Having a criminal record adversely impacts your life. Depending on the severity of the convictions, your criminal record can make it difficult for you to find housing, establish relationships and secure some jobs. The fact that you’re living in the technological age where anyone with internet access has the ability to locate your criminal history makes your criminal record even more impactful than it would have been twenty or thirty years ago.
The good news is that with some charges in California, it’s possible to clean up your criminal history and have the charges removed from your history, therefore lessening the negative impact your poor choices have on your future.
The first thing you need to understand is that while it’s possible to have some convictions removed from your criminal history, not all types of convictions are removable. The more serious the offenses, the less likely you’ll be able to get them removed.
The second thing you should understand is that while you may be able to remove some of the convictions from your record, there will remain a history of the court case and investigation so it’s possible that someone who is interested enough to really dig deep into your history will find a trace of your criminal activity.
Expungement is the term used to describe the act of cleaning up your criminal history in California. While many minor offenses are eligible for expungement, if your sentence included you spending time in one of the state prisons, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to clear your record.
You also must have successfully completed every single aspect of your sentencing before expungement even becomes a possibility. That could include serving time in a county jail, performing community service, finishing probation and making restitution.
Once you’ve completed your entire sentence, you can petition the court about getting the charges expunged from your criminal history. It’s important to note that not everyone who files for expungement will have their request granted. However, if the offenses were minor, there’s nothing to show you’re going to be a habitual offender, and you’ve completed your sentence in a timely manner, it’s likely your request will be granted.
The best thing about having your record expunged is that once the process is complete, future employers and landlords won’t find any criminal history when they perform a background check, making them far more likely to accept you for a position on their team or as a tenant.