Clear your criminal record, remove past convictions, and improve future employment and housing opportunities.

Expungement Attorneys in Bakersfield, California

Some individuals in California qualify to have their criminal records expunged. As you may know, having a conviction on your record can negatively impact various aspects of your life, including your ability to get a job and be approved for housing opportunities. This makes many people convicted of crimes wonder, “How can I get my criminal record expunged?”

Consider speaking with our expungement attorneys in Bakersfield, California, to find out if you are eligible to have your record expunged. At Underwood Law Firm, we can help you navigate the complex legal system and understand expungement requirements in California. We handle expungement cases in Bakersfield, Lamont, and throughout Kern County.

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What Is Expungement?

An expungement, which is governed under California Penal Code 1203.4, allows eligible defendants to withdraw their guilty or no contest plea to have their case dismissed. In other words, an expungement removes a crime or conviction from your record as if you had never committed it. Having your criminal record expunged releases you from the negative consequences associated with a conviction.

Once you have your criminal record expunged, you are allowed not to disclose your arrest, conviction, or other expunged records when applying for a job or seeking approval for housing opportunities. However, not everyone is eligible for an expungement in California.

Who Is Eligible for an Expungement?

In 2019, approximately 1 million adults were arrested for crimes in California, according to a report by the California Department of Justice. A large percentage of such arrests lead to a conviction. However, not all people convicted of crimes in the State of California are eligible for an expungement.

Under California law, your case may qualify for an expungement if you were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony as long as you satisfy the following requirements:

  1. You have successfully completed probation for the expungeable offense; and
  2. You (a) did not serve time in state prison for the offense, or (b) if you did serve a prison sentence, you can prove that your conviction would result in a jail sentence under the realignment of Proposition 47.

If your criminal conviction resulted in a jail or prison sentence, you would have to wait at least 12 months after satisfying all of the requirements associated with the offense. The minimum time requirement is longer for certain convictions, which is why you need to consult with an experienced expungement attorney to review your particular case and determine your eligibility for an expungement in California.

Who Is Not Eligible for an Expungement?

Under California law, a convicted defendant is not eligible for expungement if they were sentenced to serve time in state prison unless their case would lead to a jail sentence under the realignment of Proposition 47. In addition, certain felony offenses do not qualify for an expungement in California. Felonies that are not eligible for expungement include:

  • Murder
  • Serious violent crimes
  • Sex offenses against children, including sodomy with a child, oral copulation with a child, lewd acts with children, and statutory rape

If you are not sure whether or not you have a right to get an expungement in your specific case, consider contacting an experienced attorney who will review your circumstances and determine your eligibility to get your records expunged.

What Are the Benefits of an Expungement?

There are many advantages of obtaining an expungement if you are eligible to get one. Some of the benefits of getting your criminal record expunged include:

  • Expungement protects your privacy because it allows you to seal your criminal record from public view
  • You no longer have to disclose your expunged conviction when applying for jobs
  • An expunged record makes it easier to acquire a professional license
  • Obtaining an expungement may help you avoid certain immigration restrictions and consequences

If you are eligible to get an expungement, you can go forward with your life without being haunted by your prior mistakes and convictions.

What Is the Expungement Process in California?

If you are seeking an expungement in California, you need to understand how the process works. The process of obtaining an expungement varies from one case to another, depending on whether you were convicted of the criminal offense.

If you wish to file a petition for expungement in California, take the following steps:

  1. Obtain a copy of your criminal record
  2. Complete probation (expungement is not granted if the defendant has not completed probation)
  3. Pay the necessary fines and fees
  4. Petition the court to reduce charges if you were convicted of a felony, or fill out and submit CR-180 if you were convicted of a misdemeanor
  5. Contact a skilled expungement attorney to assist you with the legal process

When you work with an attorney, navigating the expungement process becomes much easier.