How to Get Your Criminal Record Sealed in California

There is a common misconception that a criminal conviction is a black cloud that hovers over one’s head for the remainder of his or her life. However, the truth is it is possible to put a criminal conviction in the past through a sealing of one’s criminal record. If you have been found guilty of a crime, it is in your interest to do everything in your power to seal your criminal record. Here’s how to do it and why it is so important.

Recognize the Importance of Leaving Your Conviction in the Past

Seal your criminal record as soon as possible and you will have finally put your criminal collection where it belongs – in the past. Fail to seal your criminal record and you run the risk of being passed over for loans, an apartment lease, employment and additional opportunities. The last thing you need is prolonged unemployment that prevents you from living life to the fullest. The solution is to have your criminal record sealed with the assistance of an attorney.

Sealing a Record Without a Conviction

Arrests are listed on one’s record regardless of whether they result in a conviction. Unfortunately, it is possible for such a charge to be accessed without the individual’s knowledge. It is a grave injustice that you will face negative consequences for an arrest if that arrest was determined to be unjustified, motivated by profiling or unlawful. Thankfully, an attorney can help seal your criminal record.

If it can be proven that you are factually innocent, meaning there was no justifiable reason to arrest you, the charges can be removed from your record. However, this challenge might require the citing of the actual criminal’s conviction, providing evidence that profiling occurred or showing the police that performed the arrest did so in an unlawful manner.

If you were charged with a crime yet were not convicted, it is still possible to seal your record. As an example, consider a situation in which you are charged yet the statute of limitations runs out on the charges prior to conviction for the supposed crimes. At this point, you can request that your record be sealed. Alternatively, if the charges were acquitted, the record of the arrest as well as charges can be removed as you were determined to be not guilty.

Sealing a Record After a Conviction

If your conviction was subsequently reversed, it is still possible to have your record sealed. An attorney will prove vitally important in reversing the conviction and also sealing your record. However, if the conviction is not reversed, there is no reason to lose hope. It is still possible to seal your record in the aftermath of a conviction. The process necessary to seal a record after a conviction is different than that following a conviction yet an experienced attorney will embrace this somewhat complicated challenge.

An individual convicted of a crime who completes probation rather than being sentenced to jail or prison can have his or her record sealed. However, probation must be completed to the court’s satisfaction. If this is the case, it is prudent to file to have the record sealed. The only caveat is the individual cannot be serving time for a separate offense at the time of the application to have the record sealed.

If the terms of the sentence are complete, the record can be sealed even if there is a jail or prison sentence. The catch is that every single term of the punishment must be fulfilled including the period for parole, fines, payment of restitution, etc. Once the terms agreed to are met, another year must pass in order to file an application. During this time, an arrest or conviction for another crime cannot take place.

Finally, if you enroll in a diversion program and complete it in full, the court might determine you are worthy of having your record sealed. The logic in this stance is that diversion programs rehabilitate offenders to the point that they are deserving of re-entering society with a sealed record.