In California, an arrest, even if no charges were ever filed, may appear on a person’s record. Later, this may negatively affect that person by causing the loss of a job opportunity. An expungement allows a job applicant the right to answer “No,” if asked by private employers whether they have ever been convicted of the expunged crime. People often ask whether an attorney is needed to expunge a conviction.

An expungement is a post-conviction mechanism available under California law, specifically, California Penal Code § 1203.4. Under this law, an expungement releases an individual from virtually “all penalties and disabilities” arising out of a conviction.

An expungement provides benefits related to employment, immigration, and even a person’s credibility as a witness. Expunged convictions may not be used to impeach a person’s credibility when he or she testifies as a witness in court. (However, the conviction may be used for impeachment purposes if the individual whose conviction was expunged is the defendant in the case.)

Employers may not discriminate against a job applicant based on expunged convictions. An expunged conviction may make it easier to obtain a professional license. An expungement may also help a petitioner avoid some immigration consequences such as deportation.

Sadly, many people who have tried to expunge their convictions without an attorney’s assistance complain that they have been unsuccessful, often with little or no explanation from the State of California. Unfortunately, not every prosecutor and judge correctly understands California’s expungement law.

At times, it is necessary to provide education and guidance to those who represent the State of California, especially when the prosecution’s objection to an expungement may have only a shred of legal merit if any. In this situation, an individual representing himself or herself without an attorney may be at a disadvantage.

In California, any person has the right to file a motion for post-conviction relief after being convicted of a crime. Expunging a criminal record requires the detailed analysis of the former defendant’s case file by an experienced criminal defense attorney. The Law Offices of John Patrick Dolan have helped California residents find post-conviction relief for more than three decades. John Patrick Dolan will give your case the personal attention it deserves while analyzing each detail and carefully determining its related significance to your matter.

2021 is an opportune time for anyone with a criminal record to consider their post-conviction options and move forward. John Patrick Dolan is a California State Bar Certified Specialist in Criminal Law, the highest achievement awarded by the State Bar of California to attorneys in the field of criminal law. The advice, guidance, and representation of experienced criminal defense counsel may be crucial to achieving the best possible result in any criminal matter. 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.

More FAQ About Expungement: Do I Need An Attorney For An Expungement?