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Law Office of E. Michael Linscheid

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(415) 728-9982

Criminal Records Clearance & Expungement FAQs

A: A pardon reinstates a person with all political and civil rights of citizenship including the right to vote and in most circumstances the right to possess a firearm.
A: Yes. Once a certificate of rehabilitation is granted, the clerk of the court is required to send certified copies of the certificate to the governor as an application for pardon.
A: A certificate of rehabilitation has the benefits of relieving a person of the requirement that they register as a sex offender pursuant to Penal Code Section 290 and a person may not be denied a business or professional license based solely upon their conviction.
A: A certificate of rehabilitation pursuant to Penal Code section 4852.01 et seq. permits those who have been stripped of many of their civil and political rights to seek to have those rights restored once they have demonstrated that they have been sufficiently rehabilitated.
A: Although your conviction may be dismissed, restrictions resulting from the conviction cannot. An expungement does not:
  • Remove the conviction from your criminal history. California and FBI criminal history records will show the conviction and the subsequent dismissal.
  • Seal the court case file from public inspection. The court file remains public record available for public inspection.
  • Reinstate your right to possess firearms. In some cases, reduction of a non-violent felony to a misdemeanor may accomplish this.
  • Relieve you of your duty to register as a sex offender. In some cases, this may be accomplished by way of a certificate of rehabilitation.
  • Allow you to omit the conviction from applications for government-issued licenses. You must disclose your conviction and expungment in your license application.
  • Allow you to omit the conviction from application for government employment. If you are applying for a government job or a job that requires a government-issued license, certificate or permit, you must disclose the conviction and expungment.
  • Allow you to hold public office, if the conviction prevented you from doing so.
  • Prevent the conviction from being used to refuse or revoke a government license or permit, such as real estate license, teaching credential, security guard certificate, etc.
  • Prevent the conviction from being used as a "prior." The dismissed conviction can be used for determining sentencing enhancements in subsequent convictions.
  • Prevent the conviction from being used by the DMV. Expunged convictions may be used to suspend or revoke driving privileges.
A: Once a conviction is expunged, it becomes an arrest that did not result in a conviction. Legally, you may answer "No" when asked if you have a current criminal conviction when applying with a private employer. A background check typically goes back ten (10) years, and employers can see that you had a conviction dismissed. Answering "No" may look dishonest. A better response may be "Yes, expungement granted." When applying for government employment, you must disclose the conviction and expungement.
A: Expungement is limited to cases in which you were sentenced to county jail time, probation, a fine, or a combination of those three. Additionally, the Penal Code permitting expungement of criminal records expressly prohibits certain types of convictions from being dismissed.
A: If you have been convicted of a felony that could have been charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony, you can generally reduce the felony conviction to a misdemeanor. A felony that has been reduced to a misdemeanor can be expunged.
A: In California, when you expunge a conviction pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.4, your plea of guilty or no contest is withdrawn or your conviction after a trial is set aside and a not guilty plea is entered. Once a not guilty plea is entered the court will dismiss your case.
A: Before can order an arrest record sealed, a judge must make a finding that you were "factually innocent" meaning �there was no reasonable cause to arrest".
E. Michael Linscheid, Esq.

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(415) 728-9982

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