What happens to my record when I do a “record clearance” or “expungement?”
In California, when you expunge your record, your plea of guilty or no-contest is set aside by a judge. A new plea of “not guilty” is entered into the record and the the judge will then dismiss your case.
A person whose conviction is expunged can lawfully answer “no” if asked whether he or she has been convicted of a crime. Also, the California Code of Regulations says an employer cannot even ask a job applicant about an expunged misdemeanor conviction. An employer may still inquire about an expunged felony conviction.
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Several years ago when I was younger I was convicted of an offense. Will that prior record still show up on an employer’s’ background check now when I apply for a job?
Yes. Criminal records are maintained indefinitely. Criminal records do not automatically go away or “drop off” after a certain amount of time.
Almost every employer does a background check before hiring an applicant. How thorough that background check is varies depending on the company. Bottom line, you should assume that your criminal history will show up on any background check unless you take legal action.
I was arrested but no charges were ever filed. However, the arrest itself keeps popping up on my background check. Is there any way to seal my arrest record so it doesn’t impact my chances at future employment?
If you were arrested, but the prosecutor never filed criminal charges you are entitled to ask for your arrest record to be sealed by filing what is known as a “Petition for Factual Innocence.” This type of motion is sometimes called a “Motion to Seal Arrest Record.”
You are also eligible to file this motion if you had your case dismissed in court or were acquitted by a jury trial. If successful, this motion will seal your arrest record so that it does not show up on future background checks. It’s as if the case never happened.
These motions can be difficult to win. They also require a great deal of expertise to handle them correctly. Therefore many law firms do not handle these cases. However, VIB Law is not only familiar with these motions but files them often and wins them.
2018 UPDATE: A new law took effect on January 1, 2018 that makes this entire process dramatically easier. Read this article to learn more.
I have a felony on my record. Is it possible to restore my right to own a firearm?
Gun ownership is a right, but that right can be taken away if you are convicted of a felony. This can have a serious impact if you carry a gun for work, for protection or simply for recreational purposes.
Restoring your right to own, possess or purchase a firearm can be a complicated process. Under state law you must first reduce your felony conviction to a misdemeanor. This is accomplished by filing a section 17(b) motion to reduce your conviction to a misdemeanor. This motion will only be granted, however, if your conviction meets certain criteria.
First, the crime you were convicted of must be a “wobbler.” A wobbler is an offense that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. Not every crime is a wobbler, and our attorneys can help you determine whether your offense qualifies.
Second, in addition to the offense being a wobbler, you must have received probation.
Finally, the judge must decide if your case is an appropriate one to be reduced. For example, the judge may look at how serious the charge was, how long ago it took place and what efforts you have made to lead a law abiding life since you were convicted.
It is important to remember that the law on when you may possess a firearm are very complicated. It’s best to go over these issues with your attorney.