This page was designed to help our clients better understand our California Misdemeanor Expungement 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.
What appears on a background check depends on the type of background check that is done. If the employer does a standard commercial background check, the chances are the conviction and the case will not appear on the background check. If the employer requires you to submit fingerprints and provide a copy of your CA Dept of Justice report, it will show that there was a case, but it was dismissed and there is no conviction or finding of guilt.
An expunged case can be used in the sentencing for a subsequent conviction.
The only time you have to disclose the expungement is in three narrow circumstances. (1) If contracting with the California State Lottery Commission. (2) When applying for public office (mayor, congressman, etc.) (3) When applying for a state license.
You can truthfully say you were not convicted to any question for employment. In most circumstances, California law (Labor Code section 432.7) prevents employers from asking an applicant to disclose arrests that did not lead to convictions or where a diversion program was completed. The only time you have to disclose the conviction is in three narrow circumstances. (1) If contracting with the CA State Lottery Commission. (2) When applying for public office (mayor, congressman, etc.) (3) When applying for a state license. Having your record expunged will greatly increase your chances.
A person that is convicted of a felony may not become a police officer according to California Government Code section 1029. Furthermore, even if you case is expunged you are prohibited from possessing a firearm, which is a requirement to become a police officer. Therefore, in order to become a police officer you must reduce your felony to a misdemeanor in addition to the expungement. To determine if your felony offense is eligible to be reduced please call our office and provide us with the Penal Code section number for the felony conviction and the year of the conviction.
Section 19 of the FDIA (Federal Deposit Insurance Act) allows banks and other financial institutions to bar prospective and current employees who have had “Breach of Trust” or "Dishonesty" convictions from jobs that they are otherwise qualified for even if they had the conviction expunged.
"Dishonesty" means directly or indirectly to cheat or defraud; to cheat or defraud for monetary gain or its equivalent; or wrongfully to take property belonging to another in violation of any criminal statute. Dishonesty includes acts involving want of integrity, lack of probity, or a disposition to distort, cheat, or act deceitfully or fraudulently, and may include crimes which federal, state or local laws define as dishonest. "Breach of trust" means a wrongful act, use, misappropriation or omission with respect to any property or fund which has been committed to a person in a fiduciary or official capacity, or the misuse of one's official or fiduciary position to engage in a wrongful act, use, misappropriation or omission.
Whether a crime involves dishonesty or breach of trust will be determined from the statutory elements of the crime itself. All convictions for offenses concerning the illegal manufacture, sale, distribution of or trafficking in controlled substances are included. Other offenses can include but is not limited to the following: petty theft, grand theft, insufficient checks, burglary, possession of drugs for distribution or sales, embezzlement, fraud, fraud to obtain aid or benefits and money laundering.
If you believe you have a “breach of trust” or "dishonesty" conviction and were denied a position or were terminated from a financial institution because of that offense, there still is another way to obtain that job with a waiver from the FDIC. It is important to speak with an attorney about your specific circumstances to see if you would qualify for such a waiver from the FDIC.
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 (3) send an attorney to court to argue the case if need be and (4) write letters to potential employers letting them know that the case has been reopened and will soon have the conviction off of your record.
No, we go for you. If the court requests your presence and you are unable to make it then we will request for your presence to be excused.
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 that you provide in your answers the better able we are to argue the case in your favor.
Typically, most cases take about three to five months depending on the court.
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 the matter is heard and decided. If it helps, we would be glad to write your employer or potential employer a letter to let them know we have reopened the case and are in the process of having it dismissed. If your conviction is in Orange County, Santa Clara County, or Fresno County, then there is a faster filing process that we can complete to file the petition through court and we charge an expediting fee for that service. That expedited service will shorten the process by a few months. If your case is not in any of the counties listed and you would like to have your service completed sooner, then we can assign more staff to your case to get it completed a few weeks faster for an additional fee.
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.
No, it does not matter. We can expunge your conviction regardless of what you pled.
If we are unable to succeed on your case, we give you your money back, except for the fees paid to the court (normally $60 to $120). There is a partial refund if the client does anything to become ineligible after beginning the process, it was a DUI conviction, or there is a probation violation. Please view the pricing section for details regarding the money back guarantee.
We can create a payment plan that meets your needs. Please view the pricing section for details regarding the payment plan.
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.
