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How Do Expungements Work?


Expungement is another way of saying “cleaning up your criminal record.” It is a court-ordered process during which the legal record of an arrest or conviction is sealed, or erased from public record. In particular cases, people arrested for a crime or convicted falsely of a crime may have their arrest or conviction on file, which can cause these people problems finding employment or housing. An expungement allows them to live normal lives without potential employers or landlords running a background check and finding a criminal record.

In the state of California, only some individuals qualify for expungements. For example, those who were not convicted of a crime but were wrongly arrested can request an expungement of their arrest. They can also get their records sealed by pursuing a certificate of factual innocence. People also don’t qualify for expungement if they are currently charged with a criminal offense, if they are on probation for a criminal offense, or if they are serving a sentence for a criminal offense. Likewise, there are some crimes that never become eligible for expungement, including certain sex crimes involving children.

If you were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense, you must have completed probation successfully and kept your record clear by not being charged with another crime. However, if you were convicted and sent to state prison, you are not eligible for expungement, even with perfect behavior.

To get your record expunged, the best way to do this successfully is to consult with an experienced criminal defense lawyer. He or she can help you determine whether or not you’re eligible, file the appropriate paperwork within the necessary timelines, and represent you in court at the expungement hearing.

If you’re interested in pursuing an expungement, talk to our skilled Santa Barbara criminal defense attorneys at Appel & Morse. We have 40 years of legal experience to offer your case. Let us see what we can do to improve your future.

Contact us at (805) 467-6060 or fill out our online form today!

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