What is an "Expungement"?
An expungement reopens your criminal case, dismisses and sets aside the conviction, and re-closes the case without a conviction. In effect, you are no longer a convicted person. However, the case record itself will still exist, and the expungement will appear on your record.
Why would you want an Expungement?
There are many reasons why an expungement would be beneficial to someone with a conviction on their record. For example, it can be difficult to get a job, housing, and sometimes insurance. An expungement may also be helpful if you