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San Diego Expungement Attorneys

How to Expunge a Criminal Record in California

If you have a criminal record, you may have found that it is increasingly difficult to find employment or maintain close personal relationships due to your past. Even if you were convicted of a crime when you were young, the ramifications of a criminal history could follow you around for the rest of your life. For this reason, you should consider the possibility of applying for expungement in San Diego.

Wondering what steps you should take next? Reach out to jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys at (760) 630-2000 to discuss your situation. Our San Diego criminal lawyer is here to help with your future!

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Trust the Work of Our Experienced San Diego Lawyer

Attorney James N. Dicks of jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys has been involved in criminal law since 1977 and is a well-respected member of the legal community. His vigor and high ethical standards in representing CA residents has earned him recognition and respect from judges and prosecutors alike. He is also former police detective, giving insight on both sides of court.

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What Is Expungement?

This process allows you to clear away blemishes on your criminal record, subsequently permitting you to legally deny you had ever been convicted. Not only could this significantly improve your employment prospects, but it may even allow you to move on from a past that you are not proud of.

Essentially, you must submit a 'Petition of Relief' for the court to review your specific conviction in question. If your situation qualifies for expungement, the court may decide to grant it. When the court approves an expungement, it means the individual can withdraw their guilty plea or plea of nolo contendere and instead enter a plea of not guilty; or, if convicted after they pleaded not guilty, the verdict of guilty will be set aside. This gives you the power to respond with an affirmative "no" when a potential employer asks if you have ever been convicted of a crime.

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Outstanding Criminal Defense Attorney

"...Mr. Dicks was successful in having the charges dropped! Later he saw an additional opportunity to have the arrest record expunged and was also successful in that undertaking."

- Joe

Clearing Your Criminal Record in San Diego

Clearing your criminal record will depend upon several factors. Expungement may be approved or denied depending upon the severity and type of your conviction, your age at the time (whether you were a minor or adult), and whether you were imprisoned or placed on probation.

In order for you to even qualify for expungement, the following must be met:

  • At least 1 year has passed since your conviction
  • You have no intervening arrests; a clean record
  • All sentencing / punishment for your previous conviction have been carried out, including probation

How to expunge a criminal record in California:

  1. Obtain a copy of your criminal record from the court
  2. Complete a "Petition for Dismissal"
  3. Complete supplementary forms to explain your need and life situation
  4. File the petition within the county where you were convicted
  5. Pay the court filing fee, which is typically between $60-120

Having a respected attorney, such as James N. Dicks, on your side will greatly increase your chances of getting your expungement approved and through the system as quickly as possible.

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Who Cannot Request an Expungement?

In addition to the requirements listed above, there are limitations on who can request an expungement, including:

  • Individuals who are on probation cannot request expungement until it is completed.
  • Within the State of California, an individual cannot request expungement if they were sentenced to a state prison. Exceptions are made for individuals were sentenced to state prison for a crime that would be sentenced to county jail today.
  • Crimes involving sex offenses committed against children, including Penal Code 286(c), Penal Code 288, Penal Code 288a, and Penal Code 261.5(d), are not eligible for expungement.

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What Doesn’t Expungement Do for You?

While there are many benefits of getting your record expunged, it is important to understand that it doesn't necessarily "erase" your previous criminal conviction from existence. For example, you won't be able to own or possess a firearm any sooner (if this was part of your conviction).

Other issues that you may run into include:

  • A dismissed conviction may still be used as a consecutive offense in future criminal cases (considered a priorable), which may lead to more severe penalties.
  • Expungement does not eliminate all records of your conviction and destroy the court tile. It simply updates the disposition of the case reflecting a dismissal.
  • You must disclose the expungement of your conviction to government employers and when filing out government licensing applications.
  • The court case won't be sealed from public inspection, so if someone knew where to search for the court case file, they would be able to find it.

Though an expungement doesn't erase the existence of the case, it can still be a very beneficial option for individuals seeking to clear their record and get a fresh start.

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Difference Between Expungement and Sealing a Criminal Records

Generally, people will refer to expungement and sealing a criminal record in the same breath, but it important to understand that there are major legal differences.

Expungement allows you to change the official wording regarding your case, namely that the charges were dismissed or that you are withdrawing a guilty plea. The court rulings pertaining to your case will still be accessible through public records, even if they only state that you are legally innocent of a crime. In contrast, sealing and destroying a criminal record will effectively remove the court records from public record and allow you to declare that you were never arrested for a crime. Applying to seal a criminal record is a separate process that can be discussed with a San Diego criminal defense attorney.

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Call a San Diego Defense Lawyer with More Than 30 Years of Experience

While attorney James N. Dicks is working to clear your criminal record, you can rest easy with the knowledge that you are in capable hands. For this reason, you should not delay in retaining counsel from our experienced firm. We have the skill, insight, and expertise necessary to guide you through the complex expungement process in San Diego.

Contact us today to set up your free, initial consultation.

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