Spending time in jail is never easy; the difficulties one can encounter while being incarcerated vary pretty widely depending on the crime he or she was convicted of and the type of facility they were sent to. For example, a person who spends time in county jail for missed child support payments will likely have an easier time than someone who’s sent to Pelican Bay. The reasoning behind this is because the person in county jail will typically be surrounded by others who have been convicted of committing misdemeanors and relatively minor felonies. The individual in Pelican Bay, however, will share their surroundings with a variety of much more dangerous, and often violent criminals.
Unfortunately for many, the difficulties associated with having spent time in custody aren’t necessarily over once a person is released – particularly when searching for employment. When applying for a job, pretty much every employer is going to want to know if the applicant has a prior criminal record, and those who do report extreme difficulty in obtaining employment post-incarceration. Luckily, for those who were sent to county jail instead of state prison, there is hope in the form of California Penal Code 1203.4 PC: California’s Expungement Law.
Expungement is something that an individual can apply for that will have the court seal their criminal records, thereby making it impossible for employers to use that prior criminal conviction against the applicant, as well as making it illegal for them to even bring it up.
To be eligible for expungement, a person must meet three basic criteria:
- The defendant must have completed their probation successfully (including the payment of any fines and/or court fees, restitution, counseling and/or community service)
- They must not be currently charged with another criminal offense, on probation for another criminal offense, or currently serving time for another criminal offense, and
- The defendant cannot have been sentenced to serve time in state prison for the offense or for a parole violation regarding their offense.
Certain offenses are ineligible for expungement. Those offenses are: 286 PC: sodomy with a child, PC 288: lewd acts with a child, PC 288a (c): oral copulation with a child and PC 264.5(d): statutory rape.
An attorney can assist with the expungement process. It includes filling out the necessary paper work, waiting for the court to process it, and then attending an expungement hearing. If an expungement is granted, it can benefit the defendant in a variety of ways, including in the search for employment, obtaining a state professional license, and even help avoid certain consequences involved with immigration. If you think that you or someone you know may be eligible for expungement, be sure to speak with an attorney first. As bail bondsman, we are happy to offer information about laws that exist, but only an attorney is qualified to provide you with advice and counsel.