San Diego Expungement Attorney
The experienced San Diego expungement lawyer at the Law Firm of George H. Ramos, Jr. offers clients criminal expungement services in San Diego and surrounding Southern California counties.
Why You Should Hire a San Diego Expungement Attorney
Although online and other resources exist for people with misdemeanor or felony convictions to request record expungement without legal representation, it is generally in your best interest to hire an expungement attorney in San Diego. An expungement lawyer can do many things you can’t. An experienced lawyer can use his or her connections with local judges and courthouses to your advantage.
Hiring a qualified San Diego criminal defense lawyer can significantly increase your odds of a successful expungement, instead of wasting time and money on a failed attempt. Enjoy the following benefits when you hire a San Diego expungement lawyer:
Determine your eligibility
Not everyone will qualify for an expungement in California. You must meet specific eligibility requirements and fulfill certain duties before the San Diego courts will agree to expunge your record. Working with an experienced San Diego expungement lawyer can help you understand your eligibility or what you need to do to qualify for expungement.
The expungement process often requires more than one court hearing, multiple documentation requests, lengthy filing requirements, waiting times, and more. Unless you have the time and patience to deal with all the red tape, hire a San Diego expungement lawyer to do the legwork for expungement for you.
Avoid going to court
Your San Diego expungement attorney will attend hearings and court appearances for you – removing the burden of going to trial from your shoulders. You can have peace of mind knowing that your lawyer is handling your case effectively while you wait at home.
Improve your odds of a successful expungement
Record expungement is not a right or a guarantee. It is a privilege the convicted individual must fight to obtain through the proper legal channels. You will need to prove your eligibility. Minimize your odds of a declined request by using a lawyer to argue your case in court.
Refile your request, if necessary
A lawyer will follow up with you after your initial expungement attempt if it was unsuccessful, helping you refile once you fulfill all requirements. A dedicated defense attorney will work hard to clear your name and expunge your criminal record.
A San Diego expungement attorney can take care of virtually all paperwork and processes of your case for you. While you go to work, look for housing, or spend time with your family, your attorney will handle document filling out and filing on your behalf. Your lawyer will also greatly improve your odds of a successful record expungement – giving you back your life. If you want to achieve expungement the first time around, hire a lawyer.
Why Choose the Law Firm of George H. Ramos, Jr.?
If you know hiring a San Diego expungement attorney is right for you, your next step is to find the ideal lawyer. You need to partner with a firm that prioritizes people, not profits. At the Law Firm of George H. Ramos, Jr., we’ve proven our commitment to clients repeatedly over the last 20 years of criminal experience.
Our San Diego expungement lawyers don’t use templates or a cookie-cutter approach to criminal defense. We tailor our services specifically for each client. That’s the only way to obtain the best possible case outcomes for everyone. View our testimonials to see how well we fulfill our clients’ needs.
Record expungement can give you back your life, improve career opportunities, and help you move on. If you know you want expungement, find the right fit for your legal team. The ideal lawyer can make the entire process simple, affordable, and rewarding. We know we’re the right firm for you. No matter what conviction mars your criminal record, find out if we can help with a smart expungement strategy. Call (619) 550-4970 to discuss your case and expungement needs today. Case reviews are always free.
Having an Arrest Record Sealed and Deleted
Anyone with a criminal record in California seeking a complete deletion of the record must apply for the sealing process in the California court system. Sealing is only possible under certain conditions for certain types of offenses, such as when an individual has a record of an arrest that did not lead to any accusatory filings or formal charges.
New Laws for Automatic Record Deletion
California Senate Bill 393 recently went into effect, granting California courts permission to delete criminal records that meet certain criteria automatically, without the need for an individual with a record to formally apply for deletion. Once sealed, these records no longer appear on criminal background checks except those conducted by law enforcement.
The logic behind this new bill is to prevent individuals from suffering adverse consequences for a criminal record including arrests but no formal charges or conviction and to help those proved factually innocent remove the worry of an unjust criminal record causing problems later in life.
The new bill does not apply to every criminal offense, however. Some offenses do not qualify for automatic sealing. Individuals with a record of elder abuse, domestic violence, or child abuse should expect their records to remain publicly accessible without specific approval for sealing from a judge.
If a record does not qualify for automatic sealing, the individual with the record must complete a Petition for Factual Innocence to prove to the court there is no reasonable suspicion he or she committed the crime contained in the record. Individuals who must go this route must do so within two years of the arrest.
California Penal Code for Expungement and Sealing
Bill 393 is now codified into California Penal Code Section 851.8, the section of the Code pertaining to record expungement and sealing.
