Experienced San Mateo County Expungement Attorney
Simply defined, an expungement proceeding is one in which a first-time offender files a suit seeking relief from “all penalties and disabilities” arising from his or her conviction. In addition to helping someone procure future employment, expungements are also beneficial for securing or maintaining California licensure, as well as membership to various professional organizations. In other words, expungements can provide a new start from an otherwise checkered past.
Generally speaking, California residents are eligible to have their records expunged — regardless of whether the offense was a misdemeanor or felony — as long as they have completed probation and are not currently facing criminal charges. Successfully completing a probationary period requires the full payment of any fines and/or restitution, as well as participation in any and all counseling programs and community service pursuant to the terms put forth by the court.
Expungement and Discrimination
In addition to helping California residents secure employment, expungement can also assist with the awarding of state licenses, including contractor’s and real estate licenses, as well as with gaining admission into various professional organizations throughout the state. Additionally, employers are barred from discriminating against a potential employee based on his or her involvement in any arrest that did not result in a conviction. Employers are also prohibited from discriminating against potential employees based on his or her having expunged a criminal conviction from their record.
Expungement and Immigration
Perhaps most importantly, expungement can help foreign residents potentially avoid deportation and/or denial of naturalization. Keep in mind that this does not guarantee protection against the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction, but it can certainly help. Indeed, Ninth Circuit law has found that an expungement following a simple first-time drug offense can often help an immigrant avoid mandatory removal and loss of immigration benefits.