Expungements must be filed and completed separately per case. Therefore, we charge per case and it does not matter how many counts are in each case. However, if you sign up for multiple cases then we discount the additional cases.
No. An expungement takes the conviction off of your record and replaces it with a dismissed court case. It also takes the finding of guilt away. If asked, you cannot deny the existence of the arrest or court case, but you can deny the conviction.
If you were not sentenced to state prison and your offense is a “wobbler” then you can file with the court to have your felony reduced to a misdemeanor. A “wobbler” is an offense that could have been a misdemeanor or felony at the time of the conviction. If you are eligible for reduction then our law firm will file for it along with the expungement. If you would like us to determine if your case is a “wobbler” then you can call our office with the Penal Code section number you were convicted of and the year that you were convicted.
If it is a “wobbler” and you were not sentenced to state prison then we can file with the court for reduction even though it was already expunged.
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 (5) not paying fines.
If the expungement 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 or we recommend the person wait longer to re-file, then there is the money back guarantee.
Expungement will not relieve you of the requirement. You will have to obtain a certification of rehabilitation to be relieved of the requirement. You can read about that service on the certificate of rehabilitation section of our website.
The judge will sign a court order stating that your conviction is expunged. The court clerk then mails that order to our law firm and we will email or mail it to you. Additionally, the criminal databases (for instance, the CA Department of Justice) will update your criminal history to reflect the expungement.
The court forwards the order onto the Department of Justice to update their records. All agencies and background companies get their information from the court or Department of Justice.
The court updates their records within 48 hours and the California Department of Justice has up to 30 days to update their records. However, the Department of Justice typically updates their records before the 30 days expire.
However, private background check providers are likely still reporting old information. To solve this problem, RecordGone.com has formed an exclusive partnership with the nation's largest criminal record database provider, to help clear criminal records from over 500 private criminal database companies. The Expedited Criminal Database Update service allows us to have the leading background check companies reflect changes to your criminal record in less than 14 days.
In order to have a case sealed, you can’t be convicted of the charge and you must prove you were factually innocent. Please see section on record sealing.
Expungement does not clear your DMV record. However, after a certain number of years the DMV records fall off and disappear. This is unlike your criminal history which never disappears.
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 may be 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 matter was resolved and no longer considered a conviction 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. The only thing we can say for sure is that expungement will 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. It will show that you have resolved all matters with the court.
You never lose the right to vote unless you are currently in prison or on parole for a felony. You can view information about voting rights at http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_vr.htm
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.
You can only expunge certain cases. Typically, you have to show that the conviction was wrongful or unconstitutional. Additionally, a person can apply for a pardon through the President. We do not handle federal cases.
No. The three most common reasons for a person to lose their right to own or possess a firearm in CA are (1) being convicted of a felony, (2) being convicted of a violent misdemeanor, or (3) being convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence.
(1) If you were convicted of a felony, expungement will not restore your right to own a firearm. However, it may be possible to reduce your felony to a misdemeanor, which will restore your right to own a firearm.
(2) If you were convicted of certain violent misdemeanors then the State of California takes away your right to possess a firearm for ten years. The ten year ban begins on the date of conviction. Expungement does not restore this right.
(3) If you were convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence, there is a 10 year prohibition from the state of California for which expungement does not affect. There is also a lifetime prohibition from the United States goverment (Lautenberg Amendment to the Violence Against Women Act), which prohibits firearm ownership of those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence as defined by the federal law. The federal definition is narrower than California's definition, so your domestic violence conviction in California might not trigger the federal law. Expungement in California does not lift the federal prohibition.
No. "Expunged... convictions could be considered "strikes" for purposes of the three strikes law." However, having a conviction reduced to a misdemeanor prior to expungement can reduce the severity of a future sentence should you be convicted again.
Yes. California expungement law may prohibit a defendant who has a remaining unpaid balance of restitution after termination of probation from obtaining an expungement of that conviction. Therefore, you must pay the remaining balance before you are eligible.
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
3655 Torrance Blvd., 3rd Floor, Torrance, CA 90503 *
450 N. Brand Blvd., Ste 600, Glendale, CA 91203 *
San Diego County
2534 State St., San Diego, CA 92101 *
Santa Clara County
560 S. Winchester Blvd. Suite 500 San Jose CA 95128 *
*By Appointment Only