Expungements & Cleaning your Record

What is an expungement?

An expungement is a way to clean your record of a conviction such that it no longer affects your life. A person’s desire to obtain an expungement can come up in many circumstances. Perhaps you are trying to obtain a job and concerned they may reject you once they run a background check. Or, you are a legal permanent resident (aka: green card holder) and want to naturalize. In all circumstances, you want to make your record clean and put an end to your conviction once and for all.

In California, any person can obtain an expungement of a felony or misdemeanor after they have successfully completed or obtained Early Termination of Probation & Violations. In California, if you are convicted of a felony, you will have at least five years in probation; if you are convicted of a misdemeanor, you will have at least three years. The mechanism for obtaining one is a Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Penal Law section 1203.4.[1] This motion must answer the following question for the judge, “Has this defendant been reformed?”

In New York, however, only certain people can obtain an expungement or sealing of their record. Namely, if you were convicted as a youthful offender, or successfully completed a drug treatment course, such as TASC, then you can move to dismiss your conviction. All other people who do not fall into these two categories can obtain a different kind of relief known as a Certificate of Disabilities or Certificate of Rehabilitation.

What are the Consequences?

The effect of expunging or sealing your record is life-changing. Although the conviction is not actually erased from your record (that’s why it’s called a record, it keeps a record of everything!), you can act as though you were never even convicted. This is because you are literally withdrawing your guilty plea. For example, when you answer a job or educational questionnaire that asks the common questions: Have you ever been convicted of a crime? You can respond: No. In fact, even if an employer does a background check, they will not be able to see the conviction. The only employer who will be aware of such conviction is the government. With regards to youthful offenders in New York, an educational institution is permitted to have knowledge of such conviction.

How We Can Help You

Lavy Law is the best law firm to assist you in expunging your record so that you will never have to think about that conviction again. As a former prosecutor who has recommended expungements to the Court, we know on how to get your case dismissed. As a trial attorney, we know how to successfully argue your case for dismissal before the judge. As a counselor at law, we know how to empower you to take this final step of relief so that you are no longer a victim of your past mistake.

Review our Recent Cases to see that we have won a case of expungement just like your own.

If you are convicted of a crime and want to see if you are eligible to expunge your record, Contact Us immediately for a consultation.


[1] “In any case in which a defendant has fulfilled the conditions of probation for the entire period of probation, or has been discharged prior to the termination of the period of probation, or in any other case in which a court, in its discretion and the interests of justice, determines that a defendant should be granted the relief available under this section [that is, to clear his/her California criminal record], the defendant shall, at any time after the termination of the period of probation, if he or she is not then serving a sentence for any offense, on probation for any offense, or charged with the commission of any offense, be permitted by the court to withdraw his or her plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere and enter a plea of not guilty.” Penal Law Section 1203.4.

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