California Expungement and California Criminal Records Services
Having a criminal record in California usually makes life more difficult. A criminal record can limit you from getting the job you want, obtaining housing, getting professional licenses, legally owing a firearm, qualifying for government programs, obtaining student loans, and many other opportunities which would otherwise be available to you. To make matters worse, criminal records in California are usually made available to the public without having to run a formal California background check. Very often, anybody with a connection to the internet can find your California criminal record. Fortunately, California law provides several different options to limit the negative effects of having a California criminal record.
How to Remove Your California Record
There are several different California criminal record clearing services available under California criminal law. It is important that you choose the California legal services that best fit your needs. Our law firm is very experienced in helping our clients figure out what California criminal record services are available, including:
- California Expungement of Felony Convictions: Expunging a California felony conviction results in the dismissal of your conviction, removing the felony conviction from your California criminal record. In other words, a California felony expungement reopens your criminal case, and then changes the result from a felony conviction to a dismissal. Although a California expungement does not destroy your California criminal record entirely, it does result in you no longer being convicted, which permits you to legally state that you have never been convicted of the crime. Most importantly, expunging all felonies from your California criminal record will result in you no longer being a felon.
- California Felony Reductions: In many circumstances, California law allows you to reduce a felony conviction. A person who was granted probation for a “wobbler” offense under California criminal law may often obtain a felony reduction. This is an important process because successfully reducing a felony under California Penal Code Section 17(b) will often restore your ability to own and possess a gun.
- California Firearm Rights Restoration: In many circumstances, California law allows you to do more than just expunge a California felony conviction. If you qualify to expunge a felony conviction, and the offense is a “wobbler” under California criminal law, you may often obtain a felony reduction in addition to the California expungement. This is an important distinction, because successfully reducing a felony under California Penal Code Section 17(b) will often restore your ability to own and possess a gun. In addition, certain misdemeanor offenses can also lead to a loss of firearm rights in California. In this case, your gun rights can only be restored after a period of 10 years.
- California Expungement of Misdemeanor Convictions: Expunging a California misdemeanor conviction results in the dismissal of your conviction, removing the misdemeanor conviction from your California criminal record. In other words, a California misdemeanor expungement reopens your criminal case, and then changes the result from a conviction to a dismissal. Although a California expungement does not destroy your California criminal record entirely, it does result in you no longer being convicted, which permits you to legally state that you have never been convicted of the crime.
- California Arrest Record Sealing: If your California criminal record did not result in a conviction, some circumstances permit you to seal your California arrest record, completely removing the criminal record from the public record. To qualify for a California arrest record sealing, you must establish that you were factually innocent of the crime for which you were arrested. This is usually a difficult legal standard to meet, but successfully sealing your California arrest record will typically completely remove your criminal from the California public record.
- Expungement and Sealing of Marijuana Crimes (Proposition 64): Offenses that are now legal and offenses that are now considered misdemeanors may be fully sealed or reduced to misdemeanor. If your marijuana related offense is now considered legal (example: possession of marijuana) you may qualify to have your prior marijuana conviction fully sealed. Other types of convictions are now considered only misdemeanors and may be eligible for reduction to misdemeanor.
- California Certificates of Rehabilitation: If your record is ineligible for an expungement in California, a Certificate of Rehabilitation may still be available. Although a Certificate of Rehabilitation does not expunge your criminal offense, it is very valuable because it is an official statement by the court that you have been rehabilitated since your criminal past. Furthermore, the granting of a Certificate of Rehabilitation acts as an automatic pardon application to the Office of the Governor.
- Early Termination of California Probation: If you are anxious to expunge your record and you’re still on probation, you can apply to end your probation early. However, all fines and court costs must be paid in full and you must have completed any and all court-ordered classes.
- California DUI Expungement: Expunging a California DUI conviction results in the dismissal of your conviction, removing the DUI conviction from your California criminal record. In other words, a California DUI expungement reopens your criminal case, and then changes the result from a conviction to a dismissal. Although a California expungement does not destroy your California criminal record entirely, it does result in you no longer being convicted, which permits you to legally state that you have never been convicted of the crime.
- California Pardons: Most Californians that want to obtain a pardon from the governor, must first apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation. If granted, this automatically turns into a pardon application. For a do-it-yourself guide to California pardons, you may purchase our California Pardon eBook
Why You Should Hire WipeRecord
If you are tired of having a California criminal hold you back, give our law firm a call. Our law firm has helped hundreds of people with California criminal records move on in life, leaving many of the negative effects of a California criminal record behind. Our experienced attorneys and legal staff are here to help you figure out what criminal record clearing services best fit your needs, and then help you accomplish your goals. Using our secure, confidential Eligibility Test is the best way to get the process started.
