Beahm Law is the premier expungement law firm in the Bay Area, successfully expunging criminal convictions in San Mateo County. If you are ready for a fresh start, our firm is ready to help you clear your criminal record. From filing to obtaining proof of expungement from the court, we can handle your entire expungement case for you.
What Does an Expungement Do?
Expungement is a method for clearing your criminal record, in which a first-time offender of a prior criminal conviction seeks that the records of that earlier process be sealed, making the records unavailable to the public. This procedure reopens your criminal case, dismisses the conviction, and re-closes the case without a conviction.
There are many benefits to obtaining an expungement. Some examples of what an expungement might do are:
- You will not need to disclose your expunged conviction when applying for a private-sector job;
- You may once again be eligible to obtain state professional licenses or government employment;
- Expunged convictions generally cannot be used to impeach your credibility as a witness in court; and
- You may avoid significant immigration consequences, such as deportation.
Also note that due to the recent legalization of recreational marijuana, the California Department of Justice will both review and seal all past marijuana convictions that are no longer considered as crimes.
What Doesn't an Expungement Do?
Be aware that there are several limitations on what an expungement can do. For example, an expungement will not:
- overturn a driver's license suspension or revocation,
- restore California gun rights under California's felon with a firearm law, or
- end the duty to register as a California sex offender.
Note that expunged convictions may still be used as prior convictions to enhance sentencing if you commit the same crime in the future. For instance, an expunged DUI conviction still counts as a prior if you are later arrested for another DUI, and an expunged conviction that would count as a “strike” for purposes of California's three-strikes law still counts as a previous strike.
Filing for Expungement in San Mateo County
To obtain an expungement, you need to fill out the required forms to be filed in the county where you were convicted. For San Mateo County, forms are filed at the Hall of Justice located at 400 County Center Redwood City, CA 94063 on the 4th Floor. Note that the processing fee in San Mateo County is $60, but fee waivers are available for low-income petitioners.
The turnaround for expungement ranges from 30 to 90 days. You should receive a letter in the mail letting you know whether your petition has been accepted or rejected. There is no limit to the number of times you can apply for expungement, so do not worry if you are denied. Seeking an experienced expungement attorney can help you more efficiently and appropriately handle the expungement process. Speak to a member of our firm for more information on clearing your record.