Don't Let Your Past Limit Your Future
Having a criminal record in California makes life more difficult. A criminal record can limit you from getting the job you want, obtaining housing, getting professional licenses, legally owning a firearm, qualifying for government programs, receiving student loans, and many other opportunities which would otherwise be available to you.
To make matters worse, criminal records in California are typically available to the public without even needing a formal California background check. Very often, anybody with a connection to the Internet can find your California criminal record. However, California law provides a few different ways for you to clear up your criminal record, each having different requirements and effects on your criminal record.
A Certificate of Rehabilitation does not expunge or seal your record, but it is often the best available solution when ineligible for other post-conviction remedies. Additionally, as of January 1, 2019, Assembly Bill 2845 has made it an unlawful employment practice for an employer with five or more employees to consider convictions that have been sealed, dismissed, expunged, or statutorily eradicated pursuant to law, or any conviction for which the convicted person has received a full pardon or has been issued a certificate of rehabilitation.
This new law greatly increases the value of a Certificate of Rehabilitation for employment purposes, but there are other distinct benefits to obtaining a Certificate of Rehabilitation. For example, Certificates of Rehabilitation create an automatic pardon application, which we have seen granted more frequently in recent years.
Since the majority of people reading this aren’t lawyers, we’ve tried to simplify the legal jargon on our website, so regular people may follow along and get the information needed to understand their rights. However, before we get started, we should be clear that some of this information can get complicated, and, in many cases, it’s best to seek the assistance of an experienced lawyer.
To help you understand your rights, our lawyers have developed a tool that can be helpful in figuring out your options. This tool can’t be perfectly accurate in every situation, but our lawyers have invested substantial time and resources working to make it as accurate as possible.
You can get started by using our Secure Eligibility Test, or you can give us a call at (844) 947-3732 to see if our legal staff is available for a free consultation. Be aware that our staff is often busy with current clients and a high volume of calls and appointments. If you’re serious about getting rid of your record, your best bet is to take our Secure Eligibility Test and then schedule an appointment to discuss your results and options.
There are three ways to be eligible to apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, each with their own set of requirements, which include:
These are the threshold requirements to apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, but there are additional requirements and ways to become ineligible that we will cover in the section titled “Ineligible Persons to Apply for a Certificate” below.
Felony Convictions Resulting in Prison Sentences
If you were convicted of a felony and sentenced to California State Prison, your best option in dealing with your criminal record is likely a Certificate of Rehabilitation. To qualify, each of the following must be true:
This is far less common, but, if you were released from prison prior to May 13, 1943, the requirements to apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation include:
Convictions for Sex Offenses Under PC 290
Another way to qualify for a Certificate of Rehabilitation relates to convictions of a misdemeanor or felony sex offense listed under PC 290. To apply through this method for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, you must meet each the following requirements:
You are not eligible to apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation if any of the following are true:
To apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, the standard amount of continuous residency in California is five years from being discharged from incarceration or released from probation. In certain circumstances, you must wait the standard five years and an additional period until you are eligible to file for a Certificate of Rehabilitation. These situations with additional waiting time include:
Remember, these waiting periods require that you were a continuous resident of California for the period immediately prior to filing for your Certificate of Rehabilitation.
If convicted of a felony and sent to prison, it is unlikely that you qualify to expunge or seal your record, unless (i) you qualify under the provisions of Proposition 64 (relating to marijuana convictions); or (ii) your offense was prior to 2011, and meets the narrow requirements for expungement under PC 1203.42. Unless you qualify using one of these two new sets of laws, a Certificate of Rehabilitation is likely the best option for you to address your criminal record.
The most common requirement seeming to disqualify people from expunging convictions in California is that you cannot have been sentenced to California State Prison. Although, since the passage of Assembly Bill No. 1115, there are certain situations where someone sentenced to prison may still seek expungement under PC 1203.42. To use this new law, the conviction must have occurred prior to July 1, 2011, and it only applies to certain types of offenses discussed below.
