As one of the Wallin & Klarich expungement attorneys in San Diego, I am frequently in the San Diego courthouses. I am very familiar with all of the courthouses in San Diego: Downtown, El Cajon, Vista, and Chula Vista. Because I spend so much time in court, with the judges, District Attorneys, and City Attorneys, I also have the opportunity to see other people’s cases in court.
There is one particular type of situation I see far too often, and I would like to see less of it. I’m referring to people who have convicted of a crime, and who come in to court, without a lawyer, and ask the judge to expunge their criminal record. I think it is wonderful that people want to expunge their record. I think it is wonderful that they want to do it themselves. I think it is wonderful that they put forth the time and effort to go through the steps for an expungement. The only problem I have is that all too frequently, the defendants do it wrong and the judges are forced to deny the expungement. That should never happen. The people think the expungement is so simple and straightforward, and so they do it themselves, yet they often skip an absolutely necessary step. And it is always the same step that people mess up on.
It’s not that I have a problem with it-it’s that I just think it’s so unfortunate, so sad, so unnecessary. For example, I was in court this morning when the judge called a young lady’s case. She asked the judge to expunge a felony conviction. The District Attorney said he didn’t even have a file and didn’t know she wanted an expungement. Result? Petition denied! That’s right! It was not denied because she did not deserve an expungement-she deserved one! I spoke with her afterward and told her what she needed to do to get an expungement. She was very disappointed that she had made such a silly mistake, because she was leaving for Germany very soon, and she needed the expungment before she left. Now, there would not be enough time for her to get the expungement before her trip out of the country. Had she spoken to a lawyer to begin with, she would not have found herself in such a predicament. Right after I spoke with her, my case was called. My client and I approached, and about 15 seconds later the judge ordered that my client’s felony conviction be expunged.
Please, do yourself a favor, and just speak with a lawyer about your case, even if you do not intend to hire a lawyer, even if you have no money, even if all you want to do is ask questions, call a lawyer. Make sure you do it right-the first time. You’ll be glad you did and we’ll be glad you did-we’re here to help, we want you to succeed.