“Expunging” a criminal record is the process of asking the court to withdraw or set aside a past conviction in a criminal matter (whether the conviction resulted from a plea bargain or a trial verdict). If the court grants a defendant’s motion to expunge, the court enters a “not guilty” plea and the case is dismissed.
Expungement can be exceptionally important since in most cases it permits a person to truthfully state that they have not suffered a criminal conviction if the question is asked as part of a job application, loan application or in certain other situations where disclosing a criminal conviction could be highly detrimental.
Expungement does, however, have certain limitations:
- Not all past criminal convictions qualify for expungement
- Expungement does not “erase” a criminal conviction – the prior conviction (even though expunged) can still be used against the person in court
- An expunged conviction must still be disclosed if directly asked in certain situations, such as in connection with an application for public office, for licensing by any state or local agency, or for contracting with the California State Lottery
- Expungement does not apply to felony convictions where the defendant served a state prison sentence (but, as explained below, the defendant may be able to seek a Certificate of Rehabilitation).
If you or someone you care about is interested in expunging a past criminal conviction, the criminal defense attorneys at the Weinrieb Law Firm can help. We can be reached twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week at (818) 933-6555.