California Criminal Records: Everything You Need To Know

If you have a criminal record in California, it is important that you know what this actually entails for you, both professionally and personally. Some crimes can have a serious, long-lasting impact on your ability to find work, get a license, and many other privileges that are easy to take for granted when you are not blocked by such a frustrating situation. Working with a criminal defense attorney to learn about how to navigate any complications that you encounter as a result of your criminal record is one of the best ways that you can learn how to adjust your life to accommodate these complications, but the reality is that it can feel like an insurmountable task at the start. 

The following is some general information about how you can learn more about your criminal record and the limitations that you may encounter as a result of it, who can access it, what you can do about your record, and more. The team at the Law Office of Vikas Bajaj has years of experience helping a wide range of clients understand their records, and we will be happy to do the same for you. Contact us now for an initial consultation so that we can discuss your situation in specific details, and give you a better sense of how we can work together towards your ultimate goal.

Frequently Asked Questions About California Criminal Records

After being convicted of a crime in California, your conviction will go on your criminal record that will be available to a number of organizations, including potential employers that you allow to run a background check. Depending on the potential employer’s internal policies, as well as a number of state and federal laws depending on your record, you may find that you are ineligible to work there, which can be extremely disheartening and frustrating. 

This is one of the many concerns that our clients have about their criminal records, and the following are some of the most common questions and answers that we are happy to go over during an initial consultation as well as throughout the course of our work together. Read below to get a general idea of the answers to these questions, but remember that the only way to truly understand how your own situation relates to the question is by working with an attorney in regards to your unique case.

How long will by conviction remain on my criminal record?

According to California law, all records of arrests, detentions, dispositions, and personal identification information will remain on your record until you reach 100 years of age, and your criminal conviction will remain on your record indefinitely. There are instances when you were convicted as a minor that your record will be sealed or wiped as an adult, but in instances where you are tried as an adult—even as a juvenile—that the conviction will remain.

If I was tried and beat a case, will all record of the charges be wiped from my record?

It is likely that there will likely remain a record of the arrest and charges, but it is important to remember that there is a significant difference between a charge and a conviction, and an employer, housing agency, or other organization is not able to limit your access to their services or employment opportunities due to an arrest – provided that the case has been concluded and you were found not guilty, or the case was thrown out. If you have an ongoing case, then the situation changes significantly and we will need to discuss this directly. 

Can I have my record sealed or expunged to keep this information from being available?

It depends on the nature of your conviction, but for issues like marijuana charges or those related to sex/human trafficking, you may be able to either request that your conviction is removed or cleaned through a special human trafficking avenue, or may be automatically removed in response to California’s changing stance on marijuana. For other convictions, such as a DUI, the path towards expungement or record sealing can be much more complicated, and may not be possible at all in many instances. Again, it is best that we discuss this in specific detail in order to provide you with the best information.

What should I do if the information on my criminal record is incorrect?

If you have information on your criminal record that is incorrect, such as a conviction that you did not receive, a conviction where you were found not guilty or the case was dismissed, or any number of other common issues with California criminal records, working with a criminal justice attorney is the best way to make sure that you take every necessary step to resolve this frustrating—and potentially harmful to your personal and professional life—issue as soon as possible. 

You will need to request a copy of your record, proof of the incorrect information, and will then need to work with the arresting agency or district attorney who has jurisdiction over your situation.

Can I request a copy of my own criminal record?

You are able to request a copy of your own criminal record, which can be extremely helpful if you want to know what sort of conversation you may be having if someone else runs a background check on you for things related to housing, employment, education, and other situations where a background check may be necessary. To do so, you can submit an application through the State of California’s Department of Justice. You will need to submit payment for this request, as well as proof of your identity in the form of fingerprints


Criminal Law