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What it Means to “Expunge” a Criminal Record

If you have been convicted of a crime, the stigma associated with the conviction is something that can haunt you for the rest of your life. Having to check “yes” on a job application when asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime is often enough to cost you the job, especially in these tough economic times. However, if you were convicted of a misdemeanor and have stayed out of trouble since then, it is actually relatively easy to have that record “expunged.”

It is important to understand what an expungement in California entails. Most importantly, after a motion for expungement under CA Penal Code 1203.4 is granted, you may legally check “no” when asked by private employers if you have ever been convicted of a crime. When a criminal conviction is expunged, the law no longer considers you as having been convicted of the offense.

However, it is also important to realize what an expungement does not do. It does not relieve you of your duty to disclose the conviction when you are applying with government employers or government licensing applications. In that situation you may state “Yes – conviction dismissed.” In California, government employers and licensing agencies (except for police agencies and concessionaire licensing boards), will treat you the same as if you had never been convicted of the crime.

In addition, a California expungement does not erase the conviction for several other purposes. An expunged criminal conviction can still be used to increase your punishment in future criminal cases. If your conviction prevented you from owning a gun, possessing a driver’s license, or holding a public office, an expungement will not re-instate those privileges.

If you have successfully completed all terms of your probation, paid all of your fines and fees ordered by the court, and have stayed out of trouble (traffic tickets are OK), then it is relatively easy to have a misdemeanor conviction expunged from your record. While there are no guarantees, if all of the above are true in your case, there is an excellent chance your motion for expungement will be granted.

Expunging a criminal record can have a substantial therapeutic effect on a person. For many people, a single youthful transgression can mar an otherwise outstanding record. By expunging your record, that mistake can be forgotten. It’s also great to finally be able to check “no” on that job application!

If you wish to close a forgettable chapter of your life, you should contact a skilled California expungement attorney, like those at Wallin & Klarich, today. With over 30 years of experience, Wallin & Klarich attorneys have expunged thousands of criminal records. Call us today at 1-888-280-6839 or visit us online at www.wklaw.com.

About Wallin & Klarich

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Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.