How to Clear-up a Criminal Record (“Expungement”)

Residents of Santa Clarita have a right to know the laws in California that encompass criminal expungements.  Those code sections are as follows:

1. Penal Code § 1203.4. This code section is used to expunge cases where probation was part of the sentence.

2. Penal Code § 1203.4a. This code section is used to expunge cases where there was no probation issued.

3. Penal Code § 1203.41. This code section is used to expunge cases where a person was sentenced for a felony, but instead, served time only in county jail, and not in a state prison.

4. Penal Code § 17. This code section is used to reduce a felony conviction to a misdemeanor, which can then be dismissed. Felonies meeting the criteria under Penal Code § 17 are called “wobblers.”  A wobbler means that the code section in which a person was cited could have been charged with either a felony or misdemeanor.

Just remember the word “expungement” is used when referring to the process of clearing-up a person’s criminal record. In general, the process starts with a request that the court (1) reopen your criminal case, which allows you to either (a) withdraw your plea or (b) expunge a prior guilty verdict, (2) dismiss the charges, and (3) close the case back-up without a conviction. In essence, you no longer have a conviction on your record. However, the record of your arrest will still exist, but the outcome of the case will no longer reflect your plea or conviction and instead, will show that it was dismissed in the “interests of justice.”

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Expunge your criminal record

Santa Clarita residents – please note – not all convictions can be dismissed.

Expungement is limited to cases where a defendant is convicted of a misdemeanor, or, a felony that could have been charged as a misdemeanor but instead was sentenced to county jail time, probation, a fine, or a combination thereof, no matter if you live in Santa Clarita or Beverly Hills.

In addition, the California Penal Code expressly prohibits certain types of convictions from being dismissed. Most of these exceptions involve serious vehicle code violations (for example, convictions that result in two or more points on your driving record) or sexual offenses against minors. You are encouraged to find a more detailed list of exceptions in the following California Penal Codes: Penal Code §§ 1203.4, 1203.4a, and 1203.41.

If a Santa Clarita resident received a state prison term as their sentence, or they were convicted of a felony that cannot be reduced to a misdemeanor, that Santa Clarita resident will need to file paperwork for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, rather than a Petition and Order for Dismissal. If you need more information, it can be found at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation at www.cdcr.ca.gov/BOPH/pardons.html.

Thus, if you or a loved one require help with a criminal expungement, or, if you need assistance or general guidance, contact Santa Clarita’s caring legal professionals at Low Cost Legal Pros. Now, that’s good advice!

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