Any criminal conviction can have severe consequences on many aspects of your life. You may face severe initial penalties and long-term repercussions that will continue to interfere with your life in various ways for years. For example, a criminal record can limit your job opportunities, eliminate your eligibility for some types of financial aid or financing, and it may even restrict your living options. You may also face long-term loss of your constitutional rights due to your past conviction, long after you have completed your punishment and rehabilitated from your past mistakes.
If you have a past criminal record that is causing problems with your life, or if you have an arrest record for an offense that never yielded a conviction, these records can potentially be expunged, preventing them from interfering with your life any more than they already have. The expungement process in California is strict, and only certain offenses qualify for expungement. If you are unsure whether you qualify or need help navigating the process, a Costa Mesa expungement attorney is the ideal resource to consult.
Brown & Stedman, LLP, is an experienced team of attorneys with years of experience in criminal defense. We have represented many defendants facing a wide range of criminal charges, and we know how acutely a criminal conviction can impact your life. The expungement process can benefit your situation, and the right attorney can assist you in taking full advantage of it as efficiently as possible.
The expungement process begins with a petition to the criminal court. The petitioner may only seek expungement for one case at a time, and they must verify the case is eligible for expungement. Many offenses committed before 18 can be expunged, as can many other nonviolent crimes, as long as the petitioner meets the applicable eligibility criteria.
You may not petition for expungement if you face current criminal charges for another offense. You are also prohibited from seeking expungement if you currently serve any criminal sentence. If you were previously convicted, you are only eligible for expungement if you did not serve time in state prison. If your offense was related to any type of sex crime that involved a minor victim and/or required you to register permanently as a sex offender, the offense likely does not qualify for expungement, nor will any serious violent crime that resulted in prison time.
When seeking to expunge a prior conviction record, you must first prove that you completed all assigned penalties for the offense. For example, if you were required to pay fines and complete probation, you must satisfy these requirements before the court considers your petition for expungement.
After ensuring you meet all eligibility requirements and have compiled your petition’s foundation, you must be prepared to explain why you are seeking expungement. Removing the criminal record and preventing it from interfering with future employment opportunities is reason enough in most cases, but the petitioner must be prepared to explain their reasoning before a judge. Ultimately, the judge overseeing the case has the final say regarding whether the record can or should be expunged. If the judge believes the criminal record’s availability serves the interests of public health and safety, they may deny the expungement petition.
A criminal record can cause many problems for your future. While employers are not permitted to illegally discriminate against job applicants, if they see an applicant has a criminal record, they will be disinclined to hire them. However, employers cannot discriminate against applicants based on expunged criminal records. Therefore, if you succeed with your expungement petition, you are no longer required to disclose the expunged offense to potential employers. Additionally, the expunged record will not appear on most employer background checks. It will, however, still apply if you commit another criminal offense in the future.
Beyond improving your job prospects, expungement can also enable you to qualify for professional organization membership or to obtain a professional license. It is also possible for an expungement to improve your chances of qualifying for US citizenship when the criminal record would otherwise disqualify you. Finally, depending on the nature of the expunged offense and the penalties assigned to you, it’s also possible to regain the right to vote, the right to own firearms, and any other rights taken from you as a result of your conviction.
Ultimately, if you have the opportunity to expunge any criminal record, it is well worth the effort to do so. However, it’s vital to remember that the expungement process is very strict and demanding. You will be best equipped to meet the challenges of your expungement process with the help of an experienced Costa Mesa expungement attorney.
Expungement requires meeting very specific criteria. Unfortunately, the average person may review the expungement requirements in Costa Mesa and mistakenly believe they qualify, only to start the process and invest time and money into a fruitless endeavor. If you are unsure whether you qualify to have a prior conviction expunged, an experienced attorney can review the details of your unique situation to determine whether you qualify. If so, they can help you with the process. An expungement petition requires obtaining copies of the records related to the offense you wish to have expunged and an array of other materials depending on the specifics of a case.
Some petitioners may need to produce evidence of rehabilitation, such as completing psychological counseling or substance abuse treatment. They must also prove they paid all court fines and penalty assessments for the conviction. Character references from employers, coworkers, neighbors, and others who have witnessed the petitioner’s rehabilitation following the offense will also support the petition.
Ultimately, hiring legal counsel makes the expungement process much easier at every level, from the preliminary filing of the petition to facing a determination hearing before a judge. Brown & Stedman, LLP, have helped many Costa Mesa-area clients with their expungement petitions, and we can apply this professional experience to your case. You are most likely to succeed with an expungement petition when you have a Costa Mesa expungement attorney handling your case.
When you choose Brown & Stedman, LLP, to assist you with your expungement petition in Costa Mesa, you can rely on us to help you compile all of the documentation you will need to submit to the court for consideration. We can streamline the process of securing the forms you will need and file them correctly on your behalf. This early assistance with your case helps to eliminate the possibility of clerical or technical errors interfering with your expungement case’s progress. Anyone seeking to expunge a criminal record in California must acknowledge that doing so can take a very long time, so it is best to be as efficient as possible with your petition and do everything you can to limit mistakes that could influence your expungement case.
Our team will prepare you for your expungement hearing. We understand that many people find the idea of appearing before a judge to be very daunting, and they may have no idea what to expect without an attorney’s assistance. We’ll help you make a compelling appearance and do everything we can to sway the judge toward granting your petition.
If your expungement petition is approved, the court will provide you with documentation explaining their ruling. Expungement may entail changing a previous plea of “guilty” or “no contest,” then entering a new “not guilty” plea, and having the case dismissed, effectively setting aside the conviction. It’s also possible to apply for sealing an expunged record, ensuring it is not accessible to the public. However, this is only an option for certain offenses and may not be available to every applicant.
Remember that if you secure expungement, this can benefit you greatly in your personal and professional life. However, the record can still affect you later if you commit any other criminal offense. For example, it’s possible to have some felony convictions overturned. However, the felony record could still apply to California’s Three Strikes Law or sentencing in any other future criminal case. Therefore, once you complete the expungement record and have a clean record, it is crucial to keep it clean to avoid undoing all the hard work your expungement is likely to entail.
The expungement process is demanding, and you need legal counsel you can trust to see you through it successfully. Brown & Stedman, LLP, wants to help you have your criminal record expunged so it will stop interfering with your life. The sooner you begin the expungement process, the faster you can complete it, as long as you have a Costa Mesa expungement attorney you can trust. Contact Brown & Stedman, LLP, today if you’d like to schedule a consultation with a Costa Mesa expungement attorney.
We invite you to call us at 949-459-5900 to schedule your free initial consultation. You can also reach our firm by contacting us online.
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