Expungements for Felony Convictions Resulting in Jail Time
In 2011, California made significant changes to its felony sentencing rules, commonly known as “realignment,” under California Penal Code 1170(h). The main change in “realignment” was that convictions for many non-violent, non-serious, and non-sexual felony convictions could now result in county jail sentences instead of state prison sentences. Since these sentencing rules were not available prior to July 1, 2011, the defendant may have been sentenced to county jail instead of prison and qualified for expungement.
To expunge a California felony conviction that resulted in a prison sentence, the following requirements must be met to qualify under PC 1203.42, including:
Remedies for Marijuana Convictions Under Proposition 64
If you were convicted of a marijuana-related felony that resulted in prison time, you may be able to dismiss or even seal the conviction using newly enacted Proposition 64. However, the new methods of relief in Proposition 64 only apply to the following four criminal offenses:
If you were not sent to prison for a felony conviction for one of the above offenses, a Certificate of Rehabilitation is likely your best option. But, if you were sent to prison for one of the above offenses, please visit our California Proposition 64 page for more information.
While a Certificate of Rehabilitation will not remove a conviction from your record, it is often the best remedy available, particularly if you served time in prison. Despite this, a Certificate of Rehabilitation is more than just a piece of paper, especially after the passage of Assembly Bill 2845, which has recently made it illegal for an employer with at least five employees to consider convictions for which the convicted person has been issued a Certificate of Rehabilitation.
With Certificates of Rehabilitation, the two most common questions our firm is asked relate to employment and firearm rights. There are many more benefits to a Certificate of Rehabilitation, so we’re going to discuss each.
How will a Certificate of Rehabilitation help me get a job?
A Certificate of Rehabilitation should improve your employment prospects, particularly with Assembly Bill 2845, as it is an official document demonstrating a person’s rehabilitation. In addition, a Certificate of Rehabilitation will typically improve your chances in obtaining a professional license, as PC 4853 prevents licensing boards from automatically denying your application for a professional license.
Will a Certificate of Rehabilitation restore my Second Amendment Rights?
On its own, a Certificate of Rehabilitation will not restore your firearm rights; however, a Certificate of Rehabilitation automatically creates a pardon application, which is sent to the California Board of Parole Hearings for review. The Board is then required by Assembly Bill 2845 to issue a recommendation to the Governor within one year on whether to issue a pardon.
In recent years, California has issued more pardons than ever, but obtaining a pardon that restores your firearm rights is not a given. Our firm has had pardons granted via Certificates of Rehabilitation in the past, but, more often than not, they are not granted. Regardless, if you’ve served prison time in California, a Governor’s pardon is likely the only way to restore your firearm rights.
We will go into more detail regarding restoring Second Amendment rights in California on our California Firearm Rights Restoration page, but restoration typically involves both state and federal law that should be handled by an experienced lawyer. The lawyers in our firm regularly handle complex firearm rights restoration issues, so a good first step in exploring whether you can restore your firearm rights would be to take our Secure Eligibility Test. Then, if appropriate, set up a time to speak with our legal staff about how to proceed.
If you are tired of having a criminal record hold you back, reach out to us by taking our Secure Eligibility Test or by giving us a call at (844) 947-3732. Our law firm has helped thousands of people with criminal records move on in life, leaving many of the negative effects of a 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.
Some of the potential benefits of expunging your criminal record in California include:
Each of California’s methods for dealing with your criminal record have different requirements and are meant for different circumstances. To move forward, it’s important to determine what California criminal record services are available to you, and then select the services that will provide the greatest benefit. Eastman Meyler, PC is here to help you navigate this very specific area of 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 prestigious attorney rating services such as Thompson Reuters and Avvo list our attorneys as Super Lawyers and Superb Attorneys. 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!
We understand money can be tight, which is why we offer no-interest payment plans that can fit within any budget. Each person's situation is unique, so we work with our clients on an individual basis to find a payment plan that works for them.
If you are eligible, we are confident in our ability to clear your record. We are so confident that, for most services, we will refund your legal fees if we do not succeed in getting your record cleared. The Money Back Guarantee* applies only to legal fees, and does not apply to filing fees and court costs and other expenses required by the engagement. Further, our Money Back Guarantee* applies to most, but not all of the services offered by WipeRecord. Limitations apply. See our guarantee page.
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