California allows you reduce your felony to a misdemeanor and then you can expunge your misdemeanor , have your record sealed, ask for a certificate of rehabilitation, and even seek a pardon. This article was co-authored by Clinton M. Sandvick, JD, PhD.
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Clinton M. Sandvick worked as a civil litigator in California for over 7 years. Categories: Criminal Records. Learn why people trust wikiHow. Co-authored by Clinton M. There are 35 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. Get copies of your criminal record. Before seeking expungement, you need to know the details of your conviction. You should find the court papers that you received when you were convicted.
You might not have those papers anymore, in which case you must get them from someone else. You can contact your probation or parole officer.
Criminal Record Expungement Eligibility Guidelines
Also, the lawyer who represented you in the criminal proceeding might have a copy. You can also stop into the courthouse where you were convicted. You will have to pay a small fee. You will have to provide written proof of your income.
California DUI Expungement
Check if you qualify for expungement. Not everyone is entitled to get their felonies expunged. You qualify if your felony could have been charged as a misdemeanor, and if you were only given time in county jail or probation. Your application will be approved if you have completed all of your probation or were never given it in the first place.
Determine if you potentially qualify for an expungement. You might not meet the conditions for expungement. For example, you might still be on probation when you apply. Nevertheless, the judge has discretion to terminate your probation early and dismiss the conviction. In this case, you will have to attend a hearing to explain why the judge should expunge your conviction. Identify what felonies cannot be expunged. Generally, you are ineligible for expungement if you were convicted of a felony and sentenced to state prison, or you were put under the authority of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Generally, you can only get expungement if your felony could have been charged as a misdemeanor. Also, your punishment must have been limited to time in county jail, probation, a fine, or any combination of all three. With some offenses, you can never get an expungement, regardless of the circumstances. For example, you cannot expunge a sex crime involving a child or statutory rape. Meet with a lawyer.
You might have questions about the expungement process generally or about your situation specifically. For example, you might currently be on probation and want to discuss with a lawyer whether a judge is likely to terminate your probation early. You should find an attorney and schedule a consultation.
Trusted Felony Expungement Experience:
They may be able to help you with the expungement. They should be familiar with your case and can offer advice. Contact your local or state bar association and ask for a referral. Assess your eligibility. To be eligible for a reduction in California, the offense you were convicted of must be a "wobbler", which means you could have been charged with either a felony or a misdemeanor.
Common wobblers include burglary, assault, battery, and fraud. Second, you must have been granted probation and completed it. If either of these requirements are not met, you will not be able to reduce your felony to a misdemeanor. For example, if you were convicted of murder, which is considered a "straight" felony i. In another example, if you were denied probation or if you violated your probation, and you were sentenced to serve time in prison as opposed to jail , you will not be eligible for a reduction.
Draft a petition to have your felony reduced to a misdemeanor. Most county courts in California will have forms you can fill out to start the reduction process. The petition will inform the judge of your underlying felony conviction and the facts and circumstances surrounding it. For example, in Orange County, you would fill out Form CR, which asks for the following information:  The date of your conviction, a citation to the penal code section you violated, and whether you are eligible for a reduction Whether you were granted probation and whether you have completed your probation requirements A request that your felony conviction be reduced to a misdemeanor.
Gather supportive materials. Supplement your petition with documents indicating your efforts to become an upstanding citizen of California. If you can, provide the court with as much of the following as possible:  Letters of support from family, employers, and friends School diplomas or transcripts A personal letter to the judge explaining your situation.
File your petition. Your petition to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor must be filed in the same court that convicted you. This will be a county superior court in the state of California. You can choose to mail or personally deliver your documents to the court. The court will not charge you a fee when you file. Keep one copy for your records and use other copies to serve the appropriate parties.
The clerk will also schedule a hearing date when you file your petition.go to link
How to Expunge a Felony In California - What You Need to Know
Work with the clerk to find a date that works for you. Serve interested parties. That definition is not quite accurate. Even an expunged conviction can have lasting consequences. An expungement can nevertheless be helpful for people seeking employment or housing after being convicted of a DUI in Orange County. If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor DUI in California, you can petition the court for a dismissal. If you were convicted of a felony DUI, you may be able to petition for a reduction of the charge to a misdemeanor and for dismissal of the misdemeanor.
If the petition is granted, the court will reopen the case and dismiss the charge. After the dismissal is granted, you no longer have a conviction on your record. That does not mean that all traces of the conviction have been wiped out of existence, but for most purposes, you can honestly say that the charge was dismissed and that you have no criminal record. If you were convicted of misdemeanor DUI , you can file a petition for dismissal.
If you were convicted of a felony DUI and were not sentenced to prison, you may be able to petition the court for a reduction of the charge to a misdemeanor, followed by a dismissal of the charge. Not all felony DUI convictions are eligible for reduction to a misdemeanor but some are. However, if you were sentenced to prison rather than jail , you would need to apply for a pardon rather than expungement.
How to Expunge a Felony in California
If you are asked on a job application whether you have been convicted of a crime, and you have a misdemeanor on your record, the honest answer is yes. Misdemeanor offenses are not as serious under the law as felony offenses, which means they involve less severe punishments. In the United States, misdemeanor offenses typically result in punishments such as probation, community service, monetary fines, and brief or part-time incarceration.
In most United States jurisdictions, the maximum punishment for a misdemeanor offense is 12 months incarceration, which is usually served at local city or county jails rather than at higher-security prisons. Misdemeanor offenses stay on your criminal record for life unless you successfully petition the court for those records to be expunged or sealed.
How long is a misdemeanor on your record? A misdemeanor stays on your record for life unless you successfully petition for expungement. Even though misdemeanor offenses are less serious than felonies, they are still serious breaches in the eyes of the law. How long does it take a misdemeanor to go away? Legally speaking, a misdemeanor is on your record for life. However, in some cases, background checks will only go back a certain number of years.