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Articles Posted in Clearing Your Criminal Record

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Criminal Background ChecksIt has become routine. You apply for a job, and your potential boss asks you for permission to conduct a criminal background check. For those who have no criminal history, such a check is not an issue, but for the millions of people who have been convicted of a crime, a background check is a significant barrier to getting a job.

In the last few years, the federal government has begun putting pressure on state and local governments to adopt stricter policies that prevent using criminal background checks as a way to discriminate against current and prospective employees. In 2013, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued BMW. A federal court found the company used criminal background checks as a pretext to deny employment to a disproportionate number of otherwise qualified African American candidates for jobs at its manufacturing plant in Greer, South Carolina.1

A similar result occurred when the EEOC sued Pepsi for discrimination based on criminal checks that adversely affected the employment of over 300 African Americans. In 2012, the soda manufacturer was ordered to pay $3.13 million to those former employees and applicants.2

The Problem of Race and Criminal Background Checks

Racial disparities have long been an issue in our criminal justice system. For instance, African Americans and Hispanics represent 58 percent of all incarcerated people in the United States, but only comprise 25 percent of the U.S. population. One out of every six black men in the U.S. has spent time in jail or prison.

The overwhelming number of men and women that are behind bars in this country are there because of drug offenses. Though statistics indicate that there are five times as many white drug users as there are black drug users, nearly 60 percent of people in jail or prison for a drug offense are black.3

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Criminal Expungment San Bernardino

Having a criminal record is embarrassing and can have devastating effects on your future. Most notably, having a conviction on your criminal record will affect your ability to obtain future employment during a criminal record check or maintain current employment. Many jobs will ask you to put on your application if you have been convicted of a crime. If you have to respond yes to this question, it will likely negatively affect your ability to get a job.

However, your criminal record doesn’t have to keep holding you back. You can avoid this fate if you have your criminal record expunged. In California, there are several ways that you can petition the court to get rid of an arrest or criminal conviction. Your experienced expungement attorney can help you find out if you are eligible for an expungement and petition the court for you.

How Can Wallin & Klarich Clean Your Criminal Record? (PC 1203.4)

How your criminal defense attorney will proceed with your case will depend on the circumstances of your criminal record. If you were arrested on suspicion of committing a crime but were not convicted, your skilled attorney from Wallin & Klarich can help you petition the court to have your arrest record sealed or destroyed. If you successfully have your record destroyed, you will be able to truthfully tell potential employers that you have never been arrested.

If you were actually convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense, but you never served a state prison sentence, you may be able to get your conviction dismissed. There are certain qualifications you must meet in order to get the conviction dismissed on your record.

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A recent Court of Appeal decision has expanded the effect of a Certificate of Rehabilitation. Under old law regarding 290.5 of the California Penal Code, a Certificate of Rehabilitation could not absolve your obligation of sex registration under Penal Code 290 if convicted of a 288a (b)(1), oral copulation with a minor 16 or 17 years old. You needed a Governor’s Pardon to stop your obligation from registration. Under the recent case of D.M vs. Department of Justice, if a superior court judge grants a Certificate of Rehabilitation under 4852 of the California Penal Code, it will eliminate your obligation from sex registration without the need for a Governor’s Pardon. The Court cited People v. Hofsheier (2006) 37 Cal 4th 1185 in its ruling which had invalidated mandatory application of the registration requirement for a violation of section 288a (b)(1).

At Wallin and Klarich, we have been effectively and aggressively defending people accused of sex crimes. Our firm has been helping many people to get off the sex registration list either by fighting the conviction itself or by seeking relief in filing for a Certificate of Rehabilitation or a Governor’s Pardon.

With over thirty years of experience our sex registration lawyers will protect your rights and do everything possible to raise a viable and effective defense to these charges. If you or a loved one is facing sex crimes charges in Southern California immediately contact the offices of Wallin & Klarich. Call us at 888-280-6839. With offices in San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, Ventura, San Diego, and Orange Counties, We will be there when you call.

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There is good news for those of us who have been arrested but not convicted of any crime. If you live in California your employers cannot find this information. This is because there is a California state law that says that an employer cannot obtain information regarding “arrests or detentions” that do not result in convictions.

This law also applies to prospective employers. When you apply for a non-government job the application cannot legally ask you if you have been arrested or detained for a crime. However, the application can ask if you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense. Failure to answer that question honestly is sufficient reason to be denied employment, even if you were otherwise qualified for the position.

Expungement%20Penal%20Code%20851.8.jpgEven though this is true it is still a very good idea to takes steps to have an arrest removed from your record. While an arrest may not be seen by your employer and non-government prospective employers it still can be seen by law enforcement. When you are stopped by a police officer and they run your “record” they will see you have a prior arrest for a crime. When a police officer sees you were arrested they almost always will assume you were guilty. You likely will be treated very differently than someone who has no prior arrests.

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If you successfully complete probation for a criminal offense, you are eligible in most cases to retain an experienced Southern California criminal defense attorney to make a motion to expunge your criminal record. However, people are often confused as to what the effect is of a person expunging their record.

If the court grants your motion to expunge your record, you can answer NO on any employment application for a “private employment” when asked if you were convicted of a crime. The law says that private employers should not be able to obtain information about your criminal record once it is expunged.

However, the same is not true if you are applying for a state license, to work in law enforcement, or for any form of government employment. In these circumstances you must tell the truth and admit that you were convicted of a crime. However, then you can tell them your record has been expunged.

