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California Expungement Laws

Most Californian citizens can go their entire life without getting into trouble with the law (parking tickets aside!). But there are those circumstances where trouble occurs, arrests are made and criminal charges filed against an individual. Two outcomes can then occur: you're either found innocent or guilty of those charges. Unless you seek out an expungement of your records, those files will be available to anyone who runs a background check on you. This can mean any potential employer or bank where you're seeking a loan or even your new girlfriend. That's why it's in your best interest to get those records expunged.

California expungement laws work best when you have been found innocent of the charges or in the cases where those charges are dismissed. Essentially the court has declared you free and clear but you still have an official record. Just because you've been found innocent doesn't mean the court is under any obligation to make sure your record is clear. That is up to you to handle through the required application process.

If you have actually been convicted of the crime, there are some expungement options you can explore depending on the circumstances. First and foremost you need to complete any sentence imposed upon you by the court. This can mean time in jail, community service and/or a fine. Once those obligations have been satisfied then you can apply to the courts in California for expungement. This is especially true for a one time misdemeanor conviction. Maybe you did something stupid when you were a kid and got caught. Or did something stupid why under the influence of one too many beers. The judge will take into account your past history and whether or not you've proven that you have "learned your lesson."

Keep in mind that in California, you can be granted an expungement but that doesn't mean all your privileges will be restored such as owning a gun. Again, it depends on the circumstances of the crime but it is conceivable that your background check can come up clear but you will still have restrictions. If you are seeking out an expungement, you should contact a criminal defense attorney. The laws can sometimes be a bit complex but a lawyer with experience will have no problem providing you will all your options. Often the first consultation is free and that can be the first step towards complete peace of mind.

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