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Can I expunge a criminal record in California?

On Behalf of | Aug 31, 2020 | Expungement

You did the crime, and you served the time. Yet years later, the old criminal conviction is still hanging around your neck. When you apply for jobs, for which you are more than qualified, you keep getting rejected without an explanation.

Criminal records do not automatically go away when you complete your sentence. They can stay on the public register for a long time and can adversely affect your life when someone turns them up in a background check. These are some of the things that a criminal conviction can affect:

  • Applying for a job
  • Applying for housing
  • Applying for education
  • Buying a gun
  • Entering certain professions

Even if they do not cause your application to fail, you know that someone knows your past. It can be distressing if you have moved to get away from your past, thinking you could start a new life where no-one knows you.

Unlike some states where you can expunge your record to clear it completely, you can only apply for a dismissal in California. If you have completed your sentence, you can request that any guilty plea you made is changed to not guilty, and the conviction noted as dismissed. Not all crimes can be dismissed; some sex crimes and serious felonies cannot.

A dismissal legally allows you to say no when an application form asks if you have ever been convicted of a crime. Remember, if you have not cleared your record and lie about it, it may be held against you. If you want to clear your criminal record in California, seek legal help to understand more about the process and see if you meet the requirements.