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clean criminal recordIn today’s economy it’s hard enough to get a job without having to deal with a criminal record for past indiscretions. But it is even more difficult if you have a criminal record. Most employers are performing criminal background checks on applicants and asking applicants if they’ve ever been convicted of a crime. This means it is more vital than ever to have a clean record. But what can you do if you’ve already been convicted of a crime? Can you clean your record?

There are various ways an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to help you clean your criminal record. We can meet with you now to discuss your case and find out what method best suits you. Here are a few ways how we may be able to help you clean your record:

Penal Code Section 17b

You may qualify to clean your record under California Penal Code Section 17b if you were convicted of a felony. However, that felony must be a wobbler offense. A wobbler offense is a crime that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. If prosecutors charged you with a felony and you were convicted of that felony, you may eligible to have your felony reduced to a misdemeanor under PC 17b.

While you will still have a misdemeanor crime on your criminal record, the negative effects of a felony will be gone and you will honestly be able to answer to potential employers that you have never been convicted of a felony.

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If you have been convicted of a crime in the past, you know this can be very difficult to overcome. Having a criminal record could destroy your life. It can be challenging to find and maintain employment and the negative stigma will follow you around for the rest of your life. This is a burden that no one wants to carry around.

With the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney, you may be able to change your fate. You may be eligible to clean your record in Southern California. One of the best ways to reduce the effects of a criminal record is through an expungement.

What is an Expungement in California? (PC 1203.4)

California expungement attorneyIn California, there is a process that will allow you to modify your prior convictions. This process is known as an expungement under California Penal Code Section 1203.4.

An expungement is the legal process that involves petitioning the court to review your criminal conviction, set aside the conviction and dismiss the case. Obtaining an expungement could remove the criminal stigma attached to your name and help make it easier for you to find a job.

Before attempting to obtain an expungement, you need to speak with a skilled and knowledgeable expungement attorney to find out if you are eligible. In order to qualify for an expungement in California, all of the following must be satisfied and your attorney must be able to show this to the court:

  • You have completed the terms of probation on your conviction
  • All fines and any restitution has been paid
  • All court programs have been completed
  • No new convictions are pending

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In a recent California Court of Appeals case (People v. Tuggles) the court ruled that the trial judge has the power to subpoena any juror that he or she feels may have been involved in misconduct during the trial. The judge can do so at the request of the defense or of the prosecution.

California Code of Civil Procedure sections 206 and 237 allow jurors to prevent the release of information to parties, their attorneys, investigators working for counsel, and members of the general public. The court must heed the wishes of reluctant jurors to bar disclosure of their personal identifying information to these persons. However, Code of Civil Procedure sections 206 and 237 do not infringe upon the trial courts’ inherent power to investigate strong indicia of juror misconduct. (People v. Cox, 53 Cal.3d)

Jurors may not thwart an investigation of misconduct by the court itself. The trial court has discretion to subpoena even reluctant jurors when necessary to determine whether the fact-finding process went awry. Accordingly, the trial court in this case erred by concluding that it had no power to order jurors to attend an evidentiary hearing after they declined to discuss the case with counsel. The duty to protect jurors from overzealous attorneys and investigators does not require an abandonment of the court’s obligation to ensure that the jury trial process is free from misconduct.

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Anytime a Defendant in a California pleads guilty to a misdemeanor or a felony, that defendant must be advised “on the record” that the consequences of the guilty plea could result in deportation, exclusion from admission to the United States, or denial of naturalization pursuant to the laws of the United States. Unfortunately, when some defendants agree to a plea bargain, their attorneys don’t adequately warn them of these potentially dire consequences which can lead to significant problems down the road. Many times, attorneys will simply tell their clients just to initial and sign important plea bargain and advisement of rights forms.

Our law firm is seeing more and more cases where clients come into our offices and explain that they or a loved one is in danger of being deported or can’t gain citizenship due to a guilty plea in a criminal case. More often than not, these people explain that they had no idea that what was happening to them or their loved ones was possible because either the court or the attorney handling the case didn’t tell them.

When this situation comes about, it is necessary to contact a competent, aggressive law firm immediately to get involved and determine if there is any legal way to rectify the situation to avoid the dire immigration consequences. It is necessary to access the entire file from the criminal case and any relevant transcripts to determine if in fact the defendant was adequately warned of all of the potential immigration consequences. It has been our experience that in many cases, defendants are not properly warned and that could lead to the filing of a “motion to vacate judgment”, which basically goes back in time and wipes the guilty plea away as if it never happened and reopens the criminal case. At that point it might be possible to renegotiate with the District Attorney and work out a plea bargain that won’t have adverse immigration consequences.

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When your past interferes with your future, you might need an experienced San Diego criminal defense lawyer to assist you in cleaning up your record. Because a criminal record is a public record any one can view, several people can see your case file and view what happened in your criminal case. However, if an attorney assisted you through the process of obtaining an expungement under California Penal Code Section 1203.4, then they could provide some relief for you and your family.

An expungement is the process whereby the court will dismiss the conviction against you. First, you can withdraw your plea of guilty, or the judge can set aside a guilty verdict. Next, you will enter a plea of not guilty. Finally, the court can dismiss the case against you.

Sounds Great! However, the case can still be found by anyone looking at your file, as it does not erase or wipe away the conviction. Any conviction you received will still remain on your record and this process does not absolve your criminal conduct.

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.