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David D. Diamond State Bar Certified Criminal Law Specialist

What You Need to Know about Expungement

WHAT IS AN EXPUNGEMENT?

We offer clients the opportunity to clean up their criminal past. The great benefit of this relief is that it removes the blemish of a criminal record. We do want to note that there are exceptions to the expungement procedure.

If you have completed probation and fulfilled its conditions, the Judge must grant you relief. There is no discretion.

WHAT DO I TELL MY EMPLOYER?

Private employers may not even require an answer to the question of whether you were ever convicted and had an expungement. Pursuant to the Labor Code, no employer, whether a public agency or private individual or corporation, shall ask an applicant for employment to disclose, through any written form or verbally, information concerning an arrest or detention that did not result in conviction.

However, an expungement does not erase the actual court records.

WHAT IF I AM A WITNESS IN A TRIAL?

If you are a witness in a civil or criminal case, you cannot be impeached as a witness with a felony conviction dismissed under section 1203.4. This immunity does not apply to a defendant witness.

ARE THERE ANY EXCEPTIONS?

There is a rule pertaining to weapons. In the areas of weapon possession, you still cannot permit a person to own, possess, or have in his or her custody or control any firearm.

Some sex and vehicle code offenses are excluded. There is no expungement for any misdemeanor that is within the provisions of subdivision (b) of Section 42001 of the Vehicle Code [involving pedestrians who receive infraction offenses], to any violation of subdivision (c) of Section 286, Section 288, subdivision (c) of Section 288a, Section 288.5, or subdivision (j) of Section 289, any felony conviction pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 261.5, or to any infraction.

CAN I GET MY LICENSE BACK?

An expungement does not have any bearing on any revocation or suspension of the privilege of the person convicted to drive a motor vehicle.

WHAT ABOUT PUBLIC ENTITIES?

Public Office, State, Local Agencies... You still must disclose the conviction in response to any direct question contained in any questionnaire or application for public office, for licensure by any state or local agency, or for contracting with the California State Lottery.

WHAT ABOUT FEDERAL COURTS?

Federal Courts May Not Abide by the Relief. While it appears that the federal government will honor the decision of the state court to relieve its citizen of the felony convictions under most circumstances, any of the limitations which apply within the state will apply in the federal action as well. But, there is no guarantee.