A bill signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown will reduce the waiting period for those looking to receive a Certificate of Rehabilitation. The law is welcome news for many former offenders who hope to receive a Certificate, which will make it easier for them to fully reintegrate into society.
Senate Bill 530, which was authored by Democratic Senator Roderick Wright, eliminates the seven-year waiting period that must be met before former offenders can apply to the court for a Certificate of Rehabilitation. A Certificate is a form of post-conviction relief that restores some rights of citizenship that are lost as a result of a conviction.
What does a Certificate of Rehabilitation provide?
While a Certificate does not erase a criminal conviction, it does add a positive note to the individual’s record and increases a rehabilitated offender’s chances of being issued a professional or occupational license. A Certificate also may relieve certain offenders of their duty to register as a sex offender under Penal Code section 290; however, SB 530 does not change the waiting period for those whose conviction requires them to register as a sex offender.
The changes made by SB 530 are seen in Section 4852.22 of the Penal Code. This new section gives a judge the discretion to grant the Certificate of Rehabilitation before the applicable period of rehabilitation has elapsed if the judge believes that it will serve the interests of justice. According to attorney Mathew Higbee, “eligible offenders can now apply when they complete their sentence, including any probation or parole.”
SB 530 Makes it Easier to Get a Certificate of Rehabilitation
After the passage of SB 530, California law now allows deserving and rehabilitated individuals the opportunity to apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation and have their case heard by a judge. Previously, former offenders were prevented from even applying until the statutory minimum period of rehabilitation had passed, regardless of the circumstances and evidence of rehabilitation present. This law is a great step towards remedying some of the problems former offenders face when attempting to reintegrate into society.