Expungement is the process of re-opening and dismissing a crime so it no longer shows up as a conviction on your public background check. It enters another record that records the previous wrongdoing as dismissed; so having a crime expunged can help you more easily obtain employment.
What Can A Los Angeles Expungement Attorney Do For Me?A good expungement attorney will have the experience and legal knowledge to successfully walk you through each of the following steps:
Before you can petition for expungement, you must first determine if you qualify. You attorney will help you obtain a copy of your criminal record and sit down with you to determine whether or not your crime can be expunged. In general, if you committed an infraction, misdemeanor or "wobbler" (a crime that can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony), you were not sentenced to state prison, and you successfully completed your probation without incident, you qualify to petition. However, there are exceptions, such as sexual crimes involving minors (which do not qualify) and marijuana possession (which are erased after two years and do not require expungement).
Once your attorney decides that you qualify, you will need to file the appropriate forms with the court. Your attorney will be able to help you decide whether you can simply file for a dismissal or whether you need to apply for an early release from probation or the reduction of a felony to a misdemeanor at the same time. He or she can also make sure you know the right court with which to file and any special filing requirements they have in place.
Before your expungement can be granted, you (and/or your attorney) will have to appear before the judge. A good lawyer can help you effectively and persuasively present your case so your request is granted the first time. If it is not, you will have to find out why and wait another six months to apply. In Los Angeles County, a fee also applies each time the court rules on your expungement, so it's important to make sure you do it properly the first time.
What Expungement Does (And Does Not Do)Before you file, your attorney will make sure you know exactly what kind of effect an expungement will have on your specific circumstances. It's important to note that although this process removes most of the hardships and penalties associated with your prior conviction, it does not, as some people think, make it as though your conviction never existed.
An expungement will . . .
Allow you to honestly answer "no" to the question of whether you've been convicted of a crime on private-sector job applications. Allow you notate "dismissed" on government-sector job and license applications. Allow the offense to show up as "dismissed" on all public records, including background checks.
An expungement will not . . .
Seal your records. Keep you from having to register as a sex offender (if applicable). Restore your driver's license (if applicable). Restore your gun rights (if applicable). Keep the offense from affecting future convictions.
Most people apply for expungement because it can significantly help them find employment.
If your background check is making it difficult to find a job, call an attorney to see if you qualify for expungement.