Those who are convicted of a crime often face consequences that last far beyond the sentence they receive. Whether it’s immigration, employment or social consequences, for some, the punishment that comes along with a conviction is less concerning than the lifetime of limitations they face. An expungement gives individuals with a criminal record a fresh start. However, there are also other post-conviction remedies that can have the same effect. Attorney Melanie Killedjian with the Killedjian Law Corporation has more than 20 years of experience helping her clients wipe their records clean so they can move on with their lives without the burdens of a criminal conviction. As a respected Los Angeles criminal defense attorney for more than 20 years, she’s developed positive relationships with prosecutors and judges, giving her the unique ability to persuasively advocate on behalf of her clients where other attorneys fail.What Is an Expungement?
An expungement is a legal mechanism that allows someone who has previously been convicted of a crime to “be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which they have been convicted.” While there are many potential benefits of obtaining an expungement, one of the most important is that, after your record is expunged, you do not need to disclose the conviction to a potential employer.Who Is Eligible for a California Expungement?
For decades, California Penal Code § 1203.4 permitted anyone convicted of a felony or misdemeanor to file for an expungement if:
- You successfully completed a sentence of probation; and
- You did not serve time in state prison.
However, under the recently passed SB 731, the California Legislature opened up the possibility of expungement for many individuals who previously couldn’t qualify. More specifically, SB 731 permits anyone convicted of a felony or misdemeanor to obtain an expungement as long as their conviction did not require they register as a sex offender. This effectively eliminates the prior prohibition for those who served their sentence in state prison. SB 731 also permits those who did not successfully complete probation to obtain an expungement. What’s more, the expungement process under SB 731 is supposed to be automatic, meaning you shouldn’t need to file anything in court to have your record expunged.Limitations of an Expungement
While an expungement eliminates virtually all the “penalties and disabilities” stemming from a conviction, there are a few things that expungements won’t do. Primarily, an expungement won’t reverse the effect of certain collateral (non-criminal) consequences of your conviction, such as:
- Sex offender registration requirements,
- Driver’s license revocations, and
- An inability to purchase a firearm if you have a felon in possession
Alternatives to an Expungement
Additionally, courts can still use an expunged conviction to enhance your sentence if you are subsequently arrested. Further, even an expunged conviction can be used by immigration authorities to deny naturalization or to initiate deportation proceedings. For example, an expunged violent crime that classifies as a strike will still be considered a strike prior if you are arrested in the future.
Historically, California had some of the harshest criminal laws in the country. However, over the past decade, the general consensus is that this was an overreaction, and more recently, California lawmakers have been on the cutting edge of criminal justice reform. Thus, there are now procedural mechanisms that allow you to petition the court to set aside a guilty verdict and dismiss the case. While there are limitations to expungements, such as in the immigration context, those same limitations may not apply to other forms of post-conviction relief.
Of course, in practice, judges give a lot of deference to district attorneys’ positions. Thus, one alternative to an expungement is to obtain the district attorney’s agreement that dismissal is appropriate.
In many cases, Attorney Melanie Killedjian has successfully obtained the district attorney’s recommendation for dismissal. She works closely with her clients to create a compelling narrative, explaining why it is in the interests of justice to allow her clients to be free from the burdens of a conviction.If You Are Looking for a Fresh Start, Reach Out to the Killedjian Law Corporation to Learn More About Your Expungement Options
A criminal conviction from years ago does not reflect who you are today. Yet, it continues to impact your life. It is important to know that you have options. At the Killedjian Law Corporation, we proudly help individuals who have changed their lives since their conviction and are looking for a clean slate. Whether it is pursuing an expungement or one of the many alternatives, Melanie Killedjian can help you make a case as to why your record should be wiped clean. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Melanie Killedjian at the Killedjian Law Corporation, call (818) 986-0888 today. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.