Former Prosecutor. Powerful Defense Advocate. Certified in the Area of Criminal Law

The Expungement Process

What to Expect With Our Visalia Expungement Lawyer

The whole process from the time you decide to hire our Visalia expungement attorney to represent you until your record is cleared usually takes between 4-6 weeks. The typical process usually involves the following steps:

  • We will meet with you, either in person or over the phone and get the information necessary to help you get your record cleared.
  • We will get a copy of your court records for any convictions you have suffered and will check to make sure that these convictions are eligible to be expunged.
  • We will write and file a formal motion to the court requesting expungement of your record. This will include a written declaration that we will prepare for you and have you sign.
  • Once we obtain your approval we will file the motion with the Superior Court and serve a copy on the District Attorney's Office, as required by law.

At this point, a date will be set for the motion to be heard in front of a Superior Court judge.

  • We will respond on your behalf if the District Attorney's Office decides to file an objection to your expungement.
  • We will appear in court and argue your case to the judge.

In the vast majority of expungement cases, you will not need to appear in court, and we will be able to make the appearance for you and argue to the judge on your behalf. If, however, you are still on probation and are requesting an early release, you will need to appear with us.

  • We will obtain the signed order dismissing your case, pay the necessary court fees out of our own pocket, and mail you the order.

What Are The Limitations Of An Expungement?

If you are applying for a government job, or a job that requires a government-issued license or permit, your prior conviction will be discovered by a standard government background check. Government offices have access to nonpublic records that will show your prior conviction.

Expungement is a very powerful tool in fixing your record and getting your life back. There are, however, a few limitations on this power:

  • You are still required to admit prior convictions to law enforcement in certain circumstances.
  • Employers can still find out about the conviction, even if you don't tell them, because they have access to nonpublic records.
  • Some of the "collateral" consequences of convictions never go away, even after an expungement.

When Would You Still Have To Disclose Prior Convictions?

You must still disclose an expunged conviction is three rare circumstances:

  • When contracting with the California State Lottery Commission
  • When running for office
  • When applying for a state license (such as to be a doctor, lawyer, or teacher etc)

Does This Mean That I Can't Be A Teacher/Lawyer/Doctor, Etc.?

Not necessarily. The fact that you have a prior conviction will be turned over to the licensing board for whatever license you are trying to obtain, and it will need to decide based on the totality of what it knows about you, whether this is a deal breaker for it. Often it will not be.

Things An Expungement Will Not Do:

An expungement does not:

  • Remove the conviction from your classified criminal history, accessible to government and law enforcement.
  • Reinstate your right to possess firearms (NOTE: You may be able to restore your firearms rights by petitioning to have your felony reduced to a misdemeanor).
  • Allow you to omit the conviction when applying for government licenses or permits.
  • Prevent the conviction from being used as a sentencing enhancement in future convictions. (This includes strike priors. A conviction will not erase a strike for purposes of sentencing on a subsequent felony conviction)
  • Prevent the conviction from being used to impeach your testimony if you are ever charged with a crime (though if you are called a witness against someone else, the conviction will probably not be available for use to impeach your testimony).
  • Remove your duty to report as any kind of registered offender, including a registered sex offender. We may be able to help you get relief from the duty of being a registered offender by eventually filing for a Certificate of Rehabilitation. The very first step in the process of obtaining such a certificate is getting the criminal conviction expunged.
  • Prevent the conviction from being used by US Citizenship and Immigration Services for removal or exclusion purposes. (NOTE: immigration law has undergone rapid, back-and-forth change in recent years. You should consult with an attorney regarding the current regulations—your attorney is obligated to keep your information confidential).

For a free consultation regarding the expungement process, call our Visalia criminal defense attorney at (559) 377-6627.

Mr. Hagopian Knows What You Are Going Through, and He Is Committed to Getting You Through This Tough Time.

Request a Free Consultation Today.