The state of California allows individuals to apply for a certificate of rehabilitation or a pardon. Penal Code § 4852 details the procedure for handling these types of requests. Certificates of rehabilitation (COR) can allow people to get certain licenses or even to avoid registering as a sex offender.
A pardon can restore civil rights to convicted individuals. The Simmrin Law Group can help you learn more about PC 4852 and how to apply for a COR and a pardon.
What Are Certificates of Rehabilitation?
A COR is an official decree that an individual has been rehabilitated after committing a criminal act. This certificate is often useful for individuals who want to acquire a professional license or who want certain jobs.
However, CORs are not available to everyone in California. Only certain people are granted a COR by California courts. Individuals can request a COR if they were convicted of:
- Certain sex-crime misdemeanors
- Felonies leading to time in prison
- Felonies leading to probation
There are, however, many restrictions on COR approval.
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Expungements and Certificates of Rehabilitation in California
In many cases, an individual can only apply for a COR if their charges were expunged. Expungement is the process that removes criminal charges from a person’s record. Individuals can only request expungement in certain cases.
Additionally, an individual can only request expungement after completing the terms of their probation. He or she may have to attend classes or treatment while they are on probation. Adhering to all these regulations allows the individual to complete their probation.
After completing probation, you can work with a criminal defense lawyer to apply for expungement. The Simmrin Law Group can help if you want charges expunged from your record.
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Residency in California and COR Applications
The court may only grant individuals a COR after they have been living in California for a significant amount of time. Individuals should also be working seriously on their rehabilitation for the long term. The time frame for a COR application varies based on the underlying charge. Consider the following charges and how they apply to COR applications.
Sex Crimes That Require Registering as a Sex Offender
Individuals have to wait ten years before requesting a COR for these crimes. They must also have lived in California for a period of at least five years. They must also have spent an additional five years in rehabilitation.
Not all sex crimes are covered by this regulation. For example, this does not apply to:
- Certain charges for child pornography
- The sexual exploitation of a child
- Indecent exposure
Individuals who were convicted of violent crimes can request a COR. However, they must wait at least nine years before making their request. They must also have lived in California for at least five years and spent at least four years in rehabilitation. This time frame applies to individuals who were convicted of:
- Aggravated kidnapping
These are only a few examples of violent crimes in California that may qualify for a COR.
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Criminal Offenses That Can Qualify for a COR
Individuals do not have to wait as long to request a COR for lesser charges. For instance, you may only need to live in California for five years for most criminal charges. However, the court can require an additional two years of rehabilitation before granting a COR.
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Certificates of Rehabilitation and Pardons in California
Pardons are often tied to CORs in California. Generally, having a COR can act as an application for a pardon. Pardons restore certain civil rights after a criminal conviction. For example, an individual can request a pardon if they want to restore their right to own a gun. Pardons can also allow individuals to avoid registering as sex offenders.
How to Apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation and Pardon
As mentioned, anyone who wants to apply for a certificate of rehabilitation may first have to have their criminal record expunged. From there, you’re required to wait a certain amount of time – between seven and ten years – before you can apply for a COR.
Once you’ve made it through your applicable waiting period, you can:
- Contact a criminal defense attorney
- Obtain a COR petition
- File the petition with your local court
- Upon the petition’s approval, attend your hearing
- Pay the COR fine
- Wait for the court’s approval
- Stay in touch with local representatives for information regarding the governor’s pardon
If California courts deny your petition for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, you have the right to challenge that decision. There is a fee that comes with an appeal, but you can work with an attorney to submit it and argue your case again.
Alternatively, you retain the right to petition the court again at a later date.
Establishing Proof of Rehabilitation
When you file for a COR, your initial petition should include proof of rehabilitation. This proof can include a record of consistent employment or counseling. Evidence of regular participation with community events or non-profit organizations can also serve as proof of a deliberate attempt to recommit to a community-oriented life.
Letters of recommendation can also help establish your rehabilitory efforts. If you’re not sure where to start looking for the proper documents, you can turn to an employer, neighbors, or community leader for reference. You cannot submit letters of recommendation from loved ones, partners, or family members.
Submitting proof of rehabilitation alongside the other appropriate documentation will let you meet with a California court. If a judge approves your certificate, your documents will be further reviewed by the Board of Parole Hearings. You may then receive a pardon from the California governor.
Ask a Lawyer About the Procedure to File for Certificates of Rehabilitation and Pardons
Find out more about Penal Code 4852 with the Simmrin Law Group, including how to apply for a certificate of rehabilitation or a pardon in California. Call us or fill out our online contact form for a free case evaluation.
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