Expungement

Los angeles Expungement Attorney

CLEAN YOUR RECORD THE RIGHT WAY IN LOS ANGELES

IF YOU HAVE A CRIMINAL CONVICTION IN LOS ANGELES CALIFORNIA WHAT CAN YOU DO NOT MINIMIZE ITS EFFECT?

One of the most common remedies in Los Angeles to minimize the effects of a criminal conviction is to expunge / dismiss the record (take back the guilty or no contest plea and enter a not guilty plea and a dismissal on the record). Before going any further with this concept, I must be clear that in California there is no true expungement. In other words, if a judge grants your motion to expunge, the case is not completely wiped off your record. If someone has the capability to view your record, they will see the word “dismissal” after the charge that you had pending.

This is obviously better than seeing a plea of guilty or no contest next to the crime, but not as good as seeing nothing at all! In fact, the forms now refer to the concept of having the guilty or no contest plea removed from your record and a dismissal placed there as “Dismissal” instead of expungement. This is obviously more accurate and less confusing. Yet as I travel from court to court in Los Angeles County, the judges, prosecutors and court staff still refer to the concept as an expungement. It would be nice if the entire record was wiped clean, but for some reason the legislature and courts have not permitted this in California.

The only way to completely seal a record is if the matter is a juvenile matter or if a motion to seal and destroy the arrest record is granted after a case is not filed by the prosecutors. In this scenario, a person is arrested an not charges are filed against them because the prosecutor either feel that there is not enough evidence or the police have violated the person’s constitutional rights in some way. There would still be a record of the person being arrested even though not charges were ever filed against them. In order to get rid of that arrest record, a motion to seal and destroy it would have to be filed, served on the prosecutor and granted by the judge. This is a situation where a person would have to be found factually innocent of the crime they were arrested for in the first place.

IF YOU ARE GOING TO SEEK AN EXPUNGEMENT, WHO SHOULD DO IT, YOU OR YOUR ATTORNEY?

You probably have the best chance of success in seeking an expungement / dismissal if you have and attorney who knows what he or she is doing take care of the matter. All too often I see people mess up their attempt at getting their case dismissed, because they do not understand something related to the process. For example, you can not have your case expunged unless your probation is over. There is a motion that can be filed to have your probation terminated early, but once again, you are best served if you let an attorney that knows what they are doing handle it. Attorney have the ability to adjust if they run into a road block along the way. Clients do not have the training and experience behind them to make the sometimes necessary adjustments.

CAN ALL CRIMES BE EXPUNGED IN LOS ANGELES?

As you might guess, all crimes are not eligible to be expunged or dismissed. Most sex crimes are not eligible to be dismissed at the end of a probation. Serious and violent felonies are not eligible to be dismissed either. If a person was sentenced to prison, they will typically not be eligible to have their matter expunged. The best way to make the determination is to once again contact an attorney that has been handling these type of matters for years and has the experience behind them to get you a quick and reliable answer. We can usually have the answer within a day. And, if we do not have the answer, we will send you to the court to obtain the minute order on your case and then we can confirm with certainty if you are eligible.

In addition, another thing that an attorney should be evaluating related to an expungement in Los Angeles County is whether the client is eligible to have the matter reduced to a misdemeanor first before it is expunged. Some crimes are straight felonies and can not be reduced to a misdemeanor, while other crimes are wobblers that can be reduced to a misdemeanor once the probationary period is over and the person has successfully done everything the court ordered them to do. If a person is still on probation and is trying to get their case reduced to a misdemeanor and dismissed, then a motion will have to be filed to terminate the probation early. If the motion to terminated early is granted, then the way is clear to file the motion to reduce the case to a misdemeanor and expunge it.

WHAT FACTORS DOES THE JUDGE LOOK AT IN LOS ANGELES TO DECIDE WHETHER AN EXPUNGEMENT WILL BE GRANTED OR DENIED?

If you have successfully completed your probation on a particular case, not been arrested for any new cases and not violated any of the terms and conditions of your probation during the probationary period, then you are eligible and suitable to have your expungement / dismissal granted. If on the other hand, you picked up a criminal case while on probation or you violate one of the terms and conditions of your probation, then there is a chance the judge will deny your request for an expungement. If you fall under this later category, then it is probably be a good idea for your attorney to submit a declaration on your behalf explaining the basis for whatever issue you had while on probation and giving a good reason why the expungement should be granted and all of the good factors that relate to you and your situation.

Hedding Law Firm, Los Angeles Criminal Lawyer