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While not all convictions can be expunged, having an infraction, felony, or misdemeanor conviction expunged from your criminal record is the best way to put an end to past mistakes and give you a fresh start. In California, an Expungement is the legal process to dismiss a conviction allowable under Penal Code 1203.4. While your criminal record will remain on your Department of Justice file, it will be updated to list your conviction as being dismissed. Once your records have been adjusted, you can legally and honestly say “No” on most job applications, and all housing applications, if asked about having any criminal history. According to fellow Los Angeles criminal defense attorney Steve Raiser, having an expungement can be one of the best ways to prevent future issues.
BENEFITS OF AN EXPUNGEMENT
A past mistake should not define the law abiding person you are today. Here are some major areas of your life where an Expungement will be a benefit:
Employment: The majority of employers today will do a criminal background check as part of their hiring practices. An expunged conviction will not be shown on the majority of background checks and that will increase your employment opportunities. There are three exceptions where you must disclose both the conviction and the Expungement: (1) when applying for a state license; (2) when contracting with the Lottery Commission in the state of California; and (3) when running for a California public office.
Credit Rating: Your credit worthiness will improve after an Expungement because the conviction will be removed from your credit reports. This will also improve your favorability for having financial loans and housing applications approved.
Student Loans: Your student loan eligibility is restored after an Expungement.
Firearm Rights: Expungement of most convictions will restore your right to own firearms. But, just having a felony conviction expunged will not restore your right to own any firearms. However, your right to own firearms can be restored if the felony conviction can be reduced to a misdemeanor and then expunged.
Professional Organizations and Licenses: Before professional organizations accept someone to become a member, obtain a license, or hold an office, they will do a background check. An Expungement will improve your chances of being approved.
Personal Relationships: After your conviction has been expunged, you can truthfully tell family and friends that you have not been convicted of a criminal offense.
BENEFITS OF HIRING AN ATTORNEY
The Expungement law in California can be confusing, complex, and intimidating for the average person. The way to increase your chances for a favorable outcome is to hire a state licensed lawyer who specializes in this practice area of the law. In the Los Angeles area, you will want an attorney who is familiar with both the law and the local procedures that will be applied in the court system where your petition must be filed.
Depending on your unique case, an attorney can advise you about any peculiarities that may not be applicable for an Expungement request. The attorney is fully qualified to discuss circumstance where an Expungement of a conviction may not be possible, or where a future violation may negatively impact an Expungement.
An experienced Los Angeles Expungement lawyer knows the particulars within the local courts, the legal process, and the presiding judges. An attorney can file all of the necessary paperwork with all parties involved and can represent you in court. This all means that your individual case can be resolved in the shortest amount of time possible.