For those people trying to recover from a criminal conviction, an expungement is often an essential step towards rebuilding their lives. An expungement results in the dismissal of the earlier criminal case. It allows a person to answer on job applications that he does not have a criminal conviction. However, the record of the expunged conviction will be discovered if that person applies for a government job or a job which requires a government-issued license, certificate or permit, or a job which involves a security clearance.
Unfortunately, an expungement alone does not prevent the expunged conviction from being considered and used to refuse or revoke government licenses and permits, such as a real estate sales license, teaching credential, bus drivers license, security guard certificate, et cetera. However, an expungement will reduce the weight given the expunged conviction by the licensing agency.
An expungement does not remove an expunged conviction from a person’s "rap sheet." California and FBI criminal history records will still show the conviction and a dismissal "per Penal Code section 1203.4." An expungement does not seal or otherwise remove court case files from public inspection. Anyone who knows where to look will be able to find the court case file.
An expungement does not prevent the expunged conviction from being used as a "prior" to increase punishment in case of a subsequent conviction for the same or similar offense. It also does not prevent the expunged conviction from being used for impeachment purposes if called as a witness.
Although an expungement is not a panacea, it does demonstrate a person’s rehabilitation in the eyes of the court. It is definitely worth doing. Depending on a person’s prior conviction and situation, they may or may not be eligible for an expungement. A good defense attorney can advise you on the best way to pursue an expungement.
Law Office of Andrew Limberg, APLC 380 S. Melrose Dr., #329 Vista, CA 92081 (760) 806-4381
To answer your question, yes. You should apply for early termination of probation. Once probation is terminated, or naturally expires, you should be eligible for a dismissal of the charges under Penal Code section 1203.4. You can try every few months if you'd like, but with the right attorney hopefully you only need to try once.
Law Offices of David Shapiro 3555 4th Avenue San Diego, CA 92103 (619) 295-3555
Terminating probation early and expunging your record will help you get a job, keep your job, and get other benefits that society might otherwise deprive you of due to having forfeited some of those rights by committing a crime. A court will often grant these requests if you can show that you have served your sentence and are on the right path. Multiple applications will not hurt your case necessarily, but it does cost money each time you apply. You can fill out the forms, and make the application yourself, but in the biased opinion of an attorney, you should hire an attorney to make sure that you have done everything that is necessary so that you only have to do it once.
If you need to be off probation, I would say you should try to terminate your probation early. The worst that would happen is the court denies the request which is usually done without prejudice meaning you can file the request again. Generally the courts here in San Diego will not terminate probation until you have completed half your sentence which it sounds like you have. If you can convince the court to grant the termination of probation, the court may grant the expungement at the same time, depending on which court your case is in. Contact a few local attorneys who are familiar with how the courts work here in San Diego and see what they would charge to file a motion for you.