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How to get an expungement in San Diego

Does your criminal past haunt you wherever you go? You do not need to let it affect your employment, housing and other opportunities any longer. You may have the option of an expungement of certain crimes so you can improve your life.

Although in some states to expunge means to erase information from your criminal record so it is as if the event never occurred, this is not the case in California. A more accurate term is a dismissal, because the record remains and is still accessible to some people. 

Steps of expungement

First, you need to obtain your record and all the details regarding each arrest, charge and conviction. This information will determine whether you are eligible for an expungement (dismissal), record sealing, certificate of rehabilitation or nothing. (Sealing your records entails removing public accessibility, and a certificate provides evidence of rehabilitation.) Some convictions, such as for sex crimes, do not qualify for expungement.

Next, you have to file a petition with the court and pay a fee. If you want multiple dismissals, you must fill out a separate petition for each one, but you can still file them at the same time. It is best to complete these steps with the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer to avoid mistakes and delays. If you received convictions in other states, you may be subject to their laws for removing criminal records.

Benefits of expungement

Although the record still exists, the change to dismissal can make it easier for you to gain employment and student loans. Other benefits depend on the nature of your crimes. For example, some privileges you have lost you may never regain, such as use of a firearm. California may be a strict state when it comes to your criminal history, but that does not mean you have no choice but to live with your past crimes. The reduced consequences make seeking an expungement or other option still worth it.

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