Certificate of Rehabilitation in San Diego
Are you struggling to overcome your criminal history? Does a criminal conviction keep getting in the way of employment opportunities or qualifying for a home? You do not have to continue living with the weight of a past conviction over your shoulders. If you have served out your sentence, stayed out of trouble and reside in California, you may be a good candidate for a certificate of rehabilitation. At Monder Law Group, we have vast experience obtaining certificates of rehabilitation for our clients in Southern California. Our firm understands that you want to become a productive member of society and we are here to help in any way we can. Our goal is to demonstrate to the court thru your petition, that the person petitioning for the certificate of rehabilitation is not the same person that was convicted years ago. Allow us the opportunity to accomplish this for you, call Attorney Vik Monder at (619)405-0063.
Understanding Penal Code Section 4582.03
A certificate of rehabilitation in San Diego is governed by Penal Code Section 4582.03, the law is clear that “the period of rehabilitation shall begin to run upon the discharge of the petitioner from custody due to his or her completion of the term to which he or she was sentenced or upon his or her release on parole or probation, whichever is sooner. The period of rehabilitation shall constitute five years residence in the state.” This means that to be eligible for a certificate of rehabilitation, prior to filing the petition, you must be a resident of California for at least five years, you must have received a conviction for a felony offense or a misdemeanor sex offense, you must not have been incarcerated after being released from custody, probation or parole, and you must wait the required period of rehabilitation, between two to five years from your release, depending on the specific offense.
What is a certificate of rehabilitation?
A certificate of rehabilitation is a court order that declares your rehabilitation to society. The certificate of rehabilitation applies to certain felony convictions and/or misdemeanor sex offense convictions in your criminal record. A certificate of rehabilitation also constitutes an application for a pardon from the governor of California. This means that if the court grants your petition for a certificate of rehabilitation, it will automatically forward your certificate to the governor as an application for pardon. However, it is important that you understand that a certificate of rehabilitation does not ensure a pardon by the governor.
What is the required period of rehabilitation?
A certificate of rehabilitation is not available until the required satisfactory period of rehabilitation has passed. This period of rehabilitation begins the moment that you are discharged from custody or released on probation or parole. Satisfactory rehabilitation requires that you remain a law-abiding citizen. The time frame will consist of five years of residence in California in addition to two, four, or five years of satisfactory rehabilitation prior to filing the petition, depending on the nature of the offense.
2 Year Rehabilitation Period:
- Child Pornography
- Indecent Exposure
- Sexual Exploitation of a Child
4 Year Rehabilitation Period:
- Assault with GBI
- Aggravated Kidnapping
- Offenses Carrying Life sentences
5 Year Rehabilitation Period:
- Lifetime Sex Offender Registration Offenses
Who is not eligible to apply for a certificate of rehabilitation?
A certificate of rehabilitation is not available for active duty military service members, parolees serving mandatory life parole, individuals residing outside of California, committed to prison under a death sentence or who received any of the following convictions:
Misdemeanors other than the misdemeanor sex offenses listed above.
- Felony sodomy of a child who is under 14 years of age.
- Felony lewd act on a child who is under 14 years of age.
- Felony lewd act on a child who is between the ages of 14 and 15.
- Felony child abuse of a child who is under 14 years of age.
Felony sexual penetration by a foreign or unknown object of a child who is under 14 years of age.
What does a certificate of rehabilitation do?
If the court grants your petition for certificate of rehabilitation, you may be eligible to receive the following benefits:
Automatic application for pardon by the governor;
Citizenship rights that were forfeited as a result of your conviction may be restored;
Relieve of any further duty to register as sex offender.
What does a certificate of rehabilitation not do?
A certificate of rehabilitation will not erase your conviction. This means that for employment purposes if you are asked about it on an application, you will have to disclose that you have a criminal record. It is also important that you understand that for sentencing purposes, your conviction may still be used as a prior against you if you are later convicted of a separate offense.
Petition Process for a Certificate of Rehabilitation
Is an expungement required for a certificate of rehabilitation?
If you were convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor sex offense and were released on probation you will be required to obtain an expungement before you are eligible to petition a certificate of rehabilitation. An expungement is the process by which you petition the court to remove a criminal conviction from your record after you have completed the sentence. If your petition for expungement is granted, the court will seal your criminal conviction from the criminal justice system and you will qualify for a certificate of rehabilitation.
What information must be included in a petition for a certificate of rehabilitation?
In order to submit a complete petition for a certificate of rehabilitation, you must include the application, detailed information about your past convictions, and character letters from people that can attest to your satisfactory rehabilitation.
Where to file a petition for certificate of rehabilitation?
Once the petition for certificate of rehabilitation is complete, it must be filed with the county clerk at the Superior Court of California in the county where you reside.
Who determines eligibility for a certificate of rehabilitation?
The District Attorney’s Office is responsible for determining if you are eligible for a certificate of rehabilitation. The determination is made after a thorough review of your petition, which may include an investigation to confirm that you meet the eligibility requirements for a certificate of rehabilitation.
What happens if found eligible for a certificate of rehabilitation?
Once the Office of the District Attorney determines that you meet the eligibility requirements for a certificate of rehabilitation, the court will schedule a hearing on your petition and mail you out a notice of the date of the hearing. Next, you must send notice of the hearing, at least 30 days before the hearing date, to the Office of the District Attorney and the Office of the Governor. It is important to point out that formal notice must be given to the District Attorney’s Office in every county that you have received a conviction from.
What happens if found ineligible for a certificate of rehabilitation?
If the Office of the District Attorney determines that you do not meet the eligibility requirements for a certificate of rehabilitation, it will mail out a notice informing you and the court that you do not qualify for a certificate of rehabilitation. At which time, you may file a motion with the court for an order to show cause. This order requires the District Attorney to explain to the court its determination of your eligibility for a certificate of rehabilitation.
What is a Governor’s Pardon?
A Governor’s Pardon is an order by the Governor of California granting forgiveness to a former convicted felon who demonstrates exemplary conduct after receiving the conviction.
How to apply for a Governor’s Pardon?
Obtaining a certificate of rehabilitation is the first step towards obtaining a governor’s pardon, it serves as an automatic application for it. This means that once the Superior Court grants your certificate of rehabilitation, it will forward the certificate to the Office of the Governor as the application for a governor’s pardon.
However, if you no longer reside in California or otherwise do not qualify for a certificate of rehabilitation, you will have to directly apply for a governor’s pardon. The direct application approach will require you to first petition for Executive Clemency. Executive clemency is a formal petition for a pardon from the president of the United States. The petition must be filed with the Pardon Attorney in the Department of Justice in Washington D.C. and notice of intent to apply for executive clemency must be filed with the District Attorney’s Office in every county in which you received a conviction. Upon receipt of the notice of intent, the District Attorney’s Office will then forward the notice to the Governor’s Office, where the application will be filed.
Who is eligible for a Governor’s Pardon?
In order to be considered for a governor’s pardon in California, you must have been convicted in the state, served out your sentence and been released from probation or parole and remained a law-abiding citizen for a minimum of 10 years before applying. It helps if you haven't violated your probation before.
How to prove exemplary conduct?
To prove exemplary conduct after the conviction, you must have successfully completed your sentence, satisfactorily rehabilitated back into society, obtained and maintained lawful employment, and remain a law-abiding member of the community.
What are the limitations of a Governor’s Pardon?
A governor’s pardon is limited to criminal convictions in the state of California and cannot be granted outside of its jurisdiction. This means that the governor of California is not able to pardon federal convictions or convictions from other states.