Tips for Expunging Your Criminal Record
First, you need to determine if you and your conviction are eligible for expungement and talking to a competent criminal defense attorney will help you determine this. Once you find out that you're eligible for expungement, follow these simple steps below to dismiss your criminal conviction(s).
FormsIn order to properly file, you will need to fill out and submit two forms, an Order for Dismissal and a Petition for Dismissal. These forms must be completed and filed in the court where the conviction took place or was heard, in order for the dismissal to be recognized. You may then be ordered to pay the court a filing fee for the Petition, however, you may get costs waived for inability to pay by filling out a Financial Declaration. The fee for a misdemeanor in San Diego County is $60 while the fee for a felony is $120.
Since this can become an expensive and timely process, you want to make sure you are showing the court why you deserve this expungement and how your current situation differs from the one that you were in when receiving the conviction. Thus, attaching a declaration to the Order and Petition prior to filing is recommended. This declaration should outline the steps you have taken to address the underlying issues you may have had that influenced the behaviors that led to your criminal conviction, your future goals, education received since, the impact the conviction has made on your employment prospects, any community involvement or positive group affiliations you now belong to.
Serve the FormsYou are also required to serve all parties in the case with the forms, which includes the District Attorney and the Probation Department if you served probation. Some courts will serve the forms for you, however, in San Diego, if applying for dismissal of a felony, you must serve the prosecuting agency, whether the District Attorney or City Attorney, with any petitions filed. The court clerk will indicate on your petition when a decision will be made and generally no hearing is scheduled as long as all the paperwork is properly filled out and you have met the prerequisites. If your petition does get denied, do not panic, you can refile again in three to six months after you have made any changes recommended by the judge.