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The New California Realignment Law: A Meaningful Second Chance

“What I would give for a second chance.” Have you ever found yourself throwing this thought around in your mind? All people, at one point in their lives, have likely said this to themselves hoping that something would come along to give them a fresh start. California’s new realignment law is exactly that, a fresh start.

Effective immediately, California Penal Code Section 1203.41 expands on old law to give more people convicted of felonies the opportunity to expunge their convictions even if probation was denied. Under the old law, those persons who were sentenced to county jail for their felony convictions were not eligible to have their convictions expunged if probation was denied. Under the new law, if you were sentenced to and served in county jail for a felony conviction even if probation was denied, you may be eligible to petition to expunge your conviction.

What is the New Realignment Law?

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The new realignment law gives courts the authority to expunge certain felony convictions from people’s criminal records. The felonies that this law applies to are those that are non-violent, non-serious, and non-sexual. In order to be eligible, you would have had to have served your sentence in county jail rather than state prison.

Also, you could have either served your full sentence or you could have served most of your sentence and have been released with probationary supervision. If you were released on probation then you cannot petition to expunge your conviction until one year after completion of probation. However, if you served your full sentence without probation then you must wait two years after your release to file your petition.

The court will not grant your petition if you are on probation, serving another sentence, or if you have committed another crime. Lastly, the prosecuting attorney must be given 15 days notice that you are petitioning to have your felony conviction expunged. The notification allows the prosecuting attorney to provide input to the court before your petition is granted.

How is This a Fresh Start?

So what exactly does this all mean for you? This means that if your petition is granted, you can confidently answer “NO” on job applications and housing applications to the question, “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?”

What are the pros? First, not having to disclose your felony conviction will help your employment chances.

What are the cons? One thing you must know about this new law is that it does not delete or remove your conviction. Rather, your record indicates that the conviction has been expunged. Prospective employers and landlords can still see the conviction when they do a background check. However, they will also see that the conviction was expunged.

In addition, if you are ever prosecuted for another crime, this new law will not prevent the prosecution from referring to your expunged offense. You will still have to disclose your felony conviction on applications for public office, for any state or local license, or for contracting with the California State Lottery Commission.

Having your conviction expunged will not allow you to own a firearm or hold public office. You also may be required to reimburse the court, city and county for the costs of having your conviction expunged.

How the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Can Help

At Wallin & Klarich, our criminal defense attorneys know the struggles you are going through while trying to find a new job or new place to live. We want you to know that we are here to help. Wallin & Klarich has been able to help thousands of individuals in the same position as you in expunging their criminal records. Our experienced attorneys have the skill necessary to navigate the legal system in order to give you the best shot at expunging your felony conviction.

Call us today at (888) 280-6839. We will get through this together.

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.