03 Oct 23

Expungement Laws and Process in Sacramento

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Last Updated on: 24th October 2023, 06:02 pm


Expungement Laws and Process in Sacramento

Getting an arrest or conviction expunged in Sacramento can be a confusing process. This article provides an overview of expungement laws in California and the specific steps for getting records sealed in Sacramento County.

What is Expungement?

Expungement is the process of sealing criminal records from public view. California does not have true expungement – records are not completely destroyed. Instead, they are marked “dismissed” and become inaccessible to most employers and landlords conducting background checks[1].

However, expunged records are still visible to law enforcement and some state licensing agencies. They can also be used to enhance sentences for future convictions[1].

Benefits of Expungement

Getting an arrest or conviction expunged can remove barriers to:

  • Employment
  • Housing
  • Education
  • Professional licensing

Expungement gives individuals a chance to move on with their lives after serving their sentence. It levels the playing field for job and housing applications.

Eligibility for Expungement

In Sacramento, the following are eligible to apply for expungement[1]:

  • Defendants who were arrested but never charged or convicted
  • Defendants convicted of infractions
  • Defendants convicted of misdemeanors or felonies who have completed probation or received early termination

You are likely ineligible if[1]:

  • You are currently charged with or serving time for another offense
  • You failed to appear in court or pay fines
  • You violated certain Vehicle Code sections
  • Probation was revoked and not reinstated

There are also special eligibility circumstances, like AB 2147, which speeds up expungement for former inmates who worked in conservation camps[1].

Consult an attorney to determine eligibility for felony reduction or expungement of charges related to sex offenses[1].

Sacramento Expungement Process

Follow these steps to get a record expunged in Sacramento County:

1. Obtain Case Information

Gather details like case number, conviction code, date, and court location. This can be found online or by contacting the court clerk.

2. Complete Petition for Dismissal

Fill out Judicial Council Form CR-180. This petition requests the court dismiss your conviction in the interests of justice.

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3. File Petition with Sacramento County Court

Submit the petition and filing fee to the court clerk. Fee waivers are available for low-income petitioners. All documents can be mailed or filed in-person[1].

4. Attend Hearing (If Required)

Some convictions require a hearing before a judge. Check the court website for your hearing date. Felonies always require a hearing[1].

5. Serve Probation Department

Provide a copy of petition to the probation department if you are still on probation. This gives them a chance to object[2].

6. Request Record Updates

If approved, request conviction records be updated at DOJ and DMV. This ensures it is cleared from background checks.

The entire expungement process takes around 6 months in Sacramento. It costs $150 to file the petition, plus any attorney fees if you hire legal help[1].

Automated Expungement in California

A new law taking effect in 2022 will automatically clear eligible conviction and arrest records after the sentence is complete. Instead of petitioning the court, qualifying records will be sealed within a few years[3].

This law will automatically expunge an estimated 200,000 records without requiring any action on the part of the individual[4]. Advocates hope it will help people gain employment and reintegrate into society.

Finding Legal Help for Expungement

Getting an attorney to help with the expungement process can greatly increase your chance of success. The Public Defender’s Office provides assistance for qualifying individuals – call 916-874-5732 or email[2].

You can also contact local legal aid organizations like Legal Services of Northern California or the Sacramento County Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service to find an affordable attorney.

Checking Expungement Status

It takes around 6 months to complete the expungement process in Sacramento. You can check the status of your petition online through the court’s Public Case Access System about a week after filing[1].

Call the court clerk if you have additional questions about your case status. Do not miss your hearing date if one is scheduled.