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Articles Tagged with criminal record

Having a criminal history can impact you both personally and professionally, no matter where you are located in the country. There are varying levels of punishments and long-term implications based on the type of crime you committed and its severity. For instance, there are convictions that can keep you from obtaining a professional license or make you lose a professional license you legitimately earned. Other crimes may limit your ability to vote or buy and own a firearm. Those with a criminal past often have a difficult time just obtaining gainful employment even after they serve their time.

There is no doubt about it, Californians with any amount of criminal history face more obstacles to achieving their life goals than those without a criminal history. Luckily, there are options that can help an ex-convict gain some relief from their criminal past. Working with an experienced and resourceful San Diego criminal defense attorney is a convenient way to learn more about what your options are regarding how to better manage your criminal record. If you are able to make adjustments to your record, you could greatly impact the trajectory of your life.

What Options are Available to Reduce the Impact of a California Criminal Record

Your convictions will be a stain on your record that will be visible by many organizations and businesses that require background checks. Due to their presence on your record, it is likely that you will face many limitations impacting your ability to get ahead in life and to live your life in peace. It is only natural to be concerned about the challenges you have to endure after you leave prison. When you just want to move on with your life, it is also reasonable to want to know if there is anything you can do to mitigate these implications.

California criminal laws say that records with information on arrests or detentions, dispositions, as well as personal identification will stay on your record until you reach the age of 100. That is a very long time. Criminal convictions never go away. Potentially, if your conviction happened when you were a minor, you may have options to hide that conviction.

Even if you were arrested but not convicted, this incident will stay on your record and be visible. The good news is that under California criminal laws, any arrest charges where there was no conviction or where the charges were thrown out cannot be held against you. While organizations or businesses may be able to see these charges on your records, they cannot deprive you of services or employment because of them.

How Can I Have My California Criminal Record Cleaned?

When you want to explore options that may be available to help you clean your record, the best thing to do is to discuss the unique details of your situation with David M. Boertje, a California criminal defense lawyer. Depending on the type of convictions you have and the details that surround them, it may be possible to have these charges removed or expunged from your record.  Continue reading

Job searches are a challenge for everyone. Between completing applications, submitting resumes, and having many interviews, the job hunt is not an easy task. Having a criminal history while searching for a job creates a unique set of barriers that can prevent people from gaining employment after re-entering society.

California has taken an active approach to the barrier in adopting the “Ban the Box” law. This law places limits on an employer’s inquiries into an applicant’s criminal history.

If you are facing issues while searching for a job with a criminal history, we have gathered some information to help guide you on your journey.

Request a Copy of Your Own Record

Although access to criminal records are usually restricted to law enforcement and other authorized agencies, the State of California Department of Justice will allow you to request a copy of your own record for purposes of accuracy and completeness.

Take some time to review your own criminal record and become familiar with what it contains. You do not want surprises because of what may appear on your record during your job search.

Be Aware of Your Rights

The Fair Chance Act (AB 1008), also known as “Ban the Box”, went into effect on January 1, 2018 in California. The Act prohibits employers with five or more employees from asking about your conviction history.  Under this law, an employer may not request or consider an applicant’s criminal history until after making a conditional offer of employment.

Because of the Fair Chance Act, employers are prohibited from asking about your conviction history when making an employment decision. Even if the job application itself asks whether you have been convicted of a crime, the potential employer is breaking the law.

This Act is important for you to know because it ensures that you are fairly considered for jobs. While California is providing strong protections for job seekers with a criminal history, some applicants are still facing problems because of their criminal records. According to a Mercury News article, some employers are not heeding the protections that are in place.

Clear Your Record

Imagine telling a potential employer that you do not have a conviction. With a record expungement, this is definitely a possibility. An expungement is a request from an individual, to the court, to destroy or seal a criminal conviction from state or federal data storages.  

An expungement will allow you to leave your criminal history behind. It will also provide you with peace of mind and confidence during your job search. If you want to clear your record, a knowledgeable expungement attorney can assist you with the record expungement process. Continue reading

As many as eight million Californians have criminal records for misdemeanor or felony crimes. All of them are subject to denied or limited employment, housing, and credit opportunities because of their criminal convictions. Many of the past crimes are for low level misdemeanors, like simple marijuana possession, or low-level felonies that are non-violent in nature.

Jurisdictions all over the United States are banning prospective employers from inquiring about a job applicant’s criminal conviction history during the recruitment process. It is not until the job applicant is made a formal job offer that it is permissible for an employer to inquire about a job applicant’s prior criminal convictions. Despite these modest changes to the law, discrimination against prior criminal defendants persist, aided by the public record of his or her criminal conviction.

Current Law Regarding Sealing of Criminal Records

Right now, people can seal their rap sheets following the completion of all their sentencing conditions. For example, a person convicted of driving under the influence, who receives a two-month sentence in county jail and three years of probation is able to request his or her criminal conviction record be sealed after applying and paying a fee, three years from the date of his or her release from jail.

Proposed Criminal Records Bill

The proposed Criminal Records Bill, would automatically seal the rap sheet of people whose crimes are specified in the statute as eligible for automatic sealing. The bill would apply retroactively, meaning people with prior criminal convictions who have not applied to seal their record would have their records automatically sealed when the Criminal Records Bill becomes effective.

