Having a felony conviction not only creates major obstacles in obtaining employment and owning , possessing, or having access to any type of firearms ( California Penal Code section 12021), but also deprives an individual from exercising certain civil or political rights. But the good news is in California, a person who has been convicted of a felony, does not have to carry the burden of conviction forever.
A Certificate of Rehabilitation is “a court order stating that an individual with prior felony conviction or misdemeanor sex crimes in California is now has been rehabilitated.” Once a certificate of rehabilitation is granted, it serves as an automatic application for Governor’s pardon. Furthermore, a certificate of rehabilitation may relieve sex offender registration requirement under California Penal Code 290. The law which governs the process of obtaining certification of rehabilitation is stated in California Penal Code 4852.01 to 4852.21
In order to be eligible for a certificate of rehabilitation, an individual must be either convicted of a felony, or a misdemeanor sex crime under California Penal Code Section 290. The conviction or incarceration must have been in California and the individual must have lived in California for the minimum of five years (Under California Penal Code Section 4852.01(a) if the release from custody or placement on parole is prior to May 13, 1943 proof of residency is three years immediately prior to filing your petition for a certificate of rehabilitation). The individual must show that he or she has been released on either probation or Parole and has not been incarcerated since the release. Furthermore, an individual must present proof of satisfactory period of rehabilitation.
The satisfactory period of rehabilitation starts from the date that an individual is released from custody or was placed on probation or parole. This period includes five years that the individual resided in California plus an additional four years if the conviction was for murder ( Penal Code Section 187), aggravated kidnapping ( Penal Code 209), or acts involving explosives or destructive devices causes death, mayhem or great bodily injury ( Penal Code 12310).
If a person is eligible for a certification of rehabilitation, he or she may file a petition with the superior court in the area that an individual resides. Upon receipt of the petition, the court sets a hearing date in which the judge will consider all evidence for or against granting the petition. If the petition is granted, the court will forward the certificate to the California governor’s office which becomes an application for pardon.
The process to obtain a certification of rehabilitation is lengthy and complex. If you are looking to obtain a California Certificate of Rehabilitation or have further questions, please contact us at the law offices of Valencia, Ippolito and Bowman. Our highly experienced attorneys can assist you through the process and increase the chance of having your petition granted successfully.
- California Penal Code 4852.01
- California Penal Code 4852.03(a)