Why You Should Consider Getting Your Criminal Record Expunged
For many of us, our criminal histories are deeply personal, private outliers from our past that we do not want shared with anyone. Yet, we forget that our personal information is still available to those that are willing to take the time to look, including employers, landlords, friends, and colleagues, and that this information may affect our relationships and professional opportunities.
Many people are eligible to have the vestiges of their prior criminal acts expunged from their records. If you are considering seeking an expungement, call the Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC today. The expungement process can be complex and having an attorney familiar with the San Diego courts will make the process easier. We are located in downtown San Diego near the San Diego Superior Courthouse.
Eligibility of Criminal Records for Expungement
Many misdemeanor offenses and some felonies are eligible for expungement in California. In addition to having to wait at least a year between the last court date and applying for an expungement, there are several other factors that must be met in order to have your offense eligible for expungement. These include, but are not limited to:
- You cannot have any current criminal actions pending
- You cannot be on probation for any criminal action
- You must have completed any court-ordered counseling, community services or rehabilitation programs
- You must have appeared for all of your court dates for the offense you wish to expunge
- You must not have served time in a state prison
If these, and other relevant factors are met, then your criminal record may be eligible for expungement.
Reasons for Getting an Expungement
Some people may question what getting an expungement will do for them, since some information about your criminal record may still be available to others who take the time to look for it.
With an expunged record, you can legally state that you have never been convicted of a crime when asked, and the court record reflects that there was a dismissal of charges.
This is the main reason that most people seek expungements: They want to be permitted to lawfully answer “no” when asked whether they have ever been charged with a crime. This is usually sufficient for those looking for jobs or homes, however, some individuals looking for government employment specifically may need something more than an expungement.
Sealing your court records is also an option, but this is only granted when the court finds no reasonable cause that you committed the underlying crime, which can be a high burden. Consulting with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney will help aid you in your decision about which process is right for you.
San Diego Expungement Attorney
It is important to understand that even if you meet all of the technical requirements for an expungement of your criminal record, your request may, nonetheless, be denied.
Expungements are not granted as a right and generally require a showing that the offender has been rehabilitated. This may require bringing in evidence from third parties, friends, family, employers, and others demonstrating that you are a valuable asset to your community.
Moreover, certain employers may still ask you about expunged records (lawyers, for example) and you may need to disclose this information in limited circumstances regardless of whether you get an expungement or seal your files.
To help understand what is best for you and your unique situation and to ensure that you have the best chance at getting the remainder of your criminal past removed from your records, contact an experienced San Diego expungement attorney today at the Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC to learn more about how to move forward.
Law Office of Vikas Bajaj, APC