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How to Get a Felony Off Your Record in California

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A felony has a big impact on a person’s life and if you live in California, you’ve come here trying to find out how to get the felony off your record.  Realize that with all felony records, there are three options you can take.  1) Expunge Your Record2) Seal Your Record,3) Request a Pardon of Your RecordThe problem though is that all states don’t offer all three of these options. But before we get into what California offers, let’s review what each of these options actually mean.

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Expungement

If you get your record expunged in California it’s as if your arrest and/or charges never happened. Your record is completely destroyed, including all physical and public records. When asked if have a criminal record, after expungement, you can truthfully answer “no”.

Record Sealing

Sealing your record in California is similar to expungement, but your record still exists in a limited form. The public does not have access to your record, but there are some exceptions. Your records can still be accessed by law enforcement and the courts. Record sealing is not as secure as expungement, but it is a reasonable alternative that is comparatively easier to obtain if your state offers it.

Pardons

If you receive a pardon in California, you still have record of your arrest or charge, but your guilt is exonerated. That is, you have proven that you are rehabilitated and forgiven for your crimes. You can also get relief in terms of having various rights restored, such as your right to vote. The requirements for pardons vary between states, but typically there is a lot of documentation required, and includes lengthy waiting periods to apply and receive a pardon.

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Things to Know Before You Start

First: It’s important to understand that every state is different in terms of what methods are available for felons to remove their record and the information below will help you understand what you can do in California.

Felony Expungement in California

Yes, it is possible to expunge your felony in California but it depends on the felony.

Sealing a Recordin California

Yes, it is possible to seal your record in California but it depends on the felony.

Getting a Pardonin California

Yes, it is possible to get a pardon of your record in California but it depends on the felony.

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Second: When trying to clear your record, you really have two options.  The first is to get a free consultation from a lawyer to see what they think of your case, and the second is to try to do all of the paperwork yourself.  

Third: We HIGHLY recommend that you get a free consultation from a lawyer prior to taking any action.  We say this because whether you want to expunge, seal, or pardon your record, it’s an extremely complicated process.  Failure to follow the process properly can end up with you being denied for the request and having to wait additional time (sometimes several years) before you can file again.  In addition, getting an expungement lawyer can increase your odds of succeeding and sometimes it’s more affordable than you think.  The first step is to click on the button below to confirm that you’re eligible for the expungement/sealing of your record.

TAKE THE ELIGIBILITY TESTQuick NavigationCan You Expunge a Felony in California?How to Expunge a Felony in CaliforniaCan You Seal Your Criminal Record in California?How to Seal Your Criminal Record in CaliforniaCan You Apply for a Pardon in California?How to Apply for a Pardon in California

Can You Expunge a Felony in California?

Requesting an expungement of your criminal record allows to you to reopen your criminal case, set aside the conviction and have the case dismissed. Your criminal records will no longer show the conviction. However, the expungement itself will remain as an item on your record. Note that criminal convictions are not cleared automatically with the passage of time.After as successful expungement, you will be able to answer “no” to the conviction questions on an application. Do be aware, however, that background checks go back 10 years and employers will see that a conviction was expunged. Answering “no” may be dishonest and open up unsettling questions. A better answer may be “yes” expungement granted.” Applying for government jobs does require that you disclose your conviction and the expungement. Be aware that in California the conviction can still be used against you if you are involved in future criminal proceedings. These infractions also include vehicle infractions. In addition, an expungement does not give you rights to possession of firearms or give you back seized firearms.

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CANNOT EXPUNGE IF…

<ul><li>You are currently charged or on probation with a criminal offense and in prison. (Penal Code 1203.4)</li><li>Do not pass the eligibility test.</li><li>If your felony is a violent offense, then you are not eligible for expungement</li><li>A serious sexual offence plus prison time will prevent you from expunging your record. If you ae granted an expungement for sex crimes, you will still be required to register as a sex offender. (Penal Code 288 PC)</li><li>Statutory rape with a minor under the age of 16 (Penal Code 261.5(d))</li></ul>

How to Expunge a Felony in California

<p>Before you can be granted a California expungement under Penal Code 1203.4 PC, you need to take several steps. You can do this yourself or ask the assistance of an attorney.</p><ol><li>Before you begin this process, we insist that you <a draggable=”false” href=”https://www.felonyrecordhub.com/test/expungement”>take this eligibility test</a> to determine if you’re eligible to expunge your record.</li><li>If you are eligible, you should talk to the lawyer that we refer you to so that you get an idea of the price for their services (it’s likely cheaper than you think because expungements are mostly paperwork) and see what other helpful information they can give you.</li><li>If you are <u>not</u> eligible for expungement based on our test, then you should stop here.</li><li>If you are eligible based on our test and want to do this without a lawyer, continue reading.</li><li>In California, the forms you must fill out are called PC 1203 forms. These are blank forms you fill out by checking different boxes and providing information. Additionally, fill out a blank Order of Dismissal form.</li><li>You will need to file under PC § 17(b)(3) to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor. You can get this form from your local courthouse.</li><li>You will also need to file a Petition to Dismiss a Misdemeanor after your sentence has been successful reduced. The forms for felony reduction are available any state court house.</li><li>If you committed a felony but served time in country jail, file your paperwork under PC§12203.41.</li><li>Once you have all the information on the case you want to expunge, you can <a href=”https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/idtheft/forms/bcia-8270.pdf”>get the forms to fill out here</a> or check with your local court house.</li></ol>

Can You Seal Your Criminal Record in California?

