1 in 3 adult Americans has a criminal record. That's over 70 million people. By FBI standards, anyone who has been arrested on a felony charge has a criminal record, even if that charge didn't lead to a conviction.
Unfortunately, those records affect adults years later when it comes to getting a job, amongst other things. Many people are both good citizens and professionals, with a past arrest that haunts them.
Fortunately, there are ways to clear that record. And thousands and thousands of Americans are eligible.
When it comes to clearing that record, expungements are the way to go. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about removing a record in California.
What Are Expungements?
An expungement is an excellent tool for clearing a criminal record. Depending on your history, the process can be lengthy and require the help of a legal professional.
Plus, not everyone is eligible. Expungement is different than sealing a record. Sealing your records means they still exist, but they're hidden from the public at large.
When you get a record expunged, on the other hand, it's as if it never existed. That means you can legally say on rental applications, job applications, and all future legal documents, that you have never been arrested or charged with a crime.
Who Is Eligible?
Typically, expungement is only available for individuals who have committed first-time misdemeanors or non-violent felony crimes.
In California, defendants convicted of either California felonies or misdemeanors are eligible for expungement if:
- The defendant successfully completed probation for the offense
- The defendant did not serve time in state prison for the offense
- The defendant served time in state prison but would have served it in county jail if the crime was committed after the implementation of “Realignment”
Now that recreational marijuana is legal, The California Department of Justice will both review and seal all past marijuana convictions that are no longer considered as crimes.
Who Is Not Eligible?
Unfortunately, not everyone can get records expunged. People aren't usually eligible if:
- They are currently charged with an offense that's criminal
- They are on probation for a criminal offense
- They are serving a sentence for a criminal offense
Those who were convicted of certain sex crimes, especially involving children, are not eligible for expungement.
Individuals who aren't eligible for expungement still have options, which is why it's crucial to speak to a lawyer about your history and eligibility.
Even if you violated your probation, you could still be eligible for expungement.
Call Someone Who Can Help
Expungements are an excellent option for those individuals who made one mistake or were arrested or convicted for one crime and are looking to leave the past in the past.
Nothing will grant you more peace of mind than knowing those records are gone forever.
When your record is deleted, you'll never have to worry about applying for school, jobs, or anything else.