1203.4Expungement tends to be a joyful word for criminal defendants. In California, those with a criminal record have the option to wipe a misdemeanor from their record to clean up their past mistakes.

For this process, hiring the right attorney is crucial. There is an abundance of paperwork and filing that needs to be done, so an attorney that pays close attention to detail and aggressively advocates for her clients is essential.

The first step is ensuring the defendant has complied with all the terms of his probation or court order since the occurrence of the crime. Once it is shown that the defendant did not violate probation or commit a violation of a court order, the attorney makes sure enough time has elapsed since the conviction. After three years has gone by, the attorney will begin filing an expungement petition for relief under Penal Code Section 1203.4. After serving the defendant with these forms and properly filling out the paperwork, the forms are taken to the court to be stamped and approved by both the clerk’s office and the District Attorney’s Office. Afterwards, the forms are filed and the defendant will find out if his record has been expunged four to six weeks later.

There is also a newly passed law in California, Proposition 47, which allows certain crimes formerly labeled as felonies to be reduced to a misdemeanor. In a two-step process, these felonies, which are generally drug-related incidents, can be reduced through Prop 47 to misdemeanors and then expunged thereafter with the 1203.4 forms. An experienced attorney can wipe these matters from a criminal record so defendants can avoid the harsh penalties that come from having a record.

Having a criminal record can keep an individual from getting a job, applying for licenses, or moving up in the world. These types of convictions can truly hinder the growth of a person and his or her ability to seek employment or maintain a current job, so it is crucial to follow the above procedure.

If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, or their professional license is at risk, contact Attorney Miranda McCroskey for an immediate free consultation at (714) 389-2257 or email her at mmccroskey@whbllp.com.

Miranda is a partner at Wilson Harvey Browndorf in Irvine, heading the criminal defense department.

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