Erasing The Past – Can a Criminal Defense Lawyer Help Clear My Record?
A criminal record in the state of California is like a permanent stain on your name and reputation, the effects of which can influence your personal and professional life in dramatic ways. It can often hinder your employment prospects, prevent you form obtaining certain professional licenses, block affiliation with some organizations, and can even be used against you in any future and unrelated court proceedings. Thus, for anyone who has been convicted of a crime in the state, the benefits of wiping their record clean, can be profound. So, is it possible to have one’s criminal history expunged in California, and is so, who can assist in this endeavor?
The first step towards deciding whether you’re a candidate for applying to have your record cleared, is to determine what, if anything appears on it. This may be simple enough if you’ve recently been to court, or have served a custodial or suspended sentence. Unsure of the exact and visible details of your criminal history, you can apply for a background check online. If you decide there are details on your record that would be better unseen, or you would just like the personal satisfaction of having your record cleared, the best action is to engage the services of a criminal law firm experienced in the handling of expungement cases in California. While The California Courts online portal offers a self-help guide to cleaning your criminal record and addresses some common queries, it also advises consultation with an attorney due to the complex nature of Californian law. The site clarifies that although true expungement does not exist in the state, it is possible to reduce the impact of your criminal record through court proceedings. Your best chance of achieving this is via the services of a reputable and trusted legal representative with proven experience in the area.
A question that often emerges is whether or not a person can seek the expungement of a conviction for which a prison sentence was served. This is a complicated matter, again best handled by an attorney, as the exact circumstances and nature of the conviction will bear heavily on the result. Proposition 47, which like many legislations is evolving rather than static, recently reclassified certain felonies as misdemeanors, meaning they were downgraded to being regarded as less serious crimes. This could mean that a conviction which resulted in a prison term may no longer be considered a misdemeanor and thus open to application for expungement from a person’s criminal record. An example of this is found in additional legislation, Proposition 64, which reduced certain marijuana related offences from felonies to misdemeanors. In all instances, the individual nature of the charges laid against you and the resulting punishment, are complicated matters best handled by an attorney.
You can search for an expungement attorney Los Angeles, or in any other nominated area, and access other relevant information at sites such as this one. And remember, the reputation of your chosen criminal defense attorney, and their track record, matters as much as your own reputation which you’re hoping to recover.