The expungement process, also referred to as expunction, can help individuals have their arrest record sealed, or dismissed, in the eyes of the legal system. Carrying around a criminal record can have a deleterious impact on the individual’s ability to obtain a job or access housing which is why it is useful to be familiar with expungement options and when expunction may apply.
In California, if the individual has pleaded guilty or been convicted of a crime, and has completed their probationary period, they may be able to pursue an expungement of their charges. Factors the court may evaluate when considering an expunction request include:
- The length of time that has passed since the individual’s arrest or conviction;
- The severity and nature of the crime for which expunction is sought;
- The individual’s criminal history and criminal record; and
- The severity and nature of the individual’s criminal history.
Both an arrest and conviction can result in a criminal record and a criminal history that may be a significant impediment to the individual’s future. Fortunately, California allows for an expungement process which is referred to as cleaning of the record with a dismissal.
Typically, if the expunction is approved, the individual will receive an expungement order that they can provide to the arresting agency, booking agency and the state’s department of corrections. It is important that the criminal history is dismissed by all of these agencies.
There are a variety of complexities, technicalities and steps that are part of the expungement process which is why it is essential for individuals wishing to pursue an expunction of their conviction to understand the different steps of the process and how to submit a complete application. Criminal defense resources are important for accused individuals to be familiar with from the time they enter the criminal justice system to after a conviction such as expungement options to help them get on with their lives.