Cleaning Up Your Criminal Record: Expungements, Terminating Probation, Felony Reductions, Certificates of Rehabilitation and More . . .

introduction

If you have been convicted of a crime in the past, you understand that the punishment for the crime doesn't end upon release from prison, jail, or the end of your probation.  Prospective employers, landlords, and licensing agencies can use that prior conviction to legally discriminate against you.  As such, you may feel as though you're being perpetually punished for your conviction by way of being denied employment, housing, or licensure.  

Don't give up hope.  Stand up to the man.  You have options.

expungements

"Expungement” is a term used to refer to the process of clearing your criminal record. In this process, you request that the court re-open your criminal case, withdraw the plea or guilty verdict, dismiss the charges, and re-close the case without a conviction.  In effect, you are no longer a convicted person.  

Expungements are available to individuals convicted of:  (1) infractions or misdemeanors and not put on probation; (2) misdemeanors with probation; (3) felonies with probation; (4) felonies with a county jail sentence.  If you were convicted of a felony and sent to state prison, you are ineligible for an expungement, but may apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation (discussed below).  

The benefits of an expungement are staggering.  Especially for individuals seeking employment.  Please feel free to contact me now to begin the expungement process.  

Early Termination of Probation

If you were granted probation after your conviction, you must be off of probation in order to be eligible for an expungement.  However, you can petition a court to terminate your probation early, and grant an expungement at the same time.  

If you would like to terminate your probation early and file for an expungement, please feel free to contact me now.  

Reducing Felonies to Misdemeanors

Some felonies, called "wobblers," can be reduced to a misdemeanor pursuant to Penal Code section 17, subdivision (b).  The best course of action in a felony expungement case is to:  (1) reduce the felony to a misdemeanor; and (2) expunge the misdemeanor if the court reduces the felony.  That way, you will only have an expunged misdemeanor on your record, and not an expunged felony, which is much better.  

Prop 47 also offers an avenue for persons convicted of a felony to reduce it to a misdemeanor. Under Prop 47, individuals with specified felonies (list of eligible offenses listed here) can petition the court for reduction to a misdemeanor.  

If you are interested in determining if you are eligible to have your felony reduced, or would like to begin the Prop 47 process, please feel free to contact me now.  

Certificates of Rehabilitation

If a person is sentenced to state prison for a felony conviction, they are ineligible for an expungement.  However, they can seek relief through a Certificate of Rehabilitation.  

Certificates of Rehabilitation relieve some sex offenders of their duty to register. They can enhance a felon’s potential for licensing consideration by a State board, serve as an official document to demonstrate a felon’s rehabilitation, which could enhance employment possibilities, and serve as an automatic application for a gubernatorial pardon.  

In the event that the gubernatorial pardon is granted, then persons convicted of a felony may serve on a jury trial, may have their firearms rights restored, unless the underlying conviction was for a felony involving the use of a dangerous weapon. Further, a pardon will allow a felon to be considered for appointment as a county probation officer or a state parole agent, but not to any other peace officer positions. 

If you are interested in applying for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, or would like more information, please feel free to contact me now.  

If you live in Temecula, Murrieta, Wildomar, Perris, San Jacinto, Banning, Hemet, Menifee, or another city in southwest Riverside County and are in need of an expungement, early termination of probation, felony reduction, or a certificate of rehabilitation, please reach out.  I'm happy to discuss all of your options in order to get your record as clean as possible.  

 

Posted by Mike Donaldson.