Expungement of Criminal Records in San Diego
Imagine that after receiving a misdemeanor or felony conviction you are sentenced to probation and successfully complete the probationary period. Still, years later you have a criminal record that follows you everywhere you go and keeps you from pursuing educational goals, professional advancement and the reinstatement of your constitutional rights. Is there any way to clean your criminal record? You do not have to live this way with a past criminal convicting hanging over you. You have already paid the consequences for your offense and should be allowed to turn your life around. That is why it is essential for you to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer that is well versed in the complexities of post-convictions. At Monder Law Group, our firm prides itself on our extensive knowledge and years of experience successfully handling expungement cases in San Diego.
Understanding Penal Code Section 1203.4
The expungement of criminal records in San Diego is governed by Penal Code Section 1203.4, the law is clear that any probationer who successfully completes the probationary period, “if he or she is not then serving a sentence for any offense, on probation for any offense, or charged with the commission of any offense, may be permitted by the court to withdraw his or her plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere and enter a plea of not guilty; or, if he or she has been convicted after a plea of not guilty, the court shall set aside the verdict of guilty; and, in either case, the court shall thereupon dismiss the accusations or information against the defendant.”
What is an expungement?
An expungement is a procedure in which a defendant may petition the court to withdraw his or her guilty plea and have the case dismissed. Or a defendant may also petition the court to seal a defendant’s criminal conviction record from the criminal justice system.
Who is eligible for an expungement?
Defendants who completed probation successfully after receiving a jury conviction or pleading guilty or no contest to a misdemeanor or felony but who did not serve time in state prison and did not receive a strike under California’s three strikes law.
Who is not eligible for an expungement?
Probationers who have pending misdemeanor or felony charges against them, are serving a sentence for another offense or are currently on probation for any offense.
What does an expungement accomplish?
If an expungement petition is granted, the conviction will be either dismissed or set aside, releasing the probationer from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction of the offense.
What does an expungement not do?
If probationer is later prosecuted for another offense or under Vehicle Code Section 13555, the prior conviction may be pleaded and proved because for this purpose it will be as if probation had not been granted. Likewise, an expungement does not relieve the probationer from the obligation to disclose the prior conviction if applying for public office, a state license by the state of California or local agency, or contracting with the California State Lottery Commission.
Implications of Felony Wobbler Offenses in Expungement
Wobblers are offenses that the prosecution may choose to file as either a misdemeanor or a felony. How defendants are charged and sentenced will depend on their criminal history and the specific facts of the case. It is crucial that a criminal defense attorney identify any wobbler offense before submitting an expungement petition to the court. This is because pursuant to Penal Code Section 17(b), defendants convicted of felony wobbler offenses may petition the court to have the felony reduced to a misdemeanor conviction. However, defendant’s right to felony reduction will be waived if the expungement is granted without first submitting the petition to reduce the felony wobbler conviction. That is why it is in the defendant’s best interest to have the criminal defense attorney first reduce a felony wobbler conviction to a misdemeanor and then submit the expungement petition for the misdemeanor offense.
Understanding Penal Code Section 17(b)
Felony reduction in San Diego is governed by Penal Code Section 17(b), under this law “anybody convicted of a felony wobbler offense may petition the court to have the felony reduced to a misdemeanor” if the following three conditions are met:
The felony conviction must be a felony wobbler;
The defendant was given probation and was not sent to state prison;
If the defendant was convicted of multiple felonies in a single case, then all felonies must be felony wobblers for a reduction to take place.
What factors does the court consider for felony reduction petitions?
Pursuant to Penal Code Section 17(b) there are four factors that the court will consider in granting felony reduction petitions:
The nature and seriousness of the offense;
The defendant’s compliance with the terms and conditions of probation;
The defendant’s criminal history; and
The defendant’s personal circumstances.
What information is required to apply for an expungement?
In order to complete an expungement petition, a criminal defense attorney must know the details of the probationer’s criminal history. The following information will be required for each conviction on the probationer’s criminal record:
The case number;
The date of conviction;
The code name and section number of the offense;
Whether there was a verdict or a plea was entered;
What was the plea the defendant entered;
Whether the court ordered probation;
What was the probationary period;
Whether the court ordered fines, restitution, or reimbursement be paid;
Whether the court sentenced defendant to state prison;
Which state prison was defendant sentenced to;
What was the date of defendant’s release from state prison; and
If released on parole, what was the date that parole ended.
Immigration Consequences of an Expungement
An expungement under Penal Code Section 1203.4 is the sealing of a defendant’s criminal conviction record from the criminal justice system. However, for purposes of immigration law, a criminal conviction can never be expunged from the federal government. For this reason, a record of criminal conviction can have serious immigration consequences for foreign nationals living in the United States. If a foreign national is convicted of a crime while in the United States, the government may deport the defendant to his or her home country. This is why it is crucial that you hire lawyer who is both skilled in criminal defense and knowledgeable on the nuances of immigration consequences. Our San Diego criminal defense firm understands the importance of avoiding criminal convictions that can have dangerous immigration implications, give us a call today so that we may begin preparing the best defense for your specific needs.
What type of offenses will result in deportation proceedings?
For immigration purposes, any conviction pertaining to the following offenses will be considered grounds for deportation:
Crime of violence;
Crime involving moral turpitude;
Crime involving controlled substances; or
Who can be deported as a result of a criminal conviction?
For immigration purposes, these are the three types of foreign nationals living in the United States that can be deported:
Foreign nationals present in the United States under a non-immigrant visa;
Foreign nationals present in the United States under a green card;
Foreign nationals illegally present in the United States.
Expungement Criminal Lawyer in San Diego
While it is true that you may file an expungement on your own, you can now appreciate the complexities of petitioning for expungements in California. You should definitely consider retaining an experienced criminal defense attorney to petition the court for an expungement and if necessary enter the change of plea pursuant to California Penal Code Section 1203.4. This is because the knowledge of an experienced criminal defense attorney is invaluable to the granting of an expungement. At Monder Law Group, we have vast experience successfully processing expungements. We know the importance of conducting a thorough investigation of your criminal history and will prepare additional evidence to include in the petition that demonstrates your good conduct and successful rehabilitation. Do not allow prior mistakes to weigh you down, you deserve the opportunity to strive for progress and we are ready to help you take the necessary steps to achieve this. Ensure your best outcome by contacting San Diego expungement criminal defense attorney Vik Monder now!
Contact San Diego Expungement Lawyer Vik Monder for a FREE consultation today at: 619-405-0063