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Expungement Attorney in Los Angeles, California

Everyone makes mistakes. Unfortunately, when those mistakes leave a scar on your criminal record, the effects can be permanent. Even after you have honored the penalty for your crime, having a criminal record can make you feel like an outcast and prevent you from enjoying the fullness of your basic rights. 

The good news is that you may be able to clean up your criminal record through expungement. If you have a criminal record and are wondering if your records can be cleared or sealed, contact The Law Office of John Goalwin and our experienced legal team for help. We understand the laws surrounding expungement in California and can investigate, evaluate, and determine the best path to remove those haunting scars on your record. We proudly serve clients in Los Angeles, Torrance, Norwalk, Van Nuys, and Compton, California.

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What Is Expungement?

Before initiating the request to have your criminal record expunged, it is vital to understand what expungement is and what it can and cannot do. 

Expungement in California is the legal procedure that diminishes or removes certain criminal offenses from your record. 

Under California Penal Code 1203.4 PC, defendants who have been convicted of misdemeanors or felonies and have successfully completed their sentence and all of its requirements may be eligible for expungement. 

When a conviction is expunged, the case is reopened, the guilty plea or verdict is set aside, and the case is dismissed. 

It is important to note that expungement varies from state to state. In California, having your record expunged does not completely erase your record from public view. Rather than a specific listing of criminal offenses, an expunged record in California would read “dismissed in the interest of justice.”

Even though minor verbiage remains on the record, expungement prevents discrimination based on prior convictions. A person with an expunged record is no longer required to disclose previous convictions in employment or other situations where the question may be asked.

Who Is Eligible For Expungement?

One of the most basic requirements that determine eligibility for expungement is the completion of all requirements of your sentence. Most individuals who were sentenced to the county jail, probation, fines, court-ordered programs, or a combination of these penalties may be eligible for expungement. A few other notable conditions for eligibility are:

  • You are not currently facing criminal charges

  • If you did not receive probation, it has been at least one year since your conviction

  • If you were convicted of a felony, it has been at least two years since you completed your sentence requirements. 

Who Is Not Eligible for Expungement?

Not everyone will be eligible to have their record expunged. You may not be eligible if:

  • You were convicted in Federal Court

  • You served time in a California state prison 

  • You are still on probation or have not fully completed all requirements of your sentence

  • You were convicted of certain sex crimes or crimes against children

Getting a record expunged is no simple process. There are many more factors that can affect eligibility. This is why you should always consult with a California criminal defense attorney when considering expungement. 

What Are the Benefits of Expungement?

Even though the process of getting a record expunged can be complex, there are some major benefits. One of the most valuable benefits of expungement is the ability to secure employment in spite of your prior convictions. Almost every employer requires background checks during the application process. Expungement legally allows the applicant to select “no” when asked if they have ever been convicted of a crime. 

Another benefit of expungement is the personal satisfaction and peace that can be experienced after having your record expunged. It is not uncommon for the desire to have a clean slate and remove the negative stigma of a conviction to be the primary motivator for cleaning up a criminal record. Although there is never a magic eraser that completely eliminates the past, an expunged record often brings redemption and closure.

What Is the Process for Expungement?

In order to have the best chance of getting a record expunged, it is critical to understand the necessary steps in the process. 

Step 1 — Retain legal counsel 

Navigating the expungement process alone can be overwhelming and risky. A trusted criminal defense attorney can accurately determine eligibility, carry the workload, and provide the best opportunity for success. 

Step 2 — Gather important information

Before filing, familiarize yourself with your case. This includes detailed information about the crime, why it happened, where it happened, who convicted you, penalties imposed, copies of your criminal record, and any other documents that may be relevant to the case. 

Step 3 — File for expungement 

It costs money to file for expungement. Average fees are between $100 and $300 dollars. Your attorney can ensure that all necessary paperwork is completed and submitted correctly to the courts. 

Step 4 — Attend a court hearing 

Expungement hearings are held before a judge. During the hearing, the judge will review, consider eligibility, and make a determination for expungement. If your expungement is granted, you will receive a signed order from the courts documenting the dismissal of your conviction. If the expungement is denied, you may ask the judge why, make the necessary changes, and refile in six months. 

Expungement Attorney Serving
Los Angeles, California

If a criminal record is getting in the way of finding a job or experiencing a better life, expungement may give you the fresh start you desire. Contact our legal team today to schedule an immediate consultation. The Law Office of John Goalwin provides legal assistance for expungement in Los Angeles, California, as well as neighboring areas of Torrance, Norwalk, Van Nuys, and Compton.