminal convictions with no Probation: §1203.4(a) PC says that Misdemeanor and Infraction convictions which did not include Probation may be expunged.
  3. Felony convictions reduced to Misdemeanors:  Under §17 PC, certain Felonies convictions may be eligible for reduction to a Misdemeanor, and then that Misdemeanor may in turn be eligible for expungement.

What can an Expungement do?  And what it can't.

There are certain things that obtaining an expungement of your conviction can and cannot do.  For one, while the conviction is “sealed” from your criminal record, it remains in your criminal history.  Instead of showing “conviction,” your record will now indicated that there was a conviction but that it was expunged.  

It is important to know and understand what this does and does not permit you to do.

For example, you will still need to disclose your criminal history when filling out an application for any type of government-issued license, such as a driver license.  However, while you have to disclose your conviction, you will also get to say that the conviction was later expunged.  

There is a great advantage to expungements specifically when it comes to employment.  According to the Labor Code of the State of California, your employer (or potential employer) is not allowed to ask you about any arrests they might find on your record unless that arrest resulted in a conviction.  With an expungement, you are re-opening your old case and dismissing your conviction.  This permits you to lawfully answer “No” if asked – on all non-government forms (such as an employment application) – “Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offense?”  Your current (or future) employer cannot ask about expunged convictions.

Getting an expungement will not, however, hide your previous conviction from any governmental agency, such as a police department or the Department of Motor Vehicles.  Also, it will not remove you from Habitual Offender status, should that apply to you.

Contact Attorney Lynn Gorelick regarding obtaining an Expungement

When you contact the Gorelick Law Offices, we can discuss your case with you to see if you qualify for possible expungement under the criteria provided by the California Penal Code.  Provided that you meet these requirements, have fulfilled all the terms and conditions of your sentence, included at least one-half of your Probation time, then you may be eligible for an expungment.

Call attorney Lynn Gorelick today if you suffered a conviction in any of the courts in Alameda or Contra Costa counties to see if you qualify for obtaining an expungement of your criminal record.

About the Author

Lynn Gorelick

Lynn Gorelick has been an attorney for over 36 years. She is the Attorney Lynn Gorelick is the Immediate Past President of the California DUI Lawyers Association and a Faculty and Sustaining member of the National College of DUI Defense. Lynn is a Specialist Member of the California DUI Lawyers Association and lectures frequently to other attorneys regarding DUI and DMV issues.


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