The benefits of expunging your criminal record in California include:
- Being able to legally state that you have not been convicted of a criminal offense to employers and landlords
- Becoming eligible for professional licenses you previously did not qualify for
- No longer being treated as a felon
- Increased eligibility for student loans, housing assistance, and government programs
- Improving your ability to obtain higher-paying job opportunities
- Improving access and admission to college and other educational resources
- Eliminating the concern and potential embarrassment of failing a background check by removing public access to sensitive personal information.
Each of the California expungement services have different requirements, and are meant for different circumstances. To move forward, it’s important to determine what California criminal record services are available, and then select the services that will provide the greatest benefit. Our firm is here to help you navigate California criminal law, fight to protect your rights, and assist you in moving forward in life without the effects of a California criminal record.
You can trust that you will get exceptional service from our law firm, as we have an A Rating from the Better Business Bureau, and our attorneys are listed as Super Lawyers and Superb Attorneys by prestigious attorney rating services such as Thompson Reuters and Avvo. Our law firm has attorneys licensed to practice law in all California state courts, provides low price guarantees, and is here to fight for you and put your criminal record behind you!
California Criminal Record Removal Services
Expunging Felony Convictions in California
Fortunately, many California felony convictions can be expunged, dismissing and removing the felony conviction from your California criminal record. In other words, a California felony expungement reopens your criminal case, and then changes the result from a felony conviction to a dismissal. Although a California expungement does not destroy your California criminal record entirely, it does result in you no longer being convicted. This permits you to legally state that you have never been convicted of the crime. Most importantly, expunging all felonies from your California criminal record will result in you no longer being a felon.
There are many laws and technical rules that you must satisfy to expunge a felony conviction in California, but generally you must satisfy the following requirements:
- Successfully complete all terms of probation and sentence
- Pay all fines, restitution, and other financial obligations
- You were not sentenced to prison (this does not include jail)
- There are no other criminal charges currently pending against you
- Relief not available for any sex offenders
There are several other factors that must be considered to give you the best chance of successfully expunging a California felony conviction. For example, if you violated the terms of your probation prior to its completion, courts will typically require additional information. A detailed knowledge of the different laws and rules of the courtroom are vital in this process. Our attorneys are very experienced in expunging California felony convictions, and are here to help guide you along in the process.
Reducing California Felony Convictions
In many circumstances, California law allows you to do more than just expunge a California felony conviction. If you qualify to expunge a felony conviction based on the general requirements above, and the offense is a “wobbler” under California criminal law, you may often obtain a felony reduction in addition to the California expungement. This is an important distinction, because successfully reducing a felony under California Penal Code Section 17(b) will often restore your ability to own and possess a gun.
What is a “Wobbler” Offense? A “Wobbler” is a term frequently used in California criminal law to describe a crime that could be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, meaning, the prosecutor has discretion on the severity of the charges they choose bring against you. Typically, a prosecutor will consider the specific facts and circumstances of the case, along with your criminal history when making this determination. There are many criminal offenses which are considered “Wobblers” in California, ranging from violent crimes such as assault with a deadly weapon to white collar crimes like money laundering.
If you have a felony conviction on your record in California which did not result in prison time, and is a “Wobbler” offense, it is critical for you to take steps to have your felony reduced and expunged. Our law firm is very experienced in both expunging and reducing California felony convictions, which can be a more complicated process than a typical California felony conviction.
Click here to view the California Expungement Statute.
Restoration of Firearm Rights in California
If you have a felony conviction in California, your right to own and possess firearms is lost. However, if you were convicted of a felony “wobbler” offense, it can potentially be reduced to a misdemeanor. Reducing your felony to a misdemeanor can then restore your California gun rights. Certain misdemeanor offenses can also lead to a loss of firearm rights in California. In this case, your gun rights can only be restored after a period of 10 years.
Sometimes, only a California pardon can fully restore your firearm rights in California. Finally, federal law can make firearms restoration even more of a complicated situation. To determine whether your gun rights may be restored, it is highly recommended that you seek the assistance of an attorney. Our firm is more than happy to assist you through the process of California firearm rights restoration.
For more information, see our California Firearm Rights Restoration page.
