A Certificate of Rehabilitation (“COR”) is a useful post-conviction tool available under California law. It allows criminal defendants to clear their criminal records in California. While a Certificate of Rehabilitation does not erase a criminal record, it is a court order affirming that the holder is now a law-abiding citizen. Receiving a Certificate of Rehabilitation serves as an official document to demonstrate the rehabilitation of a formerly convicted felon.
California Penal Code sections 4852.01 – 4852.21 PC, delineate the process for obtaining a certificate of rehabilitation. A Certificate of Rehabilitation granted by the State of California restores some of the rights of citizenship that defendants forfeit because of their felony convictions.
The granting of a Certificate of Rehabilitation also acts as an automatic application and recommendation for a pardon from the governor. While a Certificate of Rehabilitation offers many of the same benefits as a governor’s pardon, a COR does not offer identical benefits. A COR functions as an automatic application for a governor’s pardon and, for most people, is the only way to obtain one.
A certificate of rehabilitation also offers additional inherent benefits. It may also be used by some persons convicted of sex offenses to relieve them of their registration requirements. California Penal Code (PC) § 290.5 lists those offenses which are not relieved from registration. Also, state licensing agencies may not deny a license based solely on a conviction if the applicant has obtained a COR for the offense.
A Certificate of Rehabilitation does not erase or seal the criminal record of applicants or allow them to state on an employment application that they have no criminal convictions. Of equal importance, it does not prevent the conviction from being considered for later convictions as a sentencing enhancement under the California three-strikes law and may be rescinded for any subsequent criminal acts committed by applicants.
There are alternative forms of recovery available to those accused of a crime in California. It is important to determine their applicability to your criminal matter. John Patrick Dolan has over forty years of experience working to help his clients obtain the best resolution possible when freedom and reputation are at stake. Call us today at (760) 775-3739 or find out more online here.