1. Getting a Job
The most valuable benefit of expunging your California criminal record is that it can assist you in securing employment, in spite of suffering a criminal conviction.
Today, almost every employer does a background check before hiring a job applicant. The background check is quick, inexpensive, and can be done right from the employer's own computer.
The information retrieved is sometimes incomplete and inaccurate, but generally it reveals the applicant's records of arrests, convictions and probation status. Most employers consider the applicant's criminal record in deciding whether to extend a job offer.
A person whose conviction is expunged can lawfully answer “no” if asked whether he/she has been convicted of a crime. Moreover, the California Code of Regulations says an employer cannot even ask a job applicant about an expunged misdemeanor conviction. It is unclear whether an employer may inquire about expunged felony conviction.
2. State Licenses
To be sure, even after an expungement you must still disclose the conviction in response to any question posed in an application for a state license (such as a contractors license or real estate license) or application for public office.
However, many licensing agencies will condition the award of a state license upon the conviction being expunged, and many will look upon the situation more favorably (or less unfavorably) if the applicant has successfully completed probation and the expungement process.
3. Professional Organizations
Many professional organizations do background checks before inviting someone to join or to hold a position or a seat. Again, the stigma and ill effect of a criminal conviction can be reduced if the case has been dismissed through the expungement procedure.
4. Personal Satisfaction
Many of our clients express a great sense of relief after gaining an expungement. While it does not magically erase the past, it helps bring redemption for a mistake and closure to a frustrating chapter in their lives.
5. Immigration Consequences
An expungement generally does not preclude the immigration consequences of a criminal conviction, such as deportation, denial of admission and denial of naturalization. However, in some instances it can. For example, under Ninth Circuit law, which governs California, an expungement after a simple first-time drug possession offense can help an immigrant avoid otherwise mandatory removal and loss of immigration benefits.
Call us for help
If you or loved one is in need of help with expungements and you are looking to hire an attorney for representation, we invite you to contact us at Shouse Law Group. We can provide a free consultation in office or by phone. We have local offices in Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, Pasadena, Long Beach, Orange County, Ventura, San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Diego, Sacramento, Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose and throughout California.
For information about how to seal Nevada criminal records, go to our article on how to seal Nevada criminal records.