EXPUNGEMENT: WHAT IS IT AND HOW IT WORKS

Contrary to popular belief, cases including arrest records are not cleared automatically with time. Under California Penal Code 1203.4 PC, an expungement is a petition that a defendant in a criminal case can submit to the court. The petition asks the court to allow the defendant to withdraw any plea of guilty or no contest and to seal any existing records of the case. Even if your case meets the requirements for expungement under the law, a judge has the final say. You may be denied, or otherwise, qualify for a full or partial expungement.

People don’t want their loved ones to rot in jail. Therefore, whenever one is arrested and taken to police custody, the first aim should be to opt for bail. Bail allows the defender to get out of the jail and back to normalcy while he waits for a fair trial. The process of getting bail is more or less the same throughout the country. For example, in California, a defendant can rely on 24/7 bail bonds in Sacramento for a fast release from the police custody. If you want the outcome to go in your favor, you must hire experienced attorneys to represent you in the courthouse. After you are done with the trail, you may proceed with the next steps. Continue reading the article to learn about the process of expungement.

  1.  Expungement involves completing court forms, communicating them with agencies having your case records, filing paperwork, and an optional court hearing, all of which takes 4-6 months. You should explain your urgent need for the expungement at the hearing. The government agencies involved in your case may resist the expungement. One should actively seek legal help if they expect several objection letters. However, the final decision is at the hands of the judge. Therefore, you or your attorney has the responsibility to provide satisfactorily respond to objections raised by any party.
  2.  Once the hearing is completed, the court will decide whether to allow expungement and send you a written order regarding the same. The judge can take up to 90 days to issue an order, and if they grant the expungement, the record will be officially sealed after at least 60 days. During this time, avoid getting involved with criminal or suspicious activities and maintain a clean record.
  3.  Sealed cases can be reopened for certain employment checks, including those done by human services, criminal justice agencies, and jobs by the U.S. DoEd. They can also be reopened for future investigations and sentencing.
  4. Usually, one needs an expungement to avoid being denied a job, housing, international travel or a professional license because of prior criminal history. Expungement procedure costs vary based on the law firm you hire, but here are the most common prices (including all court and administrative costs) in Sacramento, California:
  • Misdemeanor (including DUI) — $650
  • Infraction — $595
  • Felony and reduction to a misdemeanor — $850
  • Sealing of Juvenile Records — $750
  • Sealing of Arrest Records under 851.91 PC — $750

Personalized payment plans are available at most firms, and you are usually not required to appear in court for an expungement procedure. Your bail bondsman and an attorney can guide you through the entire process with ease.