All ex-offenders within the state of California are encouraged to seek information on California expungement law guidelines. This information could prove to be vital in facilitating a seamless rehabilitation process.
Expungement refers to the removal of a criminal record from an individual’s personal record. As a result, all agencies bearing a copy of the records of said individual would have to get rid of them. These agencies would include the county sheriff’s office, the related court and the databases of the state authorities as well. For all ex-offenders having their records expunged essentially gives them a clean slate and the freedom to pursue avenues of self-advancement.
In accordance with the law, criminal records are public records therefore any interested party who executes a free criminal background check would be able to gain access to the related documents for a particular offender. What expungement does for that individual is allow the findings of a search to be scot-free and allows said individual to legally deny that the offense ever occurred.
Notably, for the state of California not every conviction is qualified for expungement. Other offenses that are not eligible for conviction are:
- Sex crimes
This goes not only for this state but all others across the US as well. Any offense involving sexual assault or sexual battery is forever affixed to the record of the offender.
- Certain alcohol-related convictions
Depending on the severity of the incident and the number of times the individual was convicted these categories of crimes cannot be expunged.
- Murder or manslaughter
This is arguably a “no brainier” but there is no state that would allow a convicted murderer to remove that offense from their personal files.
- Crimes involving children
In most instances these offenses are sex-related, however any form of convicted assault on a child would be a permanent fixture on the offender’s criminal history.
- Violent crimes
Violent felonies are not qualified for removal according to the state’s law.
In addition to the offenses that cannot be cleared, there are limitations related to the specific individuals as well. The most recognizable of these is the fact that convicted individuals who were sent to state prison are automatically ruled out of the expungement process. All ex-offenders are advised to determine their eligibility for expungement, as having the record is the only way to guarantee that a background check will turn up an unblemished past.
Here are the qualifying factors for expungement of California criminal records:
- The ex-offender was convicted of only one misdemeanor or felony
- The completion of the probation period as well as the compliance with all the other conditions associated with the terms of the sentence
- There are no pending arrests or convictions against the applicant
- All fines and/or court restitution have been paid
In some instances a period of 12 months has to be elapsed before an ex-offender can apply for the process. Notably, applying for the records to be removed does not equate to an automatic approval for the provision. The case will have to be tried by the judge who will ultimately decide on whether or not to grant the authorization of expungement. Investigation into the California law of expungement would reveal all of this and more.
In applying for the process offenders are advised to obtain a copy of their criminal record from the related agencies. Under the Freedom to Information Act this provision is a right given to all US citizens. This would allow them to accurately place all the relevant details on their applicant form, ensuring that they position themselves in a prime position to have the judge rule in their favor. Documents bearing proof of rehabilitation and community service completion and character reference letters from current employers can also boost an ex-convicts chance to be granted a fresh start.
Taking into consideration the information listed above, the only factor hampering a qualified ex-offender from having an expunged record is themselves. With the knowledge that it is possible, there should be nothing to hold him/her back from getting a clean slate and re-positioning themselves to acquire certain desired advances.
Employment opportunities, loan grants and even housing inquiries can all be hampered by the presence of a criminal record. Though the rehabilitation process may be complete, the related organizations with which the ex-offenders would want to integrate would still be hesitant or deliberately against allowing the process. As outlined above, expunging a record allows all approved individuals to legally deny that the offense was over committed. Given the harsh economic climate facing the country at present, any desired advances would be more readily achieved with a clean slate versus a tarnished one.
Aside from external entities, removing a record can provide huge relief for an ex-offender. Whether or not there are desires to acquire opportunities for advancement, there is simply a greater level of comfort with the knowledge that the records that are being stored on them by the relevant authorities are of great repute.