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An expungement (sometimes called an “expunction”) is a formal court order that dismisses your conviction. It can only be done after the sentence is served, so it does not help avoid penalties for the offense. However, by dismissing the conviction after the fact, the expungement effectively deletes it from your public record. This allows you to avoid disclosing your conviction in many situations, and restores some rights you wouldn’t have otherwise.
The eligibility rules are fairly simple. You are eligible IF:
- You didn’t serve any state prison time for your offense
- You have completed all penalties and conditions of your sentence (this includes probation, although we can request to end probation early as part of the process)
- You are not currently charged or serving a sentence for any other criminal offenses
- You didn’t commit any probation violations (although you may still qualify even if you did)
If you aren’t eligible because you served state prison time or because your offense was a sex crime, you may still be eligible for a certificate of rehabilitation.
Having a probation violation doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get an expungement. It just means we will have to take the extra step of justifying why an expungement would benefit your family and yourself. The court will consider this and several other factors in deciding whether to grant the expungement anyway.
Yes, depending on what the felony was.
In general, the rule is that a crime can potentially be expunged as long as you didn’t serve time in state prison (county jail is okay). In the past, this prevented felons from getting an expungement because most felonies carried prison sentences. Today, however, a felony is still eligible for expungement if:
It’s considered a “wobbler” (a crime that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor), or
It is a nonviolent felony that was adjusted under California’s “realignment” policy so that time was served in county jail instead of state prison
That does not mean that judges always understand or follow these rules. It is possible to be denied your expungement—wrongly—even if the above apply to you. If this has happened, you need to talk to a lawyer.
Don’t let a past mistake continue to haunt your life—or your career. Let the Law Offices of James S. Hong give you a FREE consultation and get you started on your expungement. Fill out the form to the right or call us at 213-480-7711 and get your free consultation today.
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