For Californians, the most beneficial aspect of expungement of a criminal record is that it can improve your chances of finding a job, despite a past criminal conviction. In 2021, almost every employer performs a background check of any job applicant. A background check typically shows the arrests, convictions, and probation status of the job applicant. Most employers follow up this routine by asking the applicant if he or she has ever been convicted of a crime.
In 2013, Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 530 into law which made a California expungement more effective. SB 530 mandated that employers may not ask a job applicant to disclose information about a past conviction that has been judicially dismissed through an expungement.
Before the enactment of SB 530, an expungement in California allowed a person to deny the existence of the conviction in most circumstances. However, if an employer gained any knowledge of the past criminal matter, there were no legal barriers to the employer discriminating against that applicant because of the conviction, despite being expunged. California Labor Code § 432.7 LC previously only prohibited an employer from asking a job applicant to disclose information concerning an arrest for which the applicant was not convicted.
Senate Bill 530 revised and expanded section 432.7 to prohibit employers from asking job applicants to disclose information related to a conviction that has been expunged or sealed under California law, including, but not limited to, Section 1203.4 et seq of the Penal Code. Employers also may not seek any record about a conviction that has been expunged or sealed from any source.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, § 432.7 prohibits employers from considering an expunged or sealed conviction to determine any employment condition, including hiring, promotion, or termination. Thus, a primary advantage of an expungement through California § 1203.4 PC is that applicants for employment may legally answer “no” if asked whether they have ever been convicted of a crime.
Note that there are some exceptions under California law to these mandates. The law allows an employer to ask applicants to disclose an expunged conviction and to consider the expunged conviction when determining employment if:
(1) California or federal law requires the employer to obtain that information;
(2) the applicant is required to possess or use a firearm in the course of employment;
(3) the law prohibits individuals who have been convicted of a crime from holding the job that the applicant is seeking, regardless of whether that conviction has been judicially dismissed following probation, expunged, sealed, or dismissed under statute; or
(4) California or federal law prohibits the employer from hiring applicants who have been convicted of crimes.
An expungement under § 1203.4 PC also provides important benefits to Californians who apply for state professional licenses. However, even after an expungement individuals must still disclose the conviction in response to any question posed in an application for a state license or application for public office.
However, many state licensing agencies are much more likely to grant a state license to anyone who has had a conviction expunged. These agencies will also tend to favor the applicants who have completed probation and received an expungement of the conviction.
The Dolan Law Offices can answer your questions and provide valuable advice and service if you have been charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. John Patrick Dolan has forty years of criminal defense experience. Contact Dolan Law Offices today at 760-775-3739 or 562-824-4007 to discuss your situation or find out more online here.