CASE DISMISSAL AND EXPUNGEMENT
We can write and file the appropriate motions and appear in court for you.
FELONY, MISDEMEANOR OR INFRACTION EXPUNGEMENT IN CALIFORNIA
WHAT IS AN EXPUNGEMENT?
If you were convicted of an infraction, a misdemeanor, or a felony and were not sentenced to state prison you can petition for a dismissal. This means you were given county jail time, probation, a fine, or a combination of those. If you are petitioning for a dismissal, the court, upon proper motion, may withdraw your guilty or no contest (nolo contendere) plea, or verdict of guilt if you went to trial, and enter a not guilty plea. Then the court will set aside and dismiss the conviction. From that point forward, you are no longer considered convicted of the offense. Your record will be changed to show a dismissal per 1203.4 rather than a conviction.
California Labor Code section 432.7 says that an employer cannot ask someone applying for a job for information about an arrest or detention that did not end in a conviction. Also, an employer cannot ask about a referral to or participation in any diversion program. An employer is also not supposed to look for any record of arrest (from any source) that did not end in a conviction. If this information comes to the employer’s attention anyway, the employer cannot use that record as a factor in hiring, promoting, or terminating that person. But this same code section says that the employer may ask an employee or someone applying for a job about an arrest for which he or she is out on bail or released on his or her own recognizance pending trial. A conviction, for purposes of this code section, includes pleas, verdicts, or findings of guilt.
Because in general people are protected from having to disclose to an employer an arrest if it did not result in a conviction, this guide will focus on cases where someone has actually been convicted and does not fall under the protection of this Labor Code section.
THE LAW REGARDING PROFESSIONAL LICENSES JUST GOT BETTER FOR YOU
CA Business and Professions Code, section 480. This addresses professional licenses and how an expungement may assist on getting a license. “ A person shall not be denied a license solely on the basis of a conviction that has been dismissed pursuant to Section 1203.4, ( CA Expungement) of the Penal Code. An applicant who has a conviction that has been dismissed pursuant to Section 1203.4, shall provide proof of the dismissal. This is specific to a board within the California Department of Consumer Affairs and the licensing authority of this agency. Here is a link to their website to get a list of licenses: CA Dept. of Consumer Affairs
A person shall not be denied a license solely on the basis that he or she has been convicted of a felony if he or she has obtained a certificate of rehabilitation … or that he or she has been convicted of a misdemeanor if he or she has met all applicable requirements of the criteria of rehabilitation developed by the board to evaluate the rehabilitation of a person when considering the denial of a license.
What a dismissal will do
Once all your convictions have been dismissed, this is what you can expect:
1. Applying for private employment:
Under most circumstances, private employers cannot ask you about any convictions dismissed under Penal Code section 1203.4. So when applying for a job in the private sector, you generally do not have to disclose a conviction if it was dismissed or expunged. But it is a good idea to read Penal Code section 1203.4, or California Code of Regulations section 7287.4(d), or to talk to your attorney if you have questions about your rights and obligations regarding past convictions when applying for a job.
2. Applying for government employment or a government license:
For questions by government employers or on government licensing applications, if you are asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime, you MUST respond with “YES—CONVICTION DISMISSED.” In California, government employers and licensing agencies (except for police agencies and concessionaire licensing boards) will treat you the same as if you had never been convicted of any crime.
You will not be allowed to own or possess a firearm until you would otherwise be able to do so.
Your dismissed convictions can still be used to increase your punishment in future criminal cases.
Your prior convictions can still affect your driving privileges.
3. Registering as a sex offender:
If you have been required to register as a sex offender as a result of a conviction, you have to make a different motion to the court in order to be relieved of this requirement. A dismissal will not relieve you of your duty to register as a sex offender. Your status as a registered sex offender will continue to be available to the public on the Internet under Megan’s Law.
4. Holding public office:
If your conviction prohibited you from holding public office, you still cannot hold public office after that conviction is dismissed.
Effect of Expungement on Rights to Stay in the United States if a non citizen
If you are convicted of a crime while you are lawfully in the U.S., the government may deport you back to your home country.
Deportation can happen to two types of foreign nationals:
- foreign nationals who are in the U.S. with a nonimmigrant visa (such as a B visa or an H-1B visa) and
- foreign nationals who have their green cards (lawful permanent residents).
(Of course, deportation can also happen to foreign nationals who are in the country illegally, whether they’ve been convicted of a crime or not.)
First, if you commit a crime while in the U.S. with a nonimmigrant visa, the government takes the view that you have violated the conditions of your visa and should be deported. It may be possible to avoid deportation, but you should contact a skilled immigration attorney specializing in criminal convictions in order to remain in the country.
Second, if you have a green card, committing a crime can result in the loss of your green card and deportation (removal). It may be possible to avoid deportation, but anyone in this situation should contact an immigration attorney who can assist with this serious issue.
It is always a good idea to consult with an attorney BEFORE you accept some sort of plea agreement. Our office works with immigration attorneys and keeps current on the effects of specific charges and how it can effect your immigration status.