Having a felony conviction not only creates major obstacles in obtaining employment and owning, possessing, or having access to any type of firearms (PC 12021), but also deprives an individual from exercising certain civil or political rights. Fortunately 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 PC 290.
The law which governs the process of obtaining certification of rehabilitation is stated in PC 4852.01 to 4852.21.
Am I eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation?
In order to be eligible for a certificate of rehabilitation, an individual must be either:
- Convicted of a felony and sentenced to a California State Penal Institution (such as Prison)
- Convicted of a felony and sentenced to probation and the conviction has since been expunged under PC 1203.4
- Convicted of a misdemeanor sex crime under PC 290 and the conviction has since been expunged under PC 1203.4
Additionally, the conviction or incarceration must have been in California and the individual must have lived in California for a minimum of 5 years. And the individual must show that he or she has been released on either probation or parole and has not been incarcerated since that release. Finally, the individual must present proof of a satisfactory period of “rehabilitation” after their release.
How long does it take to get a Certificate of Rehabilitation?
The specific rehabilitation period required depends on the crime of which the defendant was convicted.
10 Years (5 years residency + 5 years of rehabilitation)
Convictions for sex crimes requiring PC 290 registration, except certain PC 311 child porn cases, sexual exploitation of a child cases, and PC 314 indecent exposure cases.
9 Years (5 years residency + 4 years of rehabilitation)
Convictions for murder (PC 187), aggravated kidnapping (PC 209), or acts involving explosives or destructive devices causes death, mayhem or great bodily injury (PC 12310).
7 Years (5 years residency + 2 years of rehabilitation)
Convictions for all other crimes including PC 311 child porn cases, sexual exploitation of a child cases, and PC 314 indecent exposure cases.
This satisfactory period of rehabilitation period starts from the date that an individual was released from custody or was placed on probation or parole.
California Governor’s Pardon
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, schedule a free consultation with one of our professional expungement lawyers today. Our highly experienced attorneys can assist you through the process and increase the chance of having your petition granted successfully.