Expunging Misdemeanor Convictions in California
The process to expunge California misdemeanor convictions is very similar to expunging felony convictions. However, expunging California misdemeanor convictions is typically less difficult than expunging California felony convictions. California misdemeanor convictions typically less serious, and do not involve prison sentences. For example, in most circumstances you can successfully expunge a misdemeanor driving under the influence (DUI) conviction. In contrast, you typically cannot expunge felony murder convictions. With that in mind, there are additional rules and requirements that must be considered to increase your chances of successfully expunging a California misdemeanor conviction. Our attorneys focus on this specific area of law, and understand these laws and courtroom rules in detail.
California Arrest Record Sealing
If your California criminal record did not result in a conviction, in some cases you may instead seal your California arrest record, completely removing the criminal record from public view. However, qualifying to seal a California arrest record is much more difficult than expunging a California conviction. To qualify for a California arrest record sealing, you must establish that you were factually innocent of the crime you were arrested for. This is usually a difficult legal standard to meet, but successfully sealing your California arrest record will typically completely remove your criminal from the California public view. Our law firm understands these complex laws, and is happy to help you determine whether this is a reasonable option for you to pursue.
Expungement and Sealing of Marijuana Crimes (Proposition 64)
Last year, California voters succeeded in legalizing marijuana. The bill, known as “Prop 64” was passed into law and went into effect on January 1, 2017. This law contains some great methods for dismissing, reducing, and even sealing both current and past marijuana-related offenses. If you are currently charged with or have previously been convicted of a marijuana related offense, Prop 64 could allow you to have the case sealed, reduced to misdemeanor, or dismissed.
Four marijuana related crimes were changed by Prop 64; 1) possession of marijuana, 2) possession for sale of marijuana, 3) cultivation of marijuana, and 4) distribution of marijuana. Offenses that are now legal and offenses that are now considered misdemeanors may be fully sealed or reduced to a misdemeanor. If your convicted offense is now considered legal (example: possession of marijuana) you may qualify to have your prior marijuana conviction fully sealed. However, not all marijuana-related convictions are eligible in California. Our firm us happy to help in making sure your criminal record is eligible. Due to the popularity of Prop 64, our law firm has plenty of experience in using this new law for our clients.
California Certificate of Rehabilitation
Not all convictions may be expunged in California. The most common barrier for those seeking to dismiss a conviction is a sentence to state prison. If your record is ineligible for an expungement in California, a Certificate of Rehabilitation may still be available. Although a Certificate of Rehabilitation may not expunge your criminal offense, it is very valuable because it is an official statement by the court that you have been rehabilitated since your criminal past.
Some of the major benefits of a Certificate of Rehabilitation include:
- Restores some of the rights of citizenship which were forfeited as a result of a conviction (civil rights)
- Gives you a better chance to become licensed by state boards
- Serves as an official document to show that you are rehabilitated. This could greatly enhance employment opportunities
- Serves as an automatic recommendation and application to the Governor for a pardon
Generally, to be eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, the applicant must complete his or her sentence and period of parole, remain a resident of the state for a certain amount of time, have no other violations. Those convicted of misdemeanors (other than certain sex offenses), or those serving a mandatory life sentence of parole are not eligible for a Certificate.
The process of applying for a Certificate of Rehabilitation can be complicated without the assistance of an attorney
To apply, you must fill out the correct forms, file them in the court where you live, serve proper notice, and attend a hearing on the matter. It is important that everything be done correctly to ensure the best chance of success. It is recommended that you consult the advice of an attorney experienced in such matters. Our law firm is ready and willing to help, so contact us today to begin the application process.
Early Termination of Probation in California
To be eligible for a California expungement (dismissal), you must have fully completed the terms of probation. Fortunately, you may ask the court to end your probation sentence early, which may result in the offense being eligible for a set-aside. These requests are not usually granted until 50% of the probationary term is completed. Courts will look at other factors as well when considering whether to grant early probation termination. The process can take months to complete, depending on the court. Contact our law firm to begin the process of asking the court to release you from probation supervision early.
For more information, see our California Early Probation Termination page.
If you have a criminal conviction in California, you may be able to apply for a pardon issued by the governor. If you are eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation in California, you must first apply for that. If the Court issues you a Certificate, it is sent to the Governor’s Office where it automatically becomes an application for a pardon. If you are ineligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, you may apply for a pardon directly to the Governor of California.
If you have a felony conviction from California, but now live out-of-state, you must use the traditional pardon application. If your conviction was for a certain sex offense, or a misdemeanor offense, then you must follow the traditional pardon process as well. The pardon application process consists of filling out the forms, submitting them to the Governor’s office, and preparing for a hearing. If you have a California criminal record, and are interested in a pardon from the Governor, our law firm is here to help.
