Top Law Guide

How Can I Clean Up My Criminal Record?

Anyone who has ever been convicted in the US knows that you will be feeling the consequences long after you’ve served the prison sentence or custody, gone through probation, and paid the fines. Having a criminal record makes it extremely difficult to find a job, rent an apartment or go abroad for a vacation. Whatever you’ve planned, a criminal record will make sure you meet a lot of bumps along that road.

However, there is a way to clean up your record and get a clean slate. The process of cleaning your criminal record is different from state to state. However, many of the steps are similar regardless of the state you live in. In this article, we will take theCalifornian criminal law as an example of how to get your criminal record expunged.

What Do You Get from Expungement

As we previously mentioned, any employer will have access to your criminal record and chances are this is going to make finding a job extremely difficult. Most employers will likely not even look through your recommendation if they see you have a recorded criminal offense.

However, though expungement you can withdraw your plea. It can help you get rid of convictions, felonies, and misdemeanors and dismiss your charges in most cases. The greatest benefit of expungement is that employers will not be able to consider, look for or ask about the expunged criminal offense, although there are certain exceptions. There are several other ways to get a clean slate as well.

How to Clean Your Criminal Record in California

There are several ways to get a fresh start in California.  Which one will work best for you depends on your case, the type of charge and the sentence you’ve been given.


An expungement is an option for most misdemeanors, felonies, and infractions if your case was resolved without a prison sentence. You are also viable for expungement if you’ve only served local custody or probation. However, you are not eligible if you are currently on probation, have other cases awaiting trial or are serving a sentence for another crime as quoted here:

If your case is expunged, the criminal record will not contain the details of your case but will show that there was a dismissal in the Expungement section. However, an employer cannot ask about the dismissed case, look for the dismissed case or use it as a reason to fire you or not to employ or promote you under the California Labor Code 432.7.

However, the expunged conviction can be used as a prior for any future sentence. This means that it can affect your future penalties and can impeach you as a witness in a case. Furthermore, if the conviction resulted in losing your firearm, you will not be able to obtain a firearm license or rights to firearm possession. Finally, an expunged case may also result in your driver’s license being revoked or suspended by the DMV.

Changing the Status of Felonies to Misdemeanors

Not all felonies can be reduced to misdemeanors, but most of them are eligible under the Penal Code Section 17(b). This can help you clean up your criminal record as you will lose the status of a felon. Felons are not allowed to possess a firearm. But if your felony is reduced to a misdemeanor you will be granted that right again depending on the offense. If your felony can be reduced and if you are eligible for an expungement, you can do both at the same time.

Under Proposition 47 some drug possession and theft charges can be reduced to misdemeanors. Similarly, under Proposition 64 you can clean up many marijuana-related charges due to the legalization of the drug for recreational purposes. Both propositions are fairly new additions to the California law.

Certificate of Rehabilitation

Offenders who served a sentence in a state prison can obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation. This document can increase their chances to obtain a license by a state board and shows that the felon is rehabilitated. This can improve their chances of getting employed and can be an automatic request for pardon if granted. However, these are rarely granted.

If you are looking for an experienced criminal attorney in California contact the Monder Law Group at 424 F Street, San Diego, CA, US, 619-405-0063.