Many people believe in second chances. Making mistakes is part of human nature, although some mistakes carry significant consequences that create lasting effects. If you’ve been convicted of a drug felony offense, you know how serious the penalties are. Even after fulfilling the terms of your sentence, you will likely face additional limitations to your freedom, including barriers to housing and employment. Expungement is a legal process that allows the court to remove or reduce someone’s criminal convictions for various offenses. While the expungement process in California differs from that in other states and will not completely erase a conviction from your criminal record, it usually makes it easier to find gainful employment and enjoy a brighter future. Here’s what you should know about drug felony convictions and record cleaning in California.
What is Expungement?
In California, true “expungement” does not exist, but the court provides options for those wishing to clean their records. According to California Penal Code 1203.4, certain individuals who have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor offense who meet a number of specific criteria may be eligible to petition the court to review the case. If the petition is successful, the court shall “dismiss the accusations or information against the defendant…and he or she shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she has been convicted.” Ultimately, your criminal record will be revised to show that the criminal complaint against you was reduced or dismissed by the court, making it more likely that you won’t suffer additional hardship when applying for employment or housing in the future.
Determining Whether You Qualify for Record Cleaning
There are several factors that impact whether you qualify for record cleaning in California. For instance, you’ll need to demonstrate that you are not currently facing any new criminal charges and that you are not actively serving a sentence for a criminal conviction. You’ll also need to show that you have successfully completed the terms of your probation or that you obtained an early termination from probation. There are several other eligibility criteria that you’ll need to explore before you move forward with the petition process, so it’s key to discuss the specifics of your situation with a knowledgeable attorney to determine what steps to take next.
Legal Guidance is Essential
While it’s possible to proceed with the record cleaning process on your own, the laws governing this legal process are complex and often lead to confusion. It’s highly advisable to work with a trusted criminal defense attorney who can support you at every phase of the process so that you can obtain your desired outcome. If you are ready to secure the second chance you’re looking for, reach out to an attorney today to discuss your options.
To learn more about your options for record cleaning in Los Angeles County, the dedicated legal team at Wegman & Levin is here to help. Call (818) 980-4000 today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney.