How To Expunge A Criminal Record In California

A criminal record can haunt you for the rest of your life. Even a minor offense can make it difficult for you to land your dream job, build a successful relationship, obtain business licenses, and even be approved for loans. The problem is that many people find out that you have a record and automatically assume that you’re in trouble. Many people fail to look any deeper into the situation. Arranging to have your criminal record expunged is one of the ways you can regain control of your life.

Difference Between Expunged Criminal Record And A Case Dismissal

It is important to know that there is a huge difference between having a criminal record expunged as opposed to a case dismissal in California.

What Is A Dismissal In California?

Having your case dismissed is the best possible thing that can happen to you. A case dismissal means that either the prosecutor or a judge looked at the details surrounding your case and decided to completely drop the charges.

Reasons for a case dismissal include:

  • Lack of evidence against you.
  • A failure to follow proper arrest/investigation procedures.
  • A Fourth Amendment violation.
  • Inadmissible testimony.

While your criminal record will show you were charged by the police, your dismissed case won’t appear on background checks run by potential employers and creditors. They can’t hold the dismissed case against you, though it’s possible that they will ask you about the arrest.

What Is An Expunged Case In California?

Expungement is different from a dismissal. When you’re case is expunged, all traces of it are removed from your record. When a background check is run on you, it will show no evidence that you were even talked to by the police, much less charged with anything.

It’s important to remember that when you have a case expunged from your record, it only applies to that case. If other charges were filed against you at some point, they remain on your record.

In some situations, it is possible to expunge your entire criminal record.