Crimes can come in any number of forms and sometimes the accusations and trial process is not actually fair. In other situations, a crime is nothing more than a mistake. Unfortunately, such mistakes can haunt a person for the rest of his or her life. A criminal charge will remain on a person’s record permanently. Often, once a person’s reputation is tainted, it is impossible to have it cleaned again. A tarnished record can prove to be a serious hindrance to living a normal life.
Getting a job or state license can prove to be impossible. This reality only continues the vicious cycle. When an individual cannot find and maintain a steady and respectable occupation, it is very difficult for them to prove to society that they have in fact changed. However, how can they prove this if no one will give them the chance? If you have been accused of a crime and are looking for this chance, do not give up hope. There are options available to you that will allow you to have a second chance at life without a criminal record bearing down on your shoulders.
It is possible to clean up your record through expungement. While this option is not available for everyone, it can be helpful for those who qualify. If you were sentenced to county jail time or probation or were required to pay a fine, you may qualify. The nature of your crime and case will determine whether or not you can use this process and what type of procedure you can use.
In California, there are three types of expungement:
If your crime falls under the above sections of the law, you may be eligible to go through this process. You must wait at least one year after your conviction and have carried out all the terms of your sentence. This can include incarceration, probation, fines, and hearings. Furthermore, you cannot have been charged with another offense or serving a probationary time for another charge when you apply. When you go to apply, you must first get ahold of a copy of your criminal record and case information. You must then fill out the Petition for Dismissal (CR-180) and the Order for Dismissal (CR-181). These two forms are required for all three types of expungement.
It is advisable that you also include a written declaration of why you are applying. Such a declaration can include the nature of your offense and why you committed it as well as how you have changed since the infraction. You can also describe any future plans you are making and how the conviction is hampering your efforts. If any major life events or religious affiliations have changed how you interact with society have come to pass, it would be beneficial to include that.
Expungement essentially is a cleaning up of your records. However, it does not erase all traces of your infraction. Before you go through this process, you should be aware of what this process does not do for you. It does not remove the conviction from your history entirely. The conviction and dismissal will still be present on your record. It doesn’t keep your record from being public. If the conviction denied your right to hold public office, an expungement does not eliminate this consequence. If your crime was a sex offense, you will still be required to register.
You also will still be required to disclose the conviction on any government employment application. In any case, going through the expungement process will still be very beneficial. It shows that you are on the right track towards becoming a law-abiding and productive citizen. If you are looking to go through this process, it will help to have an attorney at your side you are familiar with all the requirements and conditions of the procedure. At Okabe & Haushalter, we fight aggressively for all of our clients because we understand how devastating a criminal conviction can be for your future. Call us today to see how we can help you.