In certain circumstances, a criminal defendant can apply to have his or her record expunged after a conviction. Expungement can be a complicated process. A qualified Fresno criminal defense attorney can explain what's required.
Understanding What Expungement Means
As a Fresno criminal defense attorney can explain, expungement is a process by which a formerly convicted defendant can apply to have his or her record cleared. If the court grants an order of expungement, this means that the conviction itself is cleared. In essence, the defendant is no longer a convict. However, not all cases are eligible for expungement.
Convictions Eligible for Expungement
Misdemeanor convictions or felonies that could have been charged as a misdemeanor may be eligible for an expungement. However, even within that definition there are exceptions that a knowledgeable Fresno criminal defense attorney can explain. In particular, crimes involving sexual assault of a minor or serious motor vehicle code violations cannot be expunged even if they could have been charged as a misdemeanor. If your case falls into an expungeable category, an attorney can assist you with filing the appropriate paperwork.
Expungement Is Not Automatic
One of the biggest misconceptions about expungement is understanding how to get it. The burden is on the convicted defendant to go through the proper steps to apply for the expungement and carry it through. Even if the sentencing judge indicated your case is one that's eligible for expungement, the court will not start the expungement process for you. Also, the expungement is not complete upon the application. The court must actually sign an order allowing the expungement.
It's also important to understand that the record of your criminal case does not cease to exist when an expungement order is entered. What goes away is the original outcome of the case. After expungement, the outcome will be listed as dismissed.
Advice from a Fresno Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have a criminal conviction on your record, a skilled criminal defense lawyer in Fresno can discuss whether expungement is an option. To make an appointment for an initial consultation with the offices of Capozzi Law, call 559-374-2012.