Most ex-convicts desire a clean start at life, and it is not fair to get constant reminders of a mistake made years ago. Expungement is an excellent way to keep a past criminal record away from several people.
It is hard to determine precisely how long it can take the court to expunge your records – but understanding exactly how the process works increases certainty. Ex-convicts deserve the guidance of an Orange County criminal defense lawyer throughout the expungement petition journey.
What Factors Determine How Long an Expungement Takes?
Some expungement applications take longer to be determined than others. The period taken depends on:
- The period between the expungement application and the conviction
- Whether the courthouse has the case in its computer system
- Whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony
- The complexity of the case
- Whether or not the case file has been stored off-site of the courthouse
- Whether the court needs a probation report before the hearing
Notably, the forms need to be filed in the court where you were convicted. The paid fees depend on whether the case was a felony or a misdemeanor, and the cost of fees is usually available on the court’s website.
Note that financial assistance is available for people unable to raise the fees. If your petition is denied, an Orange County expungement lawyer can help you reapply after six months.
What Can’t an Expungement Do?
An expungement has many advantages, but it is subject to certain limitations. For instance, it cannot do the following:
- You will still need to register as a sex offender.
- If a future offense is “prior-able,” the expunged case can still be used to increase your penalties. This is common for theft and DUI offenses.
- You will not be allowed to be in possession of a firearm earlier than you would have been permitted.
How Do I Know if I Qualify for Expungement?
Before applying for sealing and expungement, you have to begin by finding out if you are eligible to apply. You can start assembling the paperwork if:
- You are not facing any criminal charges when applying for expungement.
- You are not serving a sentence for another felony or misdemeanor.
- You got early termination of probation or successfully completed the probation.
- You have no outstanding court-ordered fines.
- You were convicted in a state court, not a federal court.
Notably, the court holds the discretion to expunge you under the following circumstances:
- You failed to fulfill all the probation requirements, but you paid all the restitution, are not charged with another offense or serving another sentence at the time of application.
- You have successfully completed probation after a conviction of a misdemeanor for prostitution or solicitation after being a victim of human trafficking.
- You stayed in county jail after a felony conviction, but it has been two years since you got out of prison.
- You suffered trauma/injury-related issues like mental health while serving in the United States military.
What Disqualifies Me From Expungement?
Certain situations can make you unsuitable for expungement. You do not qualify if:
- Your conviction involved certain sex offenses relating to children.
- You are currently facing criminal charges.
- You are serving a sentence.
- You are on probation for a criminal offense and are unable to get an early termination.
- You were imprisoned in a California State prison after conviction.
- Your conviction happened in a federal court.
What Details Should I Have When Applying for Expungement?
An expungement attorney in Laguna Hills, CA, has the necessary experience of putting together all the documents you need to apply for an expungement. Here is what you need to have as you prepare to talk to us:
- The docket or case number.
- If you entered a plea or not, and whether you pleaded guilty or not guilty
- If there was a verdict
- Details of your sentencing
- If you were given a prison term
- The prison you served your jail term
- The date of your release from prison
- If you were released on parole
- The end date of your parole
How Can I Terminate an Ongoing Probation and Qualify for Expungement?
Your application can only be successful if you have either completed or terminated your probation. An Orange County expungement lawyer can help you file a petition for the termination.
Notably, the decision to honor your petition is at the court’s discretion. The judge might consider:
- Your criminal record.
- Your convictions and how serious they are
- If you are able to secure a job if your probation is terminated
- Your behavior while on probation
- Your community ties
- People you have supported
- Volunteer work you have done
What Compels California Residents to Apply for Expungement?
People attempt to get an expungement for various reasons. The driving force is usually personal and often motivated by different experiences in the day-to-day lives.
- Employment. Some employers discriminate against individuals based on their past criminal records. If they are expunged, private sector employers may not gain access to them anymore.
- Housing. As unlawful as it is, landlords still check out your history of crime before they let you live in their apartments – thus, limiting your housing options.
- Student loans. It is generally easier to access student loans when your criminal records have been dismissed.
Licensing. Sometimes, getting a license can be frustrating if you have a relative criminal record like DUI.
- To find “closure” for past mistakes. Some ex-convicts just want a clean start, and a successful expungement can signify this for them.
Award-Winning Attorneys Helping Clients Get their Records Expunged?
It will take you a shorter period to put together the paperwork if you utilize an expungement attorney’s experience. You also have higher chances of success and erasing your past mistakes if you walk this journey with an experienced California expungement attorney.
Remember that the court hears cases in the order that they were filed. So, the earlier you file, the earlier it can get finalized.
Talk to a Southern California criminal defense attorney at Socal Law Network by calling (949) 234-7688.