A person who was convicted of a crime can file a petition to expunge his or her record. This process, also called a “petition to set aside a conviction” and “cleaning a criminal record,” is authorized by Penal Code section 1203.4
David Pflaum is a criminal defense lawyer with more than 25 years of legal experience who files the petition in court and delivers a copy of the petition to the prosecutors office. Then in most cases the petition makes its way to the calendar of a judge within 21 days for a hearing on the matter. (Some courts in San Diego have different processes).
THE CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER GETS THE JOB DONE
An expungement of a criminal record can help a person get a job, apply for legal immigration status, protect a person’s reputation, and allow a person to state on most applications that he or she has never been convicted of a crime.
Misdemeanor. If the previous conviction was a misdemeanor, the defense lawyer does all the work and the client never needs to appear in court.
Felony. If the previous conviction was a felony, the defense lawyer does all the work but the client will need to appear in court with the defense lawyer at the time and date of the hearing in court.
Probation is Over. If probation has ended, the client is eligible to file a petition for an expungement.
Assuming the client had no legal problems while on probation, and no new arrests, the expungement petition will normally be approved by the judge when the matter comes on regularly for the hearing in court.
DUI Cases. A petition for expungement for a conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol (“DUI”) requires a showing to the court that the petition should be granted “in the interests of justice.”
This petition requires additional work on behalf of the client to prove to the judge that the client has performed exceptionally well while on probation and has other significant positive factors for the judge to consider in order to approve the request.
Still On Probation. If a person is currently on probation, the person will need to file a petition with the court for early termination of probation (see Penal Code section 1203.3) before the court will consider an expungement petition.
TERMINATING PROBATION EARLY
The petition for early termination of probation requires a special need. The special need may be a pending job, the potential loss of a job, enlistment with the armed forces, or something extraordinary.
If the client has complied with all the requirements of probation, without any violations, and can show a special need to have probation terminated early, the judge may grant a petition for early termination of probation.
This then allows the client to request that the expungement petition follow in order and be approved.
Call the right defender for help
Vista – Escondido – Carlsbad – Fallbrook – Oceanside – Encinitas – Solana Beach – San Ysidro – Chula Vista – San Diego – Carmel Valley – Pacific Beach – Del Mar – San Marcos – El Cajon – La Costa – Leucadia – La Jolla – Mission Beach – Imperial Beach – North Park – Hillcrest – Rancho Santa Fe – Poway – North County – South Bay – Coronado – Miramar – Scripps Ranch – Rancho Bernardo – Ramona – National City – Santee – Mission Hills – Bonita – Point Loma