Visit our website to purchase our California Pardon eBook
Our Attorneys Are Here to Help
California criminal record services can be quite complicated without the support of an attorney. Our law firm is experienced in such matters; and we are happy to provide a free consultation to determine your eligibility for moving past a criminal record. Even if you do not qualify for a set-aside or reduction, our attorneys can examine your records and potentially offer other legal remedies.
WipeRecord’s knowledgeable attorneys are ready to work hard to improve your future. We are eager to begin working on your case, so contact us today. The different processes in California can typically take months to complete, depending on the circumstances. The sooner you contact our office, the sooner we can begin the course of fixing your criminal record. Enjoy some peace of mind by making the decision to put your criminal record in the past. We offer flexible payment plans and can get you started for an affordable price, so contact us today to get started!
California Office Address:
350 10th Avenue
San Diego, CA 92101
*By appointment only
California Frequently Asked Expungement Questions
Why do I need to get a Live Scan if I have paid the $300.00 research fee? What is a Live Scan?
To begin work on a case, our firm needs copies of your complete criminal history. Some county clerks in California are backed up as much as sixth months in processing records requests. Other times, clients have cases that are very old, which cannot be found or do not have detailed records. For these reasons, we sometimes request that clients obtain a Live Scan – or fingerprint background check – so we can get the full and accurate criminal history of the client. The “research fee” goes toward analyzing your criminal record, and making sure we meet the requirements to complete your case.
Why hasn’t my petition been filed yet?
There are a number of steps that must be taken before a petition can be filed with the court, all of which may take some time to complete. Before filing, we must be sure all criminal records are obtained, the petitions are correctly prepared, and all filing requirements are met. The attorney working on your case must review and approve of everything as well. Finally, our firm has a general policy of not filing any legal documents until your account has been paid at least fifty percent 50%.
How can I get my gun rights restored?
There are two basic ways to have your California gun rights restored. The first involves having a “wobbler” felony reduced to a misdemeanor. A “wobbler” is an offense that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor in CA. If you were convicted of a wobbler as a felony, you can petition the court to have it reduced to a misdemeanor. By doing this, you may be able to have your firearm rights restored. The second way to restore your CA gun rights is through a pardon by the governor. This may be done either by petitioning for a CA Certificate of Rehabilitation, or submitting a direct pardon application to the governor. Your options will depend on the specific type of criminal record you have, so for cases like these it’s always best to consult the assistance of an attorney.
What is a Certificate of Rehabilitation and how do I obtain a Governor’s Pardon? Do I have to get all my cases dismissed before filing a Cert. of Rehab? Will it allow me to get my gun rights restored? What are all the requirements?
A Certificate of Rehabilitation (COR) is a court order declaring that a person convicted of a crime is now rehabilitated. Generally, any person convicted of a felony who still resides in California may apply to the superior court in his or her county of residence for a COR, provided that he or she meets the legal requirements. If a COR is issued, the court forwards it to the governor with a recommendation that the individual be pardoned.
Only those that are ineligible to apply for a COR may submit an application for a pardon directly to the CA governor. If a person received a full and unconditional pardon, he or she may own or possess firearms, unless the person was convicted of an offense that involved the use of a dangerous weapon. For more information on a California Pardon and an opportunity to purchase our e-Book, contact our office.
How long do I have to wait until my case is granted?
The time for completing your case will depend on how busy the court is, and how complex your case is. Some petitions can be granted within a few months, and others may take more time than that. However, once a case is filed with the court, there is not much that can be done to further speed up the process.
Why do I have to pay for a declaration?
The legal services we provide in California are offered at a low and competitive price. In order to draft a Declaration in Support of your petition, another step of legal work must be completed. Your statement must be reviewed and slightly modified into a format that is acceptable to the court. Because it takes a bit more time and work to draft Declarations, our firm charges a small additional legal fee.
Why was my hearing continued and why do I have to pay this additional cost?
In some situations, a party to your case (ex: district attorney) will request that your hearing be rescheduled. This can be for a number of reasons, and generally they are out of our control. If your hearing is continued, our firm must pay additional costs to have an attorney appear at the next hearing date, and so we ask customers to cover this additional fee.
Now that my expungement is complete and all felonies reduced, can I buy a gun right away? How long should I wait?
We recommend waiting at least one to two months before attempting to purchase a gun. It takes the various state and federal agencies some time to update and correct their databases.