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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:

Christine Twomey
Christine Twomey
Just had my Divorce case settled 2 months ago after having a horrible experience with another firm. I couldn’t be happier with Claire Banks and Elizabeth Garvey with their outstanding professionalism in doing so with Spodek Law Group. Any time I needed questions answered they were always prompt in doing so with all my uncertainties after 30 yrs of marriage.I feel from the bottom of my heart you will NOT be disappointed with either one. Thanks a million.
Brendan huisman
Brendan huisman
Alex Zhik contacted me almost immediately when I reached out to Spodek for a consultation and was able to effectively communicate the path forward/consequences of my legal issue. I immediately agreed to hire Alex for his services and did not regret my choice. He was able to cover my case in court (with 1 day notice) and not only was he able to push my case down, he carefully negotiated a dismissal of the charge altogether. I highly recommend Spodek, and more specifically, Alex Zhik for all of your legal issues. Thanks guys!
Guerline Menard
Guerline Menard
Thanks again Spodek law firm, particularly Esq Claire Banks who stood right there with us up to the finish line. Attached photos taken right outside of the court building and the smile on our faces represented victory, a breath of fresh air and satisfaction. We are very happy that this is over and we can move on with our lives. Thanks Spodek law 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼🙌🏼❤️
Keisha Parris
Keisha Parris
Believe every single review here about Alex Z!! From our initial consultation, it was evident that Alex possessed a profound understanding of criminal law and a fierce dedication to his clients rights. Throughout the entirety of my case, Alex exhibited unparalleled professionalism and unwavering commitment. What sets Alex apart is not only his legal expertise but also his genuine compassion for his clients. He took the time to thoroughly explain my case, alleviating any concerns I had along the way. His exact words were “I’m not worried about it”. His unwavering support and guidance were invaluable throughout the entire process. I am immensely grateful for Alex's exceptional legal representation and wholeheartedly recommend his services to anyone in need of a skilled criminal defense attorney. Alex Z is not just a lawyer; he is a beacon of hope for those navigating the complexities of the legal system. If you find yourself in need of a dedicated and competent legal advocate, look no further than Alex Z.
Taïko Beauty
Taïko Beauty
I don’t know where to start, I can write a novel about this firm, but one thing I will say is that having my best interest was their main priority since the beginning of my case which was back in Winter 2019. Miss Claire Banks, one of the best Attorneys in the firm represented me very well and was very professional, respectful, and truthful. Not once did she leave me in the dark, in fact she presented all options and routes that could possibly be considered for my case and she reinsured me that no matter what I decided to do, her and the team will have my back and that’s exactly what happened. Not only will I be liberated from this case, also, I will enjoy my freedom and continue to be a mother to my first born son and will have no restrictions with accomplishing my goals in life. Now that’s what I call victory!! I thank the Lord, My mother, Claire, and the Spodek team for standing by me and fighting with me. Words can’t describe how grateful I am to have the opportunity to work with this team. I’m very satisfied, very pleased with their performance, their hard work, and their diligence. Thank you team!
Anthony Williams
Anthony Williams
Hey, how you guys doing? Good afternoon my name is Anthony Williams I just want to give a great shout out to the team of. Spodek law group. It is such a honor to use them and to use their assistance through this whole case from start to finish. They did everything that they said they was gonna do and if it ever comes down to it, if I ever have to use them again, hands-down they will be the first law office at the top of my list, thank you guys so much. It was a pleasure having you guys by my side so if you guys ever need them, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give them a call.
Loveth Okpedo
Loveth Okpedo
Very professional, very transparent, over all a great experience
Bee L
Bee L
Amazing experience with Spodek! Very professional lawyers who take your case seriously. They treated me with respect, were always available, and answered any and all questions. They were able to help me very successfully and removed a huge stress. Highly recommend.
divesh patel
divesh patel
I can't recommend Alex Zhik and Spodek Law Firm highly enough for their exceptional legal representation and personal mentorship. From the moment I engaged their services in October 2022, Alex took the time to understand my case thoroughly and provided guidance every step of the way. Alex's dedication to my case went above and beyond my expectations. His expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving the best possible outcome were evident throughout the entire process. He took the time to mentor me, ensuring I understood the legal complexities involved to make informed decisions. Alex is the kind of guy you would want to have a beer with and has made a meaningful impact on me. I also want to acknowledge Todd Spodek, the leader of the firm, who played a crucial role in my case. His leadership and support bolstered the efforts of Alex, and his involvement highlighted the firm's commitment to excellence. Thanks to Alex Zhik and Todd Spodek, I achieved the outcome I desired, and I am incredibly grateful for their professionalism, expertise, and genuine care. If you're in need of legal representation, look no further than this outstanding team.
  • 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

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