Experienced San Bernardino Criminal Defense Attorney Michael A. Scafiddi Tells You What You Need to Know About Expunging or Reducing Criminal Convictions
Having a criminal record can profoundly affect your life, job prospects, and opportunities. Obviously, the best course of action is to not have a criminal record. But if you have been convicted of a crime, it is far better to be convicted of a misdemeanor than a felony. Felonies tend to follow your employment record for life, while most misdemeanors lose their relevancy after a few years or, at most, a decade. But what do you do if you have a criminal conviction for a felony and want to remove it from your record?
If you or a loved one needs help addressing the secondary effects of a criminal conviction, it is a complex and serious process. Call an experienced California criminal defense attorney immediately. Attorney Scafiddi has experience defending Californians from all types of criminal charges and is standing by to help clean up your record today.
There are a number of ways that you can remove prior convictions from your criminal record in California. Below are a number of options, as well as the scenarios when these options are available.
Expungements Attorney in San Bernardino & Riverside
Expungement is a legal process where prior convictions for either misdemeanors or felonies are “dismissed” from your criminal record for almost all purposes. An expungement is only available in closed cases where you were not sentenced to serve prison time (jail sentences will not preclude an expungement). If your record is expunged, you can generally answer “no” when asked if you have a criminal conviction, and employers are legally prohibited from asking about the conviction or using it against you. The exception to this rule is where you are applying for jobs that require licensing from the state – in those situations you must disclose the conviction, but you may indicate that it has been expunged.
In order to be eligible to for an expungement you must have been convicted of a crime, been granted probation, and have completed that probation. This means you must not currently be on probation. This also includes paying any fines and fees, completing any classes or terms, and paying any restitution in full. Until you have completed the terms of probation, you will not be eligible. You may request an early termination of probation in compelling circumstances which would allow you to be eligible to obtain an expungement.
Reduction of Felonies in California- Penal Code 17(b)
Some felony convictions can be reduced to misdemeanors. These crimes are called “wobblers,” which simply means that they can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. While you will still retain the status of having been convicted of a crime, if you felony is reduced under Penal Code section 17(b) you may now be able to vote, own a firearm, and have far wider employment options. A felony can be both reduced to a misdemeanor and expunged. You will not be eligible for a reduction to a misdemeanor if you served a state prison sentence on your case.
Prop 47 Reductions
Under Prop 47, low-level drug and theft convictions (under $950) can be reduced to misdemeanors. As with the options discussed above, while having a misdemeanor conviction is not optimal, it is a much preferable option to having a felony conviction and its attending impacts on your life. Reductions under Prop 47 will reduce the crime to a misdemeanor, but will not restore your firearm rights. It is always important to know why you are seeking a reduction so that your criminal attorney can use the appropriate vehicle for relief.
Prop 64 Reductions
Under Prop 64, marijuana-related crimes can either be reduced or dismissed. With the legalization of marijuana in California, there is an effort to un-do many convictions related to its prohibition. If you have any marijuana related convictions, it is important to have an experienced attorney review your criminal record to see how those charges can be reduced or even removed from your record.
Certificates of Rehabilitation
If you were convicted of a felony and served time in state prison, expungement and reduction may not be an option for you. That said, a Certificate of Rehabilitation can lessen the effect that a felony has on your record. It certifies that you have been rehabilitated, which may result in bettering your chances of attaining employment or certain professional licenses. A Certificate of Rehabilitation is also the first step for California residents in obtaining a Governor’s Pardon. The Law Offices of Michael A. Scafiddi handles Certificates of Rehabilitation throughout the state, and has been successful in receiving three Pardons from Governor Brown in the last four years.
What Should You Do if You Have a Criminal Conviction You Want Expunged?
If you are facing criminal charges, need expert criminal defense immediately. If you have been convicted and are trying to have your convictions expunged, you will need legal help. Given the ramifications of having a criminal or felony conviction on your record, you cannot take your chances and go it alone.
Free California Expungement Case Analysis
You have rights. Do not let an old conviction ruin your career, your livelihood, or your family. In California, you may be able to have that conviction removed, freeing you to live the life you are entitled to. Call attorney Michael Scafiddi at 1-909-381-1000, an expungment attorney serving the entire Inland Empire and San Diego.