Many states, including California, have recently expanded laws that allow for criminal record expungement. While that is good news for California residents who have made some poor decisions in their past, there is no guarantee that criminal record expungement completely erases any blemish on an individual’s record. While expungement is a wonderful option, there are several things to consider with it.
The Clean Slate Campaign
Unfortunately, even when a person’s criminal record is expunged, it is still legal for criminal justice systems to keep an online database of that individual’s record. Backed by the Center for American Progress, the Clean Slate Campaign is a movement that seeks to make changes to this aspect of record expungement. The Clean Slate Campaign is pushing states to adopt policies that would erase the records of certain types of arrests from all records.
What is expungement?
To understand the need for increased criminal record expungement, you need to understand what expungement really is. The definition of “expungement” is “to erase or remove completely.” Unfortunately, the laws in place may keep criminal records from appearing in background checks, but they do not allow for the removal of any history of an arrest from public records.
California expungement laws
As they stand, California’s expungement laws allow for crime expungement/dismissal in the following situations:
- The individual did not serve time in a California state prison.
- The individual fulfilled the terms of his or her probation.
- The crime committed was not one that is ineligible for expungement.
Any individual seeking criminal record expungement should work with an attorney who is familiar with the process. This attorney can review the charges against their client and the process that followed his or her incarceration. Expungement is a wonderful option that a trained attorney could expedite.