Getting Your Record Sealed in San Francisco with a Criminal Defense Lawyer


Getting Your Record Sealed in San Francisco with a Criminal Defense Lawyer

Having a criminal record can make life real tough. It can be hard to get a job, rent an apartment, or even just feel good about yourself. But in San Francisco, you may be able to get your record sealed or expunged with the help of a criminal defense lawyer. Keep reading this article I wrote to learn more about sealing your criminal record in SF.

What is Getting Your Record Sealed?

When you get arrested or convicted of a crime, that goes on your criminal record permanently. Well, usually anyway. Getting your record sealed means going to court to ask a judge to order your criminal record to be sealed or destroyed. Poof! Its like it never happened. Pretty sweet deal if you can get it.

If the judge says yes and seals your record, then the arrest or conviction won’t show up on background checks no more. It’ll be like it never happened. Seems like magic right? But it’s for real.

Who Can Get Their Record Sealed in San Francisco?

California has a law called Penal Code Section 851.8 that allows people to get their records sealed if they were arrested but never charged or convicted. So if you got arrested but the DA dropped the charges, you can ask the judge to seal it. Pretty cool!

There’s also other laws like Penal Code 1203.4 and 1203.4a that allow you to ask the judge to seal your record if you got probation or finished your sentence. But it depends on the crime and your background. Better call Saul Goodman a criminal defense lawyer to see if you qualify.

Why Should I Get My Record Sealed?

Having a criminal record can really suck. It can mess up your life in all kinds of ways:

  • Harder to get a job – Lot’s of employers do background checks
  • Harder to find housing – Landlords screen for criminal records too
  • Can’t get professional licenses – Need to be clean record for many careers
  • Immigration problems – Crimes can get you deported or denied citizenship

So getting your record sealed can be a total game-changer. It’s like pressing the reset button on your life. Who wouldn’t want that?

How Does the Record Sealing Process Work?

Here’s a quick rundown of how to get your criminal record sealed in San Francisco:

  1. Find out if you’re eligible – Talk to a defense lawyer to see if you qualify
  2. File a petition – Ask the court to seal your record
  3. Serve the DA – Give notice to the prosecutor
  4. Attend a hearing – Go to court and argue your case
  5. Hope the judge says yes! – Cross your fingers for a good outcome

There’s a bunch of forms and paperwork involved, so having a lawyer handle everything for you makes it way easier. The rules can be confusing too, so you want someone who knows all the tricks of the trade.

Should I Hire a Criminal Defense Lawyer?

Trying to get your record sealed without a lawyer is a bad idea. Here’s some reasons why:

  • Knowledge of the law – All the rules are complicated
  • Experience with the process – Done it many times before
  • Relationships with judges – Know the right things to say
  • Avoid mistakes – Get it right the first time
  • Better chances – Lawyers get better results

So hiring a criminal defense lawyer who specializes in record sealing gives you the best shot at success. Better call Saul! It’s worth the money to increase your odds.

How Much Does Record Sealing Cost in San Francisco?

The cost to seal your criminal record in SF can vary quite a bit, but plan on spending $3,000 – $5,000 total. Here’s a breakdown of typical costs:

  • Attorney fees – $2,000 – $3,000
  • Filing fees – $100 – $200
  • Other costs – $500 – $1,000

It ain’t cheap, but it’s worth every penny if you can get your record sealed. A clean slate is priceless. You can’t put a cost on better job opportunities, housing, and a fresh start. Invest in your future.

What Are My Chances of Getting My Record Sealed in SF?

In San Francisco, you’ve got a pretty good shot at getting your record sealed compared to other places. SF is generally more progressive about giving folks a second chance. But your individual chances depend on:

  • Your criminal history – More serious/recent crimes are harder
  • Type of offense – Some charges have better success rates
  • Your background – Age, employment, education matter
  • Which judge you get – Some are more lenient than others

Talk to a defense lawyer to get an honest assessment of your chances. But in SF, there’s definitely hope even if you got a conviction. Don’t give up without trying.

What Crimes Can Be Sealed in San Francisco?

Many different types of crimes can potentially be sealed in SF if you meet the requirements. Some of the most common include:

  • Misdemeanors – Like DUIs, petty theft, minor drug charges
  • Non-violent felonies – Drug possession, fraud, property crimes
  • Old convictions – Charges from long ago may qualify
  • Juvenile records – Mistakes as a minor often can be sealed

Violent crimes like robbery, assault, sex offenses are tough, but a lawyer may still be able to help. Never hurts to try.

Should I Just Try on My Own?

You can request to seal your criminal record without a lawyer, but it’s really not smart. Without legal counsel, you probably won’t fill out the paperwork right, say the right things in court, and know how to convince the judge.

Hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney who specializes in record sealing gives you the best shot. They know all the ins-and-outs of the process and how to get it done right. Don’t gamble with your future – get a lawyer!

How Do I Find a Good Criminal Defense Lawyer in SF?

Looking for the best criminal defense lawyer to seal your record in San Francisco? Here’s a few tips:

  • Search online for “sf record sealing attorney” or “sf expungement lawyer”
  • Check reviews on Google, Yelp, Avvo
  • Ask friends for referrals
  • Look for a lawyer experienced with record sealing
  • Meet with a few lawyers before choosing one

Take your time to find the right lawyer for your case. This is an important decision, so do your research to pick a great one.

What If I Can’t Afford a Lawyer?

If you can’t afford a criminal defense lawyer, don’t panic. Here are some options:

  • Payment plans – Many lawyers work with you on payments
  • Borrow money – Ask friends/family or take out a loan
  • Public defender – Get a free court-appointed lawyer
  • Legal aid organizations – May offer free or low-cost help

You can also try negotiating flat fees or capped costs with private attorneys. It’s worth it to find the money somehow – this is your future on the line!

Should I Just Give Up?

Even if your criminal record seems hopeless, don’t give up on getting it sealed! An experienced SF expungement attorney may know loopholes, arguments, and strategies to convince the judge. There’s always hope.

The only way to guarantee failure is if you don’t try at all. So don’t throw in the towel – at least speak to a lawyer. You have nothing to lose and a clean slate to gain.

Ready to Get Your San Francisco Criminal Record Sealed?

Hopefully this article gave you a good overview of the record sealing process in SF and how a defense lawyer can help. Your criminal record doesn’t have to hold you back forever.

Take control of your future and call a lawyer today to see if you can get your record sealed. You’ll be glad you did!

Good luck and Godspeed my friends!


California Penal Code 851.8 – Sealing Arrest Records

California Penal Code 1203.4 – Sealing Conviction Records

Getting Your Record Cleared in California