A conviction for a sex crime can negatively affect you for a lifetime. It’s unfortunately unlikely that you can have a sex crime conviction removed from your record in California. As a rule, felony sex crimes cannot be expunged. There’s also a very minimal chance that a misdemeanor sex crime can be removed from records. However, there have been cases where a misdemeanor charge, like lewd or lascivious behavior and sexual misconduct, have been expunged. But this would depend on the circumstances surrounding the case as well as the talents of the criminal attorney on the case.
It should be pointed out that even if a sex crime conviction has been dismissed, expunged, or sealed, the individual will likely have to remain registered as a sex offender. Consult with an experienced attorney to find out more regarding your particular case.
How Long Will a Sex Crime Conviction Remain on Your Record?
In general, a sex crime conviction stays with you for life. The majority of sex crimes are categorized as crimes of moral turpitude and are, therefore, more difficult to expunge from personal records. This also means that your name could remain on the sex offender list for life.
Can Your Name Be Removed From the Sex Crimes Register?
That would depend on how severe the sex crime was. A felony conviction means you will stay on the sex crimes register forever while a misdemeanor sex crime could be cleared after 10 to 15 years depending on the state. Most states distinguish sex offenders based on the seriousness of their offense. For instance, in some states tier 1 offenders remain on the list for a decade, tier 2 for 20 years, and tier 3 felons remain on the list for life.
Which Criminal Records Can be Expunged?
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Expunging is the process of getting criminal convictions deleted from records. Expunged records are either dismissed by the court by putting aside a guilty verdict or by sealing the record. Typically, the record is not really destroyed. Depending on the state, a dismissal will still be found on personal records.
According to PC 1203.4, you could apply for your sex crime conviction to be expunged if you:
- Never served a state prison term.
- Have satisfied all the conditions of your sentencing, including completing probation and paying all fines.
- Have finished parole or probation.
- Have not committed any crimes or are not presently facing criminal charges after being convicted of the crime you are requesting to be expunged.
It should be emphasized that while you may be eligible to request that your sex crime to be expunged if you meet the strict requirements, the actual process of having a conviction record deleted is very complicated.
However, sex crime convictions involving a child or a minor cannot be expunged, like:
- Child pornography (PC 311)
- Continuous sexual abuse of a child (PC 288.5)
- Enticing or luring a child
- Forcible sexual penetration with a minor under the age of 14 (PC 289(j))
- Lewd and lascivious acts with a minor (PC 288)
- Oral copulation with a minor (PC 288a(c))
- Showing a minor obscene literature
- Sodomy with a minor (PC 286(c))
- Unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor under 16 by an individual over 21 (PC 261.5(d))
Most states also allow these records to be expunged:
- County jail time records after a probation period successfully finished
- Non-violent felonies
- Select misdemeanor convictions
What Are the Benefits of Having These Records Expunged?
There are a lot of reasons why you should consider having your conviction expunged. After all, expunging your records can help you regain most of the privileges you lost due to your past errors in judgment.
Probably the most important benefit of this action is that you won’t have to divulge the conviction to prospective employers. California Labor Code 432.7 already assures you that employers won’t ask about any arrest that didn’t end in a conviction. Coupled with having your record expunged, your chances of gaining worthwhile employment will drastically improve.
Getting your records expunged can also help you acquire a state professional license. It can also prevent you from being deported or suffer other consequences to your immigration status. Lastly, expungement can also prevent your previous conviction from being used to question your credibility in the event you’re called as a witness in court.
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Of course, there are certain limitations to the benefits an expungement brings. For instance, it won’t be able to overturn the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license or restore your gun rights. Expunged convictions can also be counted as prior convictions to strengthen sentencing, like in numerous DUI convictions, and as “strikes” in the state’s three strikes law.
It should also be clarified that even if you were able to expunge your sex crime conviction, it does not release you from your obligation to register as a sex offender. But it could assist you in securing a Certificate of Rehabilitation, a document that can release you from the stipulation that you have to be registered as a sex offender.
Will a Conviction Hurt Your Job Prospects?
There are numerous cases of people not being able to secure a good paying job because of having a conviction on their records. Fortunately, California legislation ensures that employers cannot consider or ask about an applicant’s criminal records. The state’s Second Chance Law also enables those convicted of petty crimes and low-level felonies to have their records sealed or expunged. However, many sex crime convictions cannot be cleared or removed in California, as previously mentioned above.
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Having your criminal record expunged can help give you a fresh start in life. By having your records expunged or deleted and by getting a Governor’s pardon or Certificate of Rehabilitation, you have a better chance of securing a good job and enjoying the benefits you lost after being convicted. It will also give you an added sense of security and peace of mind. However, not all convictions are eligible for this. You will need the services of a reliable and experienced criminal defense lawyer in Los Angeles to help you check if you are eligible to have your records cleaned.
Contact the seasoned Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at Simmrin Law Group. We can help you restore your good name and move forward with your life. Call (310)-997-4688 to schedule a FREE consultation.