To seal an arrest records in California, you must show you are factually innocent. This means that no reasonable cause exists to prove that you committed the offense. It does not matter if you were not convicted and your case was dismissed, you must show that you were innocent.

Do note that sealing cases can be complex and involves working with evidence. Sealing your case can be challenging, but it literally “seal” all records of an arrest that did not lead to a conviction.

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CANNOT SEAL IF…

<ul><li>The arrest resulted in a conviction or some form of diversion program. This is pursuant to Penal Code section 851.8<strong>. </strong></li></ul>

How to Seal Your Criminal Record in California

<p>When your record is sealed, it cannot be accessed by trying to find criminal records. If you are being considered for employment or trying to get a loan these records cannot be looked at during a background check. You are legally able to deny the criminal records. The records still exist, but only a court order to unseal the records can make those accounts accessible.</p><ol><li>Before you begin this process, we insist that you <a draggable=”false” href=”https://www.felonyrecordhub.com/test/expungement”>take this eligibility test</a> to determine if you’re eligible to seal your record.</li><li>If you are eligible, you should talk to the lawyer that we refer you to so that you get an idea of the price for their services (it’s likely cheaper than you think because expungements are mostly paperwork) and see what other helpful information they can give you.</li><li>If you are <u>not</u> eligible to seal your record based on our test, then you should stop here.</li><li>If you are eligible to seal your record based on our test and want to do this without a lawyer, continue reading.</li><li><a href=”https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/idtheft/forms/bcia-8270.pdf”>This is the website</a> to find the forms for Petition to Seal and Destroy Adult Arrest Records.  If you were arrested, but no charges were filed, petition the arresting agency for relief. (That would be the sheriff of police office that arrested you.) Once you convince the agency that you were innocent, the department will seal the arrest records for three years and then destroy the records.</li><li>If the agency will not help you, then petition the court. Prove that although you were charged with a crime the charges were dismissed or you were acquitted.</li><li>You have up to two years from the date of your arrest or the filing of the accusatory pleading to have your criminal records sealed.</li><li>It is your responsibility to show any affidavits, police reports, or declarations or evidence that might support the petition to seal your criminal records. Keep the records safe and make sure they are complete.</li></ol>

Can You Apply for a Pardon in California?

Article V, Section 8 of the California Constitution gives the Governor the authority to grant pardons. Applicants for a traditional pardon must directly contact the governor’s Office. The address is: Governor’s Office, Attention Legal Affairs Secretary, State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814.

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CANNOT PARDON IF…

<ul><li>You have not earned the right for a pardon. You must prove that you are now a productive and law-abiding citizen after your conviction.</li><li>You cannot be pardoned for a conviction in California from another jurisdiction. This mean if you were convicted in another state or at a federal proceeding you cannot be pardoned in California..</li></ul>

How to Apply for a Pardon in California

If you were convicted of a crime and you feel you have been prosecuted unfairly, feel y9ou are penitent you may try to get a pardon. A pardon is clemency in the form of an Executive order that forgives you for your crime. You will still have the crime on your record, but you do not have to sever your penalties and are free from certain restrictions.

<ol><li>Before you begin this process, we insist that you <a href=”https://www.felonyrecordhub.com/test/expungement”>take this eligibility test</a> to determine if you’re eligible to request a pardon for your record.  In most cases, if you are eligible for expungement on our test, then you’ll be eligible for a pardon.</li><li>If you are eligible, you should talk to the lawyer that we refer you to so that you get an idea of the price for their services (it’s likely cheaper than you think because requesting a pardon is mostly paperwork) and see what other helpful information they can give you. </li><li>If you are <u>not</u> eligible based on our test, then you should stop here. </li><li>If you are eligible based on our test and want to do this without a lawyer, continue reading.</li><li>Obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation from the Superior Count in the country where you currently live. You can also write to Attorney General’s Office, California Department of Justice, Attn: Public Inquiry Unit PO Box 944255 Sacramento, CA 94244-2550.</li><li>You can also obtain an application for a Certificate of Rehabilitation from the court clerk, probation department, or public defender’s office. Once you have sent in the certificate there may be an investigation by the district attorney and hearing could be scheduled.</li><li>A Certificate of Rehabilitation is a court order stating that you are now rehabilitated. Note: there are special rules that apply to sex offenders.</li><li>Once the court issues a Certificate of Rehabilitation, the certificate is sent to the Governor’s office. It is now an application for a pardon. Note: This does not mean you will be granted a pardon.</li><li>If you live outside California and are ineligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation you must use a direct pardon application. Each procedure depends on your circumstances.</li><li>If you are ineligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, you may petition for a direct pardon. This is generally used for those who live outside the state of California or who have been convicted of a specified sex offense. <a href=”https://www.gov.ca.gov/docs/Application_for_Pardon.pdf”>You</a> can click here to find the form you need.</li><li>Also, <a href=”https://www.gov.ca.gov/docs/How_To_Apply_for_a_Pardon.pdf”>use this website</a> for more information.</li></ol><p>So, there you have it.  Three separate ways to get rid of your record in California.  As we’ve said numerous times throughout this page, this is a really complicated process and we highly recommend that you <a draggable=”false” href=”https://www.felonyrecordhub.com/test/expungement”>take this eligibility test</a> prior to taking any action to determine if you are eligible for any of these options.</p>

Please note, the information contained here is not legal advice and is strictly informational.  If you have any further questions about the information above, or in general, you need to contact a lawyer directly.

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