Obtaining a certificate of rehabilitation in California can be a complicated process. That is why our attorneys have answered all of the most commonly asked questions for you. Want to know if you are eligible for a certificate of rehabilitation? Take our free online test to find out.
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For misdemeanor sex offenses that require registration under PC 290, other than violations of section 311.2(b), (c), or (d), 311.3, 311.10, or 314, you must wait ten years. (4852.03). For violations of section 311.2(b), (c), or (d), 311.3, 311.10, or 314, you must wait seven years. (4852.03). However, for a violation of 311.1 that is committed before 2004 only requires a seven year waiting period instead of ten. (People v. Schoop, 212 Cal. App. 4th 457).
Offenses that do not require registration pursuant to PC 290 you must wait seven years. (4852.03). But if the offense was a violation of section 187, 209, 219, 4500 or 18755 or 1672(a) of the Military and Veterans Code, or any offense that carries a life sentence then you must wait nine years. (4852.03). Although, effective on 1/1/14, CA added Penal Code section 4852.22 which states that the judge can grant a certificate for non registrable offenses prior to the expiration of the waiting period if it is in the interest of justice.
Although the statutes referring to a certificate of rehabilitation (PC 4852.01-4852.21) do not state that you have to remain conviction free, PC 4852.05 does state that a 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." Therefore, if you are convicted of a another crime after the felony or misdemeanor sex offense, the judge will likely decide that the waiting period restarted at the most recent violation and deny the certificate. Additionally, if the court denies the petition then the court could determine a new period of rehabilitation which would begin from the date the petition for certificate of rehabilitation was denied. People v. Failla
If you were sentenced to state prison for a felony conviction, dismissal under 1203.4 is not available and is therefore not a prerequisite to apply or a Certificate of Rehabilitation. (People v. Borja 110 Cal App 3d 378, 167 Cal Rptr 813, 1980; People v. Mendez 234 Cal App 3d 1773, 286 Cal Rptr 216, 1991). You may apply upon meeting the other requirements. However, if you were sentenced to county jail or probation (or some combination of the two) for a felony conviction or a misdemeanor sex offense, in addition to meeting the other requirements you must also first obtain a dismissal under § 1203.4 before applying for a Certificate of Rehabilitation. (People v. Jones, 176 Cal. App. 3d 120, 221 Cal. Rptr. 3829, 1985).
No, you only get one and it applies to your entire record.
Cases are denied for the following reasons: (1) an inaccuracy in the court file, (2) an inaccuracy in the petition, (3) the court does not believe a Certificate of Rehabilitation will be in the interest of society, (4) probation was violated, or (5) fines were not fully paid.
Applicants for a Certificate of Rehabilitation are entitled to assistance in processing their petitions from the county probation office(s), state parole office(s), and for persons under the age of 30, from the California Youth Authority. The person may also be represented by counsel of his or her own selection. If the person does not have counsel, he or she may be represented by the public defender, the probation department, or the court may assign counsel. Penal Code §§ 4852.04 & 4852.08.
Obtaining an attorney’s assistance is always in your best interest. The Certificate of Rehabilitation process can be a long and difficult one, especially if you have more than one offense or sex offense on your record. Your attorney will: (1) ensure the process is done correctly the first time to have the highest chance of success and prevent unnecessary delays, (2) handle objections from the District Attorney, (3) attend court proceedings to argue the case if necessary, and (4) write letters to potential employers notifying them that we have filed for a Certificate of Rehabilitation.
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.
The court will consider if during the period of rehabilitation the person has lived an honest and upright life, conducted himself or herself with sobriety and industry, exhibited a good moral character, and conformed to and obeyed the laws of the land. (PC 4852.05)
Your chances will increase if you are able to provide letters of recommendation and supporting documents that demonstrate you are living a law-abiding lifestyle in the community and are rehabilitated. Also, certain counties have a questionnaire for you to fill out and require an in-person interview with the District Attorney. An attorney will review the questionnaire for you and be present at the interview.
We will go to court on your behalf; however, most cases will require you to appear, as well.
The hearing will take place in the Superior Court in the county in which you currently reside.
Typically, the process takes about seven to eight months; however, each case is different. Factors affecting the length of the process include: the circumstances surrounding the case, whether the District Attorney is agreeing or objecting, and the amount of time that has passed since the incident. We will work on your case as fast as we can and assist the court and District Attorney in anything they need to get your case heard.
Due to budget cuts, San Diego and Los Angeles Courts are assigning hearing dates for certificates six months in the future so the cases in these counties will likely take 9 to 12 months.
We will work to get your case filed as quickly as we can, but the courts work on a first-come, first-served basis. If helpful, we will write a letter to your employer or potential employer to let them know we are seeking a Certificate of Rehabilitation on your behalf.
We charge an additional fee due to additional requirements and work that must be completed for sex offense cases.
If the case is denied, we evaluate the reason for the denial and determine the best way to proceed. An option may be to refile with more evidence and we will let you know if any evidence in particular would be helpful.
You will receive the signed certificate. The certificate will be sent to the California Department of Justice 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.
A pardon is possible, but the chances of being granted one is very unlikely. The current governor, Jerry Brown, has granted more pardons than previous governors, but it is still difficult to obtain a pardon. Pardon applications generally will not be considered unless the applicant has been discharged from probation or parole for at least 10 years without further criminal activity during that period.
Expungement in California simply takes the conviction off of your record. Expungement makes no statement about the type of person you are. A Certificate does not remove the conviction; however, it does 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.
Please be aware that as of July 1, 2021, a Certificate of Rehabilitation will NOT relieve you of your duty to register as a sex offender.
According to 290.5, yes a Certificate of Rehabilitation will relieve you of the requirement to register unless you were convicted of:
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 into Canada and further action will be 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 file. 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 an Certificate of Rehabilitation is that it will show the Canadian government that the Court considers you rehabilitated. This will improve the odds of being granted entry into Canada and help avoid being stuck at the border for a lengthy interrogation.
The Border Patrol has discretion in granting or denying Sentri passes; therefore the only thing we can say for sure is that investing in updating your record with a Certificate of Rehabilitation before applying for a pass would be advantageous. A modest investment in getting a Certificate could be the difference between having your request accepted or denied. The Certificate 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
To find out if your criminal conviction will impact your immigration case and to find out if a Certificate of Rehabilitation will affect your case, it is imperative you contact a qualified immigration attorney. Our in-house immigration attorney is available at 714-617-8395 to answer any questions you might have.
In California, you may serve on a jury if you: (1) are a United States citizen, (2) are at least eighteen years of age, (3) can understand English enough to understand and discuss the case at hand, (4) are a resident of the county for which you received the jury summons, (5) have not served on a jury in the last twelve months, (6) are not on a grand jury or on another trial jury currently, (7) are not under a conservatorship, and (8) have had your civil rights restored if you have been convicted of a felony or a malfeasance while holding public office.
Yes. However, a Certificate of Rehabilitation can be very persuasive to employers, state licensing agencies, and anyone else who does a background check on you. 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.
The court will forward the certificate to the California Department of Justice. Both the court and Department of Justice 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.
No. A Certificate of Rehabilitation does not affect your DMV records.