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The National Trial Lawyers
1801 Century Park East, Los Angeles, CA 90067

Post Conviction Relief

In addition to the Expungement there are several other post conviction remedies including a Motion To Seal and Destroy Arrest Records. An Expungement of your criminal conviction does not erase the record of your arrest which can be just as damaging as a conviction since many employers ask not just about convictions but arrests as well. Arrest records are easy for any employer to find in a routine background check.

The effect of sealing an arrest record is overwhelming. Your entire record, finger prints, booking photo, arrest report, are sealed and destroyed. It is deleted from the department of justice computer. The arrest is it is considered to never have happened. The arrest does not exist.

The Process to Seal & Destroy Arrest Records is quite lengthy but at the end is well worth the time and effort. We will file a motion to destroy the arrest record so there will be no record whatsoever of your arrest on your "rap sheet". This is filed under Penal Code Section 851.8.

Once the records are sealed and destroyed, your record is deleted it's like the arrest never occurred. The Department of Justice will delete references to the arrest from your rap sheet. And the law enforcement agency will provide you a written declaration stating that states that you are "factually innocent" of the criminal offense. This will deem you "exonerated" of all criminal liability.

California Penal Code 1203.3 PC allows a judge to terminate a defendant's probation ahead of schedule. If the judge grants an early termination of probation, the court will often expunge the criminal record and (in felony wobbler , cases) reduce the felony to a misdemeanor at the same time. Before terminating your probation early, the judge will want to ensure that you have successfully completed the terms of your probation (such as fines, classes or restitution), and there are circumstances that justify early termination.

Valid reasons may include (but are not limited to) the fact that your probation is keeping you from securing gainful employment, preventing you from advancing at work, or restricting necessary travel.

Penal Code 1203.3 gives the court the discretion to grant a request for early termination of probation at any time during the probation period.2 In practice, however, most judges want to see people complete at least 12 to 18 months of the probation before they will seriously consider the motion.

If someone is on Probation and wants to expunge their conviction and are still on Probation a Motion for Early Termination is required and are often granted if the client has abided by the terms of probation and has lead an otherwise law abiding life.

Certain felony convictions may able to be reduced to misdemeanors so they are eligible to be expunged pursuant to 1203.4. These offenses are what as known as wobblers. These are crimes that can be charged by a Prosecutor as either a Felony or a Misdemeanor. Common wobbler offenses include DUI, Domestic Violence, and even Burglary. In order to obtain a reduction from a Felony to a Misdemeanor a motion to reduce the conviction to a misdemeanor can be filed and are often filed in conjunction with the expungement motion.

Even Felons who have spent time in State Prison can apply for certain kinds of post conviction relief. In California, there are two ways that someone sentenced to state prison can obtain relief: the Certificate of Rehabilitation and Pardon, and the Direct Application for Pardon.

A full criminal pardon, whether direct or through criminal rehabilitation proceedings, restores all of the rights and privileges of which the person was deprived by reason of the conviction, with some exceptions. In addition, a pardon relieves a sex offender of the duty to register under Penal Code Section 290. But a criminal pardon does not automatically restore any license, permit, or certificate that had been taken as the result of the conviction.

A governor's pardon is granted only to individuals who have demonstrated a high standard of constructive behavior following conviction for a felony, or in some cases, for certain specified misdemeanor sex offenses. Obtaining a criminal pardon is a distinct achievement based upon proof of a useful, productive, and law-abiding life following conviction.

Certificates of Rehabilitation are first sought from the trial court. If a certificate issues, the trial court recommends that the governor grant a criminal pardon. The governor has discretion to grant or deny a criminal pardon. The criminal pardon may be granted without further investigation, except in instances where a person twice convicted of felonies must also have the recommendation of a majority of the state supreme court.

If you have been arrested or convicted of a crime there are numerous mechanisms to clean up your record and put your past behind you. Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Brian Michaels has a perfect record in obtaining post conviction relief for his clients.