Is a San Diego Expungement Worth It?
I get this question all the time. In today’s economic hard times, our firm receives numerous inquiries about clearing one’s criminal record. The concern expressed is almost always that a prospective employer may reject a job applicant who has a criminal record, or pass over an existing employee for a promotion or pay raise on the same basis. Someone wonders if passed over was it due to their record.
Ten years ago, very few employers did background checks on prospective employees. Nowadays, however, it is relatively inexpensive, quick and may be required for the employer’s commercial and/or liability insurance. Professional organizations, Little League, AYSO soccer, the Boy Scouts of America, and other organizations also do background checks.
San Diego Expungement is seemingly well known method for having a court order that a prior guilty or no contest plea be set aside and replaced with a not guilty plea and dismissal of the case. San Diego Expungement, it must be clarified, does not “erase” or delete one’s criminal record like it does in other states. In fact, expungement is a bit of a misnomer, and perhaps misleading, as the word “expungment” is even removed from the judicial council form that one uses to obtain what we understand as expungement. I wish it could be that was but it is not.
However, and perhaps more importantly, one who receives an San Diego expungement under Penal Code § 1203.4 can legally answer any private employer job application asking about a conviction with “no” (a private employer is distinguished from a public employer, such as the government). This not only improves one’s job prospects and further promotion chances, but removes the stigma associated with having any conviction. This alone is worth the expense.
However, San Diego expungement does have its limits. First of all, expungement is not available until one completes probation, although one still on probation can ask a judge to modify probation to end it and then seek expungement. It is a separate motion and more than likely will be opposed by the prosecution. San Diego Expungement is also not available for all convictions. If one was sentenced to a year or more in prison or convicted of certain sex offenses, expungement is unavailable. One also may not be currently charged with an offense or serving a sentence for another criminal offense.
Second, if one is applying for a government job, expungement will not erase a conviction from view. The government database will still show how the case progressed and that expungement of the record occurred only at the end. Many government sub-contractors have access to the same database as well. However, I will say it shows you are being proactive when you have taken the steps to expunge.
Third, San Diego expungement also does not have collateral benefits of renewing one’s rights to use or own a firearm if the original plea conditions prohibited this. Expungement also does not relieve one of the requirement to register as a sex offender under Penal Code § 290, if the case was a sex offense. Likewise, expungement does not eliminate immigration consequences of a conviction except in very limited circumstances such as a first time drug possession conviction. These conditions apply only to a very few but is is essential to find out the particular terms and conditions of your prior record.
San Diego Expungement has further limits. If one is applying for a state license (i.e. real estate, law, medical, contractor, etc.), running for political office, or applying to work for the state lottery, one must likely disclose the conviction if asked. Expungement also will not prevent the conviction from being used to enhance a sentence in a later conviction. This is especially true in a San Diego DUI, where a prior DUI conviction from within ten years, even if expunged, can count as a prior San Diego DUI to make a subsequent San Diego DUI a second-time San Diego DUI.
Nevertheless, many of our clients express satisfaction after the court issues an order of expungement. While it cannot erase memories of the conviction for our clients, it seems to bring closure to a chapter in their lives they do not want to relive. It gives the client a “fresh start.” If the client is applying for a non-government job (private employer), the client feels he or she is on equal footing with anyone who has never suffered a conviction.
Lastly, it merits mention that expungement is often considered unnecessary. This is academically true to some degree in certain contexts, particularly in credit reporting. For example, under California’s “Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act,” codified at Civil Code § 1786.18(a)(7), a credit reporting agency is not supposed to report any “record of arrest . . . misdemeanor complaint or conviction of a crime that, from the date of disposition, or release, or parole, antedate the report by more than seven years.”
Consequently, once seven years has passed since the conviction, credit reporting agencies are supposed to delete a conviction from one’s credit report. This should help one who is attempting to rent a living space from a landlord or property management company. However, in our experience of over 30 years, this is never done by the credit reporting agencies, making expungement helpful, if not necessary. What I have seen is that expungement is the final chapter from the individual in moving on from what was a very tumultuous time in their lives. If you are seeking expungement, you likely are optimistic about the future, have stayed out of trouble, and have complied with all your terms of probation. For more information please visit www.sandiegoexpunge.com
Hire a Proactive, affordable, and quality defense when you are facing San Diego DUI charges. Whether you have been charged or wanting to expunge a San Diego DUI, Poway DUI, La Mesa DUI, Santee DUI, Mission Valley DUI, Clairemont DUI, Point Loma DUI, La Jolla DUI, Carmel Valley DUI, Mira Mesa DUI, Pacific Beach DUI, Del Mar DUI, Carmel Valley DUI, Encinitas DUI, Oceanside DUI, Ocean Beach DUI, Escondido DUI, Vista DUI, San Marcos DUI, Carlsbad DUI, El Cajon DUI it is vital you need to hire an attorney who knows how to defend your rights and can determine if the government can prove their case. Contact the Law Office of Mark Deniz now for a free case evaluation at 858-751-4384 or send an email to [email protected]