Because of the challenging job market, as well as the significance employers place in evaluating potential employees' criminal record history prior to offering a job, I thought that a discussion about expungement would be a timely subject.
The focus on this article will be misdemeanor cases, as well as the timeline for expungements, in California cases. In answer to the title question, a misdemeanor expungement in California can take a few weeks to a few months. Many courts in California are backlogged with expungement cases. For example, in Los Angeles County, many expungements will take two months just to be calendared in a courtroom. However, a local attorney with a good working relationship in a specific courtroom may be able to speed the process along faster, with the concurrence of the prosecutor, judge, and court clerk.
California eligibility and timeline is based on the specific circumstances of a person's case, as well as any other cases, which may exist. These are the steps which are important to evaluate.
Step 1. Is the misdemeanor conviction statutorily eligible for an expungement?
Because of legislative changes in California, most misdemeanor cases are eligible for expungement consideration. Some expungements are mandatory, while others are discretionary. (While there are a few exceptions, an expungement attorney should be able to research your specific case fairly quickly, to determine questions of case eligibility.)
Step 2. Status of the case?
Are you on probation in your criminal case?
If so, you are not yet eligible for an expungement. However, there may be a way to speed up this process, as you will read, below.
Are you on probation in any other case?
If you are on probation in another case, you are not eligible for expungement. Again, there may be a way to move this process forward, as you will see.
Do you have any other pending case?
If you have a pending criminal case, other than the case which you seek to expunge, you are not yet eligible for expungement.
Have you successfully completed the entire period of probation, or had probation terminated early?
If either of these two scenarios exists, and you do not have any other pending cases, the expungement process will likely be available. You should obtain advice about your specific situation from your attorney to determine the most suitable process for you.
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