Benefits of Cleaning Up Criminal Records Through Post-conviction Relief

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Benefits of Cleaning Up Criminal Records Through Post-conviction Relief

If you’ve paid your debt to society after a California criminal conviction with fines, jail time, or the successful completion of probation, clearing your criminal record with post-conviction relief can open doors to employment, professional licenses, education, and perhaps most importantly, achieving peace of mind. The knowledgeable California defense lawyers of The Kavinoky Law Firm will explore every option to clean up your criminal record and help you to make a fresh start.

California passed new legislation that impacts expungement of criminal cases. As of Jan. 1, 2008, you must have a formal hearing to let a judge decide whether expunging your conviction serves the best interests of society and justice. In the past, you could have certain convictions expunged simply by meeting certain requirements, but that’s no longer the case.

However, expunging your California criminal conviction is still entirely possible. Depending on the case and the circumstances, post-conviction relief can result in having your case dismissed even if you were convicted by a jury or pled guilty. If the case is dismissed, then it is treated as though it never occurred. However, post-conviction relief options are not an eraser – the law provides specific circumstances in which the offense must be disclosed, even after the judge grants relief.

Still, disclosing a prior offense that has since been expunged or otherwise forgiven by a judge is extremely beneficial from both a practical and psychological point of view. Practically speaking, if a judge ruled in your favor, it’s going to hold a lot of weight. Psychologically, you have the confidence that your prior offense was dismissed, so you won’t be embarrassed to discuss your past. Effectively, in situations requiring disclosure, post-conviction relief distances one from the negative implications of the prior offense.

If you or someone you know has a California criminal conviction and is applying for a job, educational institution or professional license, it’s important to talk with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Even if the circumstances require disclosure, a skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to help you turn a potentially negative experience into a positive learning experience.

In some ways, criminal records are like a credit report – certain marks such as some drug offenses will automatically be purged after a period of time. Others require approval by a judge.

The benefits of cleaning up your criminal record can alleviate many negative consequences associated with the offense. Post-conviction relief can limit the impact prior convictions have on current and future employment. For example, there are specific instances where an individual may lawfully state that they were not convicted of a prior offense if the offense was later expunged.

Similarly, post-conviction relief can also provide important access to California professional licenses and/or certifications. Professional licensure programs are regulated by the state and require disclosure of any prior conviction. But many state professional licensing boards will grant professional licensures for expunged offenses. The same is true of certain educational or advanced career training programs. Some programs will refuse admittance until prior offenses are dismissed or vacated.

If you or someone you care about is interested in cleaning up a criminal history, please contact an experienced California criminal defense attorney from The Kavinoky Law Firm. We are skilled in post-conviction relief and can provide detailed information on this process.