Having a felony on your record can negatively impact both your personal and profession life. A felony can diminish your chances of finding gainful employment, of being promoted, buying a home, furthering your education, and much more. Having a felony on your record also creates a stigma that may be affecting your personal life.
Though you currently have a felony on your record, you may be eligible to expunge the conviction. By expunging your felony, you are making a conscious effort to change your circumstances by becoming a responsible member of society. Once your expungement has been granted, your record will no longer appear on most background checks for employment or housing, and you can legally say that you have never been convicted of the crime.
Before applying for a felony expungement, however, you need to verify your eligibility. The easiest way is to take a free online eligibility test. You are not eligible if you were sentenced to prison, are still on probation or have not paid all court fees. You are also ineligible for expungement if you are facing any other charges, or if you are serving another sentence. There are also a few offenses that are ineligible for expungement – most of which are sex offenses. Also, some felonies can be reduced to misdemeanors. If your felony is eligible to be reduced, you can ask the court to reduce the offense at the same time that you ask for the expungement.
If you are eligible for the expungement process, then you should consider hiring an experienced attorney who is knowledgeable in this specialized area of the law. An attorney can help you to avoid any common mistakes that might be harmful to your case, which could extend the length of your case, potentially costing you thousands of dollars, or, even worse, could cause it to be denied. If, however, you cannot afford to hire an attorney, then you should contact the state bar association for a list of free or low cost legal service providers. You also always have the option to file the motion on your own. In addition, unlike a public defender, private lawyers generally have the ability to get your case resolved faster, as they have smaller workloads and a greater incentive.
Benefits of Expungement:
The benefits of expunging a felony are numerous. Once a conviction has been removed from your record, you can say with confidence that you were never convicted of the crime.
How long does the process take?
Typically, felony expungement cases take two to four months. The length of the expungement process, however, varies by county and often varies by time of the year. In Orange County, the expungement process can be expedited by utilizing different filing procedures.
The time it takes to complete a case can be prolonged for such reasons as the age of your case, the number of counts with which you have been charged, and if the District Attorney objects to your expungement.
How much the filing fee to expunge a felony cost?
The cost of a filing fee for a felony expungement is usually $120.00; however, cost may vary depending on how many charges are being filed.
Where to go to file?
Generally, you will file for expungement in the same court that oversaw the criminal case for your felony. You can call the court clerk for information regarding your case, or you can speak to an attorney who can research and access your case information.
Here is a list of Superior courts in Orange County that you can call with questions regarding your case:
Call the one that pertains to you.
- 4601 Jamboree Rd, Newport Beach CA
- 1275 N Berkeley Ave, Fullerton
- 341 The City Dr. S, Orange
- 4. *700 Civic Center Drive West, Santa Ana
*The Superior Court of Santa Ana is the only court that oversees cases with felonies in Orange County.
What are other necessary preparations to file for expungement?
These steps are highly recommended, but not required by the court.
- Letters of recommendation from anyone who can speak to the progress that you have made since your arrest (e.g. family, friends, employers, professors, and community leaders).
- Evidence of progress made since conviction (e.g. completed community service, college transcripts, letters of job offers).