Law enforcement agencies and some employers would still be able to access prior arrest records as part of criminal investigations or deep background checks for certain job positions. Members of the public, including potential landlords and employers, would no longer have access to a person’s arrest and conviction records.

The California Justice Department under the proposed bill would be able to contest the automatic sealing of a criminal record under certain conditions and upon application to the court. All others, however, would automatically be sealed upon successful completion of sentencing conditions.

Seal Your Criminal Records Now

You do not have to wait for the Criminal Records Bill to pass to seek the sealing of your criminal record. Individuals may petition the court to have their prior criminal conviction records sealed under certain circumstances. If you would like to know if your criminal record can be sealed, contact the qualified and knowledgeable San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney today to understand the process and your legal rights and responsibilities in seeking such relief. Continue reading

Many employers conduct criminal background checks when individuals apply for a job. If you have been arrested or convicted of a crime, getting a job can become a stressful undertaking because some employers do not hire individuals with arrest or conviction records. Depending on the job, some classes of convicted people may be prohibited by law from getting hired.

Problems with Criminal Background Check Reports

It is not uncommon for an applicant to have incorrect or missing information in their criminal background check report. Reports can be mismatched, contain inaccurate information, include someone else’s information, or misclassify the criminal offense.

Expunging or Sealing Criminal Conviction Records

People who committed crimes when they were minors or people who have old criminal convictions can seek that their arrest and criminal conviction records be expunged, meaning they are hidden or sealed from public disclosure. This helps individuals put past behavior away and keep it from affecting their future employment or housing prospects.

Federal Laws that Protect Individuals with Arrest and Conviction Records

There are two main laws, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) and Title VII that protect individuals from discrimination in employment because of prior arrest and conviction records. Under the FCRA, background checks that look into an individual’s criminal records, may not include arrest records that are more than seven years old, unless the position pays more than $75,000 a year. Conviction records however, have no such time limit. Title VII prohibits discrimination including in job screening and hiring practices in employment and frowns upon employment practices that issue blanket prohibitions against employment people with prior arrests or convictions.

Charged with a Misdemeanor Crime in California?

It is important that a person accused of a crime talk with his or her criminal defense attorney to understand the impact of a criminal conviction on his or her employment options. Current jobs may be lost after a person pleads guilty to a crime and future job opportunities may be curtailed because of an arrest or criminal conviction.

For example, if you are employed in commercial driving and you are arrested for driving while intoxicated, you may lose your commercial drivers’ license immediately. No drivers’ license means you can not work while your case is pending.

If you have been charged with a crime in California, you can face either a misdemeanor or felony charge along with heavy fines and years of imprisonment. Contact a qualified San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney who can help mitigate penalties today and explain your legal rights and responsibilities. Continue reading

Recently, the state Fair Employment and Housing Council (FEHC) finalized new regulations that would further limit a California employer’s ability to use criminal history when making employment decisions. Specifically, the new regulations, which are based on the FEHC’s 2012 Equal Opportunity Commission Guidance, would prohibit an employer from considering a job applicant’s or employee’s criminal history if doing so would result in an adverse impact on individuals within a protected class, such as gender, race, and national origin. This means a job applicant must first prove that an employer’s background screening policy actually has an adverse impact on a protected class. This includes proving that the screening policy disproportionately affects certain groups more than others, such as African Americans.

If an adverse impact is shown, the employer must demonstrate that the policy is job-related and consistent with business necessity. The employer in deciding these two factors must consider the nature and gravity of the criminal offense, the amount of time elapsed since the offense, and the nature of the job held/sought by the employee. Under FEHC regulations, employers must specifically assess people on a case by case basis while considering criminal history. Employers must be able to justify why they rejected a specific candidate. In other words, blanket policies that preclude any criminal record will now be illegal.

It should be further noted that even when the employer implements job-related screening processes, an applicant or employee can still prevail on an adverse impact claim if s/he can demonstrate the employer could use a less discriminatory policy without increasing significant costs.   

Lastly, the new regulations also contain employee notice requirements. This means that before an employer can adverse action against someone based on their record, he or she must give this person notice to refute his or her criminal history.

The regulations will become effective July 1, 2017.

Other Criminal Disclosure Changes

Earlier this year, Assembly Bill (A.B.) No. 1843, which amended Section 432.7 of the California Labor Code, was signed into law to prohibit employers from asking about or considering one’s juvenile records or involvement in the juvenile system if it did not result in a conviction.

Between these new regulations and last year’s law, employers should be careful when considering one’s criminal record. These policies must be narrowly tailored and exclude any blanket prohibitions. Continue reading

Expungment can be generally defined as the process of destroying, sealing, or striking out records or information related to criminal charges that affect one’s criminal record. In effect, if you have a criminal record expunged, it is as if it never happened. This means you will no longer have a criminal record and you will have the freedom to not disclose a prior criminal conviction on a job or housing application. There are different kinds of expungements, which will vary depending on the kind of criminal case that you have and the factors that are involved.    

Do I Qualify for an Expungement?

California state law (CA Penal Code § 1203.4) allows one to expunge his or her criminal records for a misdemeanor or felony offense if s/he has successfully completed probation, is not currently charged with a criminal offense, on probation for another offense, or serving a sentence.   

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