- Records pertaining to an arrest resulting in no formal criminal charges qualify for sealing under the provisions of the revised code.
- If a record contains any filed charges that a judge later dismissed, the record qualifies for automatic sealing.
- Records for cases leading to dropped or dismissed charges also qualify for automatic deletion.
- If a convicted individual successfully appeals for an overturning on the conviction due to the late discovery of exculpatory evidence, the record qualifies for sealing after a judge has overturned the decision.
- Some individuals may have the opportunity to complete a diversionary program or alternative sentencing to avoid harsher penalties, such as a drug diversion program. After completing such a program, the individual’s record likely qualifies for sealing.
It is vital to remember that securing a record sealing under California Penal Code Section 851 will remove the record from most criminal background checks. If you secure a record sealing and then the police arrest you for a suspected offense in the future, your sealed arrest record will still appear when they perform a background check on you.
Completing a Petition for Factual Innocence
Facing a false accusation of a crime is a serious matter. Simply overcoming the charges and avoiding conviction is the first step; the individual will still face future problems due to the existence of an arrest record or any criminal record that does not qualify for automatic sealing under Bill 393. It is often necessary to prove factual innocence to have a record completely sealed.
To secure a record sealing for factual innocence, the individual must prove he or she is indeed factually innocent. This could require a ruling from a judge hearing a conviction appeal or evidence that indicates there are no reasonable grounds to suspect the individual committed the crime in question.
A successful petition for sealing and deletion means the arrest record disappears from the public record. All documents and evidence related to the arrest qualify for destruction. The arrest record will also be removed from the public record and will no longer appear in background checks. Essentially, a successful deletion means in the eyes of the court the arrest never occurred.
What is an expungement?
An expungement is a legal process that petitions the Court to review a conviction to determine:
- If probation was successfully completed, or, if no probation was granted, a year has passed since the conviction;
- That all fines, restitution and reimbursement ordered by the court has been paid;
- That the petitioner is not now on probation for another offense;
- That the petitioner has no new pending cases.
The Court then allows the petitioner to withdraw their plea or finding of guilt, and orders the case dismissed
How does an expungement help me?
Expungement law (Penal Code Section 1203.4) provides in part:
“[Petitioner shall]…be permitted by the court to withdraw his or her plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere and enter a plea of not guilty; or, if he or she has been convicted after a plea of not guilty, the court shall set aside the verdict of guilty; and, in either case, the court shall thereupon dismiss the accusations or information against the defendant and except as noted below, he or she shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she has been convicted, except as provided…” (Emphasis added)
What about applying for jobs?
If Private Employers ask if you have ever been convicted of a crime, you can respond with “NO.”
On questions by Government Employers or Government Licensing Applications if you are asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime, you must disclose the expunged case. However, you should disclose that the conviction has been expunged in the “explanation/further details” section on the application.
What doesn’t an expungement do?
- You will not be allowed to own or possess a firearm until you would otherwise be able to do so.
- Your dismissed conviction can still be used to increase your punishment in future criminal cases, if the offense is “priorable”- such as a DUI or theft offense.
- An expungement will not relieve you of your duty to register as a sex offender.
Does this erase all records and destroy the court file?
No. An expungement changes and updates the disposition of the case to reflect a dismissal under 1203.4 of the Penal Code. This means the Court file, the California Department of Justice, and the FBI update their files to show the case has been ordered dismissed by the Court.
Will I need to go to court?
No. Our San Diego defense lawyer can usually handle all Court appearances for you.
How long does an expungement take?
- Misdemeanors: Most expungements for misdemeanors take between 4 to 6weeks to complete from the time the application is filed. This does not include the time needed to research all records and process the application. The more prepared you are as to the information needed, the quicker the application can be processed. If it is necessary to search the court records for information, it may take additional time.
- Felony Expungements And Felony Reductions To Misdemeanors: Most expungements of felony convictions generally take 6 to 8 weeks to complete from the time the application is filed. Some felonies that cannot be expunged can be reduced to misdemeanors; this process also takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks. Again, this is based upon receipt of all of the pertinent information by our office. A court search of records for information will take significantly longer.
- Sealing Of Juvenile Records: The average time required to have the records of a juvenile sealed, depending upon information received and court location, is 4 to 6 weeks.
Why expunge my record? Why spend the money?
There are a number of reasons to do so such as employment or licensing. However, at least half our clients want to expunge their record as final “closure” for peace of mind. If you want a charge off your record, our San Diego expungement lawyer may be able to help.
If you have questions regarding expungements, contact us today for a free consultation. Our San Diego lawyers speak both English and Spanish. We are available to take appointments days, evenings, and weekends. We accept all major credit cards.