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Practices - Expungement

Expungement - How to Clear Your Criminal Record

An "expungement" is a funny name for a serious and important legal process, more commonly known as "clearing your record". To "clear your record", a petition for expungement must be made under California Penal Code 1203.4.

What are the benefits of expunging my criminal record?
In the old days, a person's criminal record was primarily visible to law enforcement. Today, technology allows for just about any person with a computer and an Internet connection to run background checks. Anyone from a potential employer, to someone just looking to hire a babysitter for the evening, can search a criminal records database online. With so much more information in the hands of the public, it's more important than ever to keep your criminal record as clean as possible.

At the Law Offices of Pereira & Moffatt, we handle a lot of expungements in Orange County, for people living all across the United States. Primarily, people want expungements because they are searching for a job, and know that employers commonly check criminal records when reviewing files for job applicants. In these tough times, the job market is extremely competitive. If you have a criminal conviction on your record, you are greatly decreasing your chances of being hired! Under California Labor Code 432.7, if your conviction has been expunged, you may truthfully tell an employer that you have not been convicted of a crime. A potential employer may not ask you about arrests that did not lead to conviction, or charges that have resulted in conviction but were subsequently expunged under California Penal Code 1203.4.

Am I eligible for an expungement?
Felonies and misdemeanors can be expunged in California. Here is a quick checklist to determine whether you are eligible to have your conviction expunged:

  1. You must have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor
  2. You must have successfully completed probation
  3. You must not have committed any new crimes while you were on probation
  4. You must not have any current, pending criminal charges
  5. You must not be currently serving a sentence on another criminal offense
  6. You must not have served time in state prison
  7. You must not have been convicted of a sexual offense against a minor

Our expungement attorneys at the Law Offices of Pereira & Moffatt will review your case with you, to examine all the facts of your case and determine whether you are a good candidate for expungement.

I want to become a police officer, but have a criminal record. Can you help me?
Possibly. If you have a misdemeanor conviction and are not prohibited from owning or possessing firearms, the expungement attorneys at the Law Offices of Pereira & Moffatt may be able to help you.

Under Government Code section 1029, a person who has been convicted of a felony cannot become a police officer in California. However, if you have been convicted of a felony, it may be possible to reduce that felony to a misdemeanor, and then have the misdemeanor expunged. Contact our office for more information.

It is also important to consider whether you are prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm – you must be able to legally possess a firearm to become a police officer, and expungements in California do not affect gun rights.

I went to purchase a firearm, but was told that I am not eligible to own a firearm. Will an expungement restore my right to own a gun?
No. Felons cannot own firearms, however it may be possible to reduce your felony to a misdemeanor and restore your right to own a firearm.

Violent misdemeanor convictions carry a 10-year ban on owning or possessing firearms. Expunging these convictions will not affect eligibility for firearms ownership.

Under the Lautenberg Amendment to the Violence Against Women Act, those who have been convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence charges are prohibited from owning or possessing firearms for life. This is a federal law, and expunging these types of misdemeanor charges will not affect eligibility for firearms ownership.

For more information on your gun rights, please visit our page here.

How long does the process of expungement take?
Without an attorney, it can take several months. Our expungement attorneys are experienced at fast-tracking Orange County expungements to take far less time, typically less than a month. If our expungement attorneys determine that a motion should be filed and argued before a judge, we can set a date for that motion to be heard typically the same week. You'll find that some attorneys charge more money to get faster results. At the Law Offices of Pereira & Moffatt, we think that's unfair to our clients. We promise to deliver the best results possible, as fast as possible, for a low flat fee.

What happens after my conviction is expunged?
You will receive paperwork from the court. In a matter of days, the California courts will update their computer records. Within a month, California Department of Justice will update their computer records. Then, information databases used by online criminal records searches will be updated automatically. You won't have to do anything.

Will anyone still be able to see my expunged convictions?
Your typical commercial criminal records search, commonly used by employers, will not show expunged convictions. Your CA Department of Justice Criminal Record, or "rap sheet" as it's commonly known, will show a charge and a finding of "not guilty". This is the criminal record that is reviewed by police departments, the military, and some professional organizations such as the California State Bar. However, the majority of employers in the private sector (non-government) will not be able to see any conviction, or even any charges, once the expungement has been processed.

Are there court costs associated with expungements?
Yes. There is a fee charged by the court when filing for an expungement, which is typically $120 in Orange County. That fee is paid to the court, and is not included in the fee charged by our expungement attorneys.

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