Expungement Attorney in Los Angeles
Expungement is the opportunity to clean up your record of conviction. You might think of it as your reward for successfully completing probation. Because, you must successfully complete probation in order to apply for expungement.
To be clear, expungement does not seal your record. Rather, it changes the record in your case to show that you pleaded not guilty and the case was dismissed. It’s main value is to allow you to deny your record of conviction on a job application. It will not change your DMV record and it will not remove the priorability of an offense.
Expungement is available on any conviction, provided it is a “wobbler.” That is to say an offense that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Straight felonies are generally not able to be expunged. Also, if the defendant did time in state prison, expungement is not available. However, there is the possibility of applying for a “certificate of rehabilitation.”
Provided that you have successfully completed probation, the judge must grant your petition. There is, however, an exception to this rule. In the case of a DUI conviction, judges have been granted discretion to determine whether expungement should be granted. Although it still usually is, we have found it helpful to have the client write a declaration that we file along with the petition for expungement where in the client outlines why getting their conviction expunged is personally important to them.
The expungement process is fairly straight-forward; a petition is filed with the court and it is then reviewed by the judge and either granted or denied. The process generally takes about eight weeks.
Expungement can also be useful to expedite travel. For example, Canada is notorious for denying entry to people with DUI convictions. Expungement can solve that problem.
Although expungement is the reward for successfully completing probation, it is also possible to file for expungement prior to the end of probation. This is a more elaborate process that requires a specific appearance in court and requires the defendant to demonstrate why they need their record cleared earlier than normal. Typically, the reasons for this are that the defendant is being denied a job, a promotion, enrollment in a college or it is having a negative impact on their immigration status. Under most circumstances, the court will not grant this motion unless at least half the term of probation has been completed.
Our office has handled many successful expungement petitions and we would be happy to discuss your matter at no cost to you. Please call us for your free consultation.