Clearing Your Criminal Record

If you have been convicted of a crime in the past, you have the absolute right to clear your criminal record and enjoy a “fresh start” without the baggage of a prior criminal record.  A qualified criminal expungement lawyer can have your record cleared or “expunged” without you having to ever appear in court.

Criminal Records Expungement Lawyer Anthony A. Arzili has handled hundreds of expungements over the last decade and he brings that experience and knowledge to your particular situation.   This means that no matter how difficult or complicated your particular expungement, Criminal Record Expungement Lawyer Anthony Arzili has seen it and has handled it.   This is particularly important because many “do it yourself” expungement firms or websites that promise to handle your expungements may not provide you the PERSONAL PREPARATION AND ATTENTION of a QUALIFIED CRIMINAL RECORDS EXPUNGEMENT ATTORNEY.

From handling expungements for nearly a decade, we will list some of the most common questions and our answers.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free phone evaluation by the attorney.

What exactly does having my record expunged mean?
In plain English, it means that the Judge will allow you to withdraw your guilty plea on your old criminal case and enter a NOT GUILTY plea in its place.  Then, the judge will DISMISS the CHARGES against you.   The case is then closed.
What are some reasons why I should “expunge” or clear my record?
There are many reasons why you should expunge your record, but the ones I hear most often are the following:

  1. Job Applications/Promotions: Most persons want to acquire good jobs or move up in the present company and don’t want a criminal record holding them back.After you successfully expunge your record, you can legally answer “NO” to a question of whether you’ve ever been convicted of a crime.
  2. State Licensing Jobs. Some jobs that require state licenses require you to Expunge any prior convictions prior to admittance and granting of a license.   For example, if you would like to get your real estate license and you have a prior conviction, it will help your situation if you expunge your record prior to your application.  This will show that you are responsible enough to take care of your prior conviction and have it dismissed.
  3. Personal Pride.  Most people that I’ve helped gain expungements tell me That they feel a weight lifted off their shoulders knowing that they’ve cleared something from their past.
  4. Immigration Applications.  Although an expungement will not prevent the INS from learning about your conviction, it may help show that you’ve handled probation successfully and the court has rewarded you with an expungement.
Does an expungement erase my record completely “off the books”?
The simple answer is no.  Any criminal record is always going to be seen if someone runs a background check.  What an expungement does is it allows you to tell an employer you’ve never been convicted and if they check, it will show that your record has been dismissed.

Even if you expunge your record, an old conviction can be used to enhance the penalties in a new criminal case that you’ve picked up.  Prosecutors can always use old cases to enhance penalties, whether they are expunged or not.

Also, an expungement does not return your right to possess firearms or relieve you of your duty to register as a sex offender for life pursuant to Penal Code Section 290.

How does the expungement process work?
After our attorneys get some basic information from you, we research your prior case, prepare the petition, serve a copy on the District Attorney and calendar the matter for a hearing.  In almost all cases, you need not appear at the hearing and our attorneys will handle all the paperwork and the hearing.
I was thinking about handling the expungement myself, is it a good idea?
Although an attorney is not necessary, an expungement attorney can prevent you from the common pitfalls that may cause you more money and unnecessary delays.  If you miss some of the procedural requirements, your application may be delayed or denied.  It will then cost you even more to fix your situation and do it right.
How long does the process take?
From beginning to end, the entire process could take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks.  We have a policy of filing our expungements within 7 days from being hired.  This speeds up the process and gets your record cleared fast.
How do I know if I qualify to have my record expunged?
The easiest way to know for sure is to consult with us and we’ll be able to tell you.   The consultation is free so simply call us at (562) 907-4448 and we can usually determine your eligibility right away.
Another attorney told me you can’t expunge a felony, is that right?
True story.  I had a client with a felony who had consulted with another attorney who had told him that a felony can not be expunged.   That is actually not true.  You can expunge your felonies, as long as 1)you were granted probation and 2)the felony isn’t one of a specified group of sexual assaults.  We can usually tell you over the phone if we can help you.
Can you reduce my felony to a misdemeanor?
Yes, if your felony was what we call a “wobbler.”  A wobbler is a felony crime that could also be charged as a misdemeanor.  Some common examples are Grand Theft, DUI, and Assault charges.  Once we know whether we can reduce your felony, the next process is a Penal Code 17B motion.   Once the court grants the motion to reduce, we then move to dismiss your case and your record is expunged.
I was arrested, charges were never filed, but the arrest record won’t go away!
It seems unfair.  No charges were filed, but you are going to be haunted by the record of your arrest forever.   Just because your charges are not filed, does not destroy your arrest record.  The process by which an arrest record is sealed and then destroyed is called a motion for factual innocence or a PC 851.8.  Anthony A. Arzili has done many of these motions with fabulous results.  The odds are stacked against you, because you essentially have to prove that the there was no reasonable cause to believe this crime occurred.  The burden is on us.  Even with such a high burden, I’ve been able to have a great track record of success on these motions.  The key is, I am not going to waste your money if you don’t have a good chance at winning.

The petition takes a lot of work and time but preparation is the key to winning these motions.  The better the petition that you submit to the court, the better your chances for having your arrest record sealed.

How does this process work and how long does it take?
Having your arrest record cleared starts with an investigation by your attorney.   We need to find out as much as we can about your arrest and the circumstances surrounding your arrest.   We will need the original police report on your arrest.  We may also need to interview possible witnesses and prepare declarations.  Once the petition is ready, we will file it with the local courthouse and serve a copy on the District Attorney’s office and the arresting agency.   A hearing is then held in open court, where a judge decides whether to grant or deny our motion.

If the motion is granted, the Judge orders that the law enforcement agency to seal its records of your arrest for 3 years and thereafter destroy all the records.  The court also notifies the Department of Justice to remove the arrest from its records.  The arrest then disappears from your record and can never be used against you.

The process for clearing your criminal records could take anywhere from 3-6 months, depending on the complexity of the issues.

Can you terminate formal felony probation?
Yes, you can terminate or modify formal probation to informal probation under the same procedures listed in the previous answer.  If you are doing well under formal probation, we can petition to have your probation reverted to informal probation.
What if I just don’t know what I’m eligible for?
You can set up a free phone consultation with our office and we’ll let you know how to clear up your criminal record.  Please call us at 562-907-4448.
What courts do you cover?
We handle expungements in all Los Angeles Courts.  We are Whittier expungement criminal defense attorneys, Norwalk expungement criminal defense attorneys, Compton expungement criminal defense lawyers, Downey expungement criminal defense lawyers, Pasadena expungement criminal defense attorneys.  Los Angeles expungement criminal defense attorney.  Bellflower expungement criminal defense attorney.  Glendale expungement attorney.  West Covina Expungement Attorneys.