If I have been convicted in California for burglary and petty theft, can I get an expunction or certificate of rehabilitation?

Asked over 1 year ago - Huntington Beach, CA

It was 5 years ago. I have a family now, clean and sober. I have had a steady job at the same store since my release and have been asked to be manager since day one. If I have one infraction I am fired. Need help. When I was arrested for the burglary there wasn't any evidence, or money on my part to clear my name. With the petty theft, I hadn't even stepped out of the store with the merchandise. I pleaded to both guilty only because I was told I had no choice at that point.

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Christine C McCall

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . California law pertaining to Certificates of Rehabilitation is complex and the procedure requires notice to the District Attorney and the opportunity for the prosecutor to oppose the application. In practical terms, it is strongly advised that any applicant for a Cert of Rehab utilize specifically experienced legal counsel. It is not at all clear from the facts you have briefly summarized here that you qualify for a Cert of Rehab. In all events, a Cert of Rehab is not a "follow-on" or companion procedure to a post-conviction dismissal under Penal Code section 1203.4. Many persons who can obtain a 1203.4 post-conviction dismissal (California's weak substitute for expungement) will not qualify for a CA Cert of Rehab.

    Cal Pen Code § 4852.01 designates the requirements for application for Cert of Rehab including:
    1) convicted of a felony AND sentenced to California State Prison.
    2) released on completion of the term or on parole and no custody since then;
    3) satisfactory evidence of five years residence in California before filing the petition.
    The period of rehabilitation must constitute five years residence in California, plus an additional period depending on the crime for which the prison term was served.

    As to both the Cert of Rehab and a post-conviction dismissal, the court's focus is not on the reasons for your prior plea, nor even the facts of those offenses. The court will make its determination based on your record since those convictions.

    No legal advice here. READ THIS BEFORE you contact me! My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended... more
  2. Daniel C Grupenhagen

    Contributor Level 15

    6

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    Answered . An expungement is available for you and a cert of rehab afterward but is difficult to obtain. I suggest you consult a lawyer in your area for further specifics.

    Contributions on AVVO.com in no way create an attorney-client relationship nor are they intended to be relied upon... more
  3. Jasen Bodie Nielsen

    Pro

    Contributor Level 19

    6

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    Answered . If you have satisfied all of the terms of your probation, including payment of any restitution that was owed, you may be eligible to have your convictions expunged pursuant to PC 1203.4. However, you will need to explain things in a bit more detail. I suggest that you consult with a locally experienced defense attorney. Most will offer a free consultation, and some will charge fair prices with reasonable payment plans. They will be in the best position to answer your questions. Hiring an attorney will give you the best chance. Good luck.

    Jasen Nielsen

  4. Anthony Michael Solis

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    5

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    Answered . If you were sentenced to probation, you are eligible for mandatory expungement if you fulfilled all the terms and conditions of probation for the entire period, or were terminated early by the court. You also can't have any pending cases or serving a sentence, including probation. See California Penal Code Section 1203.4. You can only apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation thereafter. If you pleaded guilty, the strength of the evidence does not matter. You accepted responsibility and guilt. But you are eligible for expungement.

  5. James Brian Campbell

    Contributor Level 13

    4

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The Certificate of Rehabilitation is only applicable if you have been sentenced to the State Prison. Expungement is the choice for those placed on probation and not sentenced to State Prison. If you were placed on probation, you may be able to get the case dismissed based upon successful completion of probation. Also, you may be able to get a felony reduced to a misdemeanor. You really need to consult an attorney since you have multiple charges and the final outcomes are not clear.

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