How Expungement Can Save Your ReputationA conviction for a misdemeanor crime in California can cost you more than jail time and fines. It can damage your reputation. The conviction remains on your public record. Anyone who runs a background check will see that you have been convicted of a crime. This could make it difficult to get a job, start a business, buy a home, attend the school of your choice, or own a firearm.

What can you do to protect your reputation? In some instances, you may be able to petition the court to have your conviction removed, or expunged, from the public record.

During an expungement proceeding, the court re-opens your case. The original finding of guilt (your guilty or no contest plea, or guilty verdict) is withdrawn and replaced with a not guilty plea. The charges against you are dismissed. It will appear as if your conviction never happened.

Expungement in California doesn’t mean what it does in other states. Your record is not sealed. The record will simply show that the charges against you were dismissed. (There’s a separate procedure to have your record sealed in Califonia.)

Does Your Conviction Qualify for Expungement in California?

If you were convicted of a crime in California, you may be eligible to have your conviction expunged/dismissed if the following criteria apply:

  • You were convicted of misdemeanor charges
  • You were convicted in a state court, not a federal court
  • You are not currently charged with a criminal offense
  • You have completed the terms of your probation without violation.
  • If you didn’t receive probation, it’s been at least one year since the date of your conviction.
  • You spent time in a county jail or holding a cell. You aren’t eligible if you were sentenced to state prison.

Circumstances in Which a Felony Conviction Could Be Expunged

You may be able to get your record expunged even if you were convicted of a felony. Many offenses are considered “wobbler” crimes in California; a defendant can be charged with either misdemeanor or felony charges. If you were convicted of a felony “wobbler” offense, you’ll first have to petition the court to reduce the charges to a misdemeanor offense before you can qualify for expungement.

There are certain situations where expungement is not an option. For example, a person might not eligible for expungement if they were convicted of certain sex crimes involving children or found guilty of certain violations of the vehicle code.

Orange County, CA Criminal Defense Attorney Jim Tanizaki Can Help Protect Your Reputation

If you fear a conviction for a misdemeanor offense in California will harm your reputation or career, contact the law office of Orange County, CA criminal defense attorney Jim Tanizaki to see if you qualify for expungement in California. He can also help you get your felony “wobbler” charges reduced to misdemeanor charges so you can qualify for expungement.

Don’t let a misdemeanor conviction ruin your life. Schedule a free consultation with Orange County, CA criminal defense attorney Jim Tanizaki to determine if you qualify for expungement in California. Call us at (714) 655-7633 or contact us through our attorney Jim Tanizaki.