When you have a criminal record, you can struggle to find employers that will accept you. A background check can reveal mistakes you made in your past. Even if the conviction happened years ago, it could affect you now.

However, in California, you can seek relief from the adverse effects of a criminal record. An expungement can help you move on from the mistakes you’ve made and start fresh.

Dismissing convictions from a record

An expungement in California technically doesn’t remove the sentence from your record. But it does change a guilty plea or a conviction to a dismissal. If you apply for a job, you legally do not have to disclose your conviction. And when employers pull your criminal background, California law prohibits them from using a dismissal against you. They cannot deny your application based on any dismissed records.

A court considers your petition

Once you have completed your probation, you can file a petition for expungement. The court will hold a hearing that you may or may not have to attend. This hearing will examine your request for dismissal, the crime you committed and any supporting documents you wish to add. After considering your request, the judge will decide whether or not to dismiss the conviction.

Not every criminal record is eligible for this process. If a crime results in time in state prison, the person cannot seek expungement for it. And certain crimes against children cannot be dismissed.

Clearing your future

A conviction on your record can punish you long after you served your time. You can struggle to find a job, which can affect your ability to pay for food, housing and bills.

With an expungement, you can ensure that a past mistake has no bearing on your future.