Because criminal records are public records, those with prior convictions need to know that there are certain circumstances which may qualify them to get their records “wiped.” These vessels by which one’s records can be cleaned vary depending on the type of crime and state law involved.
Expungements are defined as the legal process of cleaning up one’s criminal record. They are a good option to put your prior conviction behind, as it involves the court reopening your case, withdrawing your plea or guilty verdict, dismissing the charges, and re-closing the case without a conviction. Legally speaking, a successful motion for expungement has the effect of dismissing a prior criminal conviction, and you can therefore claim in future job interviews, housing applications, etc. that you do not have a conviction on your record. California Penal Code Section 1203.4 authorizes the most common kind of expungement relief that exists in California (ie. cases in which probation was part of the sentence, cases in which there was no probation, felonies in which you only served time in county jail, and cases where a felony conviction was reduced down to a conviction). In order for an expungement to take place, your lawyer will have to file a formal document in court requesting that they take a specific action (the expungement motion). This motion must be filed at the court where you received your sentencing and given to the prosecutor that handled your case, and must claim in good faith that you are now living an upright and honest life.