This page was designed to help our clients better understand our California Certificate of Rehabilitation service. You will find answers to the questions we are most frequently asked. If your question is related to eligibility requirements please take the free online eligibility test.
Yes. However, a certificate can be very persuasive to employers, state licensing agencies, and anyone else who does a background check. While it does not erase a criminal record, it does make a strong statement that you were declared “rehabilitated” by the Superior Court of California. It also helps people put the past behind them and turn the last page on a chapter of their life. It also can relieve requirements to register under Penal Code 290.
Expungement simply takes the conviction off of your record. Expungement makes no statement about the type of person you are. A certificate does not take away the conviction, it does, however, update the record and makes a strong statement that you have left that behavior behind you and that the state considers you an “honest” and law abiding person.
The court will consider if you have done the following: “during the period of rehabilitation, the person shall live an honest and upright life, shall conduct himself or herself with sobriety and industry, shall exhibit a good moral character, and shall conform to and obey the laws of the land.”
You have an attorney to (1) make sure it is done right the first time so it does not get rejected or cost you months of delay (2) handle objections from the district attorney and (3) send an attorney to court to argue the case if need be.
We go to court on your behalf. However, most cases require you to appear also.
Once you sign up we have you fill out a questionnaire on your personal online account. The questionnaire asks questions that influence the outcome of the case and allows us to argue the case before a judge. Although some of the questions may seem simple, the more information and detail the you provide in your answers the better able we are to argue the case in your favor.
The hearing will take place in the Superior Court in the county you currently reside in.
Typically, the process takes about four to six months.
We base our estimates of how long a case will take on how long the average is for that service in that state. However, some cases can take less or more time depending on the facts of the case, whether the DA is agreeing or objecting, the age of the case, etc. We work on your case as fast as we can and assist the court and DA in anything they need to get your case heard.
The courts work on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, the sooner you sign up, the sooner it is heard and decided. If it helps, we would be glad to write your employer or potential employer a letter letting them know we are seeking a certificate of rehabilitation.
We have an online tracking system that is just for your case or cases. You will have a user name and password for the account and it will have the information specific to the case. Whenever anything happens in your case we post it in your online account so that you can view the status of the case and the progress that is made. If there is no post on your online account then that means that there is no update in the case. For example, once we update your online account to reflect that we have filed the motion with the court we will update the notes when we hear a response from the court or District Attorney. Depending on the court, it can take several weeks to months to hear from the court or District Attorney whether there is an objection, hearing, or anything else. If something is taking longer than usual for the court we will call to obtain status of the case and update your online notes. In addition to posting the status updates in your online account, we will post your case information in the case information so you are aware of the case and future hearings.
Moreover, we post your contract and payment plan information on the online account for you so that you can view all the information and print it.
The court may issue a certificate of rehabilitation if it finds the petitioner is both rehabilitated and fit to exercise the privileges and rights lost due to the conviction. However, if you violated the law during the required rehabilitation period, the court may deny the petition and determine a new period of rehabilitation which would begin from the date the petition for certificate of rehabilitation was denied.
No, it does not matter. We can apply for a certificate of rehabilitation regardless of what you pled.
We are unable to offer a money back guarantee because the process involves a substantial amount of preparation and sometimes several appearances in court by our attorneys. We cannot afford to offer this low of a price and a money back guarantee.
We can create a payment plan that meets your needs. We typically spread payments into equal amounts over 90 days, but in some instances, we can spread them out further.
We will be glad to work with you to get a copy of your record and to review what can be done. We charge a researching fee to do it and we apply that to the cost of any service that you hire us to perform.
No, you only get one and it applies to your entire record.
If it is denied, it is usually because of (1) an inaccuracy in the court file, (2) an inaccuracy in the application, (3) the court does not believe it will be in the interest of society, (4) violating probation, or (5) not paying fines.
If the case is denied, we evaluate the reason for the denial and determine the best way to proceed. If we do not believe that refilling would be successful then we may recommend for the person to wait longer to refile.
According to 290.5, yes it will relieve you of the requirement to register unless you were convicted of:
You will receive the signed certificate. The certificate will be sent to the California Department of Justice to update their records.
The court will forward the order to the California Department of Justice. Both the court and Department of Justgice will update your records to show the judge issued a certificate of rehabilitation.
The court will update their records shortly after the hearing. The court then sends the certificate to the California Department of Justice. The Department of Justice typically takes 30 to 45 days to update their records.
A full pardon, whether direct or through rehabilitation proceedings, restores all of the rights and privileges of which the person was deprived by reason of the conviction, with some exceptions. In addition, a pardon relieves a sex offender of the duty to register under Penal Code Section 290. A pardon does not automatically restore any license, permit, or certificate that had been taken as the result of the conviction.
It is legally possible, but factually very unlikely. Only one or two people a year receive a pardon.
No. A certificate of rehabilitation does not affect your DMV records.
If you have been convicted of minor offenses (including assault, dangerous driving, DUI, theft, shoplifting, unauthorized possession of firearms, possession of illegal substances, etc.) or indictable criminal offenses (including assault with a deadly weapon, manslaughter, etc.) you are prohibited from entrance and further action is required to find out whether you will be allowed entrance. The Canadian government has entered into an information sharing agreement with the United States; so the Canadian government will have whatever information the United States has on record. Therefore, the first thing you should do is clear your criminal record to the fullest extent possible before submitting to a background check. The benefit of this will show the Canadian government that the Superior Court of California believes that you have been declared “rehabilitated” and improve the odds of not being denied entry to Canada or being stuck at the border for lengthy interrogation.
The Border Patrol has discretion in granting or denying Sentri passes. So the only thing we can say for sure is that it would help; so it would be wise to invest in record clearing before applying for a pass. A modest investment in expungement could be the difference between having your request accepted or denied.
Upon completion of your prison or parole sentence for a felony conviction, your civil rights are automatically restored.
Criminal violations may have severe consequences for immigrants, even if the crime is expunged/vacated/sealed. Even minor offenses such as petty theft can make someone deportable or inadmissible, while more serious offenses such as burglary may not have the same consequences. Since each case is unique, it is important to get a case-by-case analysis tailored to your specific facts. To find out if your criminal conviction will impact your immigration case it is imperative you contact a qualified immigration attorney. Our in-house immigration attorney is available to answer questions at 714-617-8395.
Call us 714-361-1967 or Toll Free 877-573-7273
Please take the free online eligibility test before calling.
Law Firm of Higbee & Associates
Orange County - Corporate Headquarters
1504 Brookhollow Dr. Suite 112, Santa Ana, CA 92705-5418 *
Los Angeles County
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