A criminal case on your record can be damaging to all aspects of your life. It could make it difficult to find a job, obtain a loan, purchase a house and often with your friends and family. However, under certain circumstances and situations with the help of knowledgeable Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney, you may be granted an Expungement and have your case dismissed.
California law allows a defendant who has been charged with a crime to re-open the case, set aside the plea and dismiss the case. In most states a granted Expungement “seals” the records so that they are no longer available to the public. However, in California, it does not erase the criminal record but changes the finding of guilt to a dismissal, that is, if you meet the qualifying criteria.
In order to qualify for an Expungement, the defendant must have completed all probation requirements and have paid all court ordered fines and restitution. Additionally, the offense being expunged must not have required any time in State prison to be served and the defendant must not currently be charged with a crime.
The defendant may have to appear in court before a Judge. Although the underlying matter being expunged is Criminal, Expungement is a considered a Civil matter. The judge, after reviewing eligibility, may grant the request for Expungement if it is in the best interest of justice to do so.
If your record is Expunged, the cases is not erased from you public record, but will not read that the conviction was later dismissed. This allows defendants to honestly answer questions about criminal history when asked. If a defendant is charged with the same crime again, the Expungement will be reversed and it will count against you on your record.
Expungements require paperwork and oftentimes an appearance before a Judge to make a powerful argument as to why it is in favor of justice to have the case expunged. An experienced Los Angeles Criminal Defense attorney has argued thousands of Expungement cases and is familiar with the process and is able to prepare a strategic defense tailored to the specific facts of your case.