Of the two main types of crimes out there, a felony is the most serious. In California, any crime that can carry a sentence of more than one year is considered a felony offense. This is the deciding factor on whether a crime would be labeled a felony or classified under the less grave category of a misdemeanor.
Felonies can be violent crimes, such as murder or sexual assault. But nonviolent offenses, such as theft or fraud, can also be felonies, depending on the scale of the crime itself.
The sentences for a felony can range anywhere from a year to life in prison. However, even if a crime is classified as a felony, that does not automatically guarantee time in prison. Often, first-time offenders or those who have committed less serious crimes may be sentenced to felony probation or to pay a fine of up to $10,000.
What is Expungement?
Expungement is a legal procedure that either lessens or removes an offense from your criminal record completely. In California, an expungement allows a defendant to withdraw any plea of guilty or no contest, re-enter a plea of not guilty and then have the case dismissed.
If expungement is granted, the defendant is released from all penalties and disabilities that come with a felony conviction.
Once a felony crime has been successfully expunged, it need not be disclosed to potential employers, thus providing a fresh start, free of the restrictions and limitations that come with having a felony record.
Who Qualifies for Expungement and Who Does Not?
For a person to qualify for expungement, several conditions must be met. First: the defendant must have completed probation for the offense they wish to have expunged. Second: they must not have served time in state prison for the criminal case.
Those currently charged with a criminal offense, are on probation, or are serving a sentence for a criminal offense are not eligible for expungement. Additionally, those who have committed serious sex offenses against children are not eligible for expungement, even if all the other criteria for expungement have been met.
What Can You Do to Expunge a Felony?
The first step in obtaining an expungement, especially if you want the best chance of success, is to hire an attorney. It can be a complex and time-consuming process, and an experienced California can ensure you are on the right path.
Your attorney can then help you fill out and file the proper forms and eventually file for the expungement itself. They will then prepare you for the expungement hearing, where a judge will decide whether to grant or deny an expungement. Contact our law firm at (562) 462-9233 to learn more about expungement and how we can help you.