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What are expungements?

What are expungements?

A conviction does not automatically wash off your record after a certain period of time. You have to expunge your conviction in order for it to be off of your record. Everyone deserve a fresh start after a conviction. California Penal Code 1203.4 allows for a previously convicted person to re-open their case, set aside their guilty plea, and dismiss the case. Your criminal background will no longer indicate a “conviction,” but will reflect a “dismissal” of your case. Having a clean record may greatly enhance your prospects in today’s tough economy.

An expungement is what it sounds like: it is similar to a “delete” button. The law provides that

[Petitioner shall]…be permitted by the court to withdraw his or her plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere and enter a plea of not guilty; or, if he or she has been convicted after a plea of not guilty, the court shall set aside the verdict of guilty; and, in either case, the court shall thereupon dismiss the accusations or information against the defendant and except as noted below, he or she shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she has been convicted, except as provided… (Penal Code section 1203.4)

In other words, it is a legal process whereby one’s “guilty” plea is changed and your case will now be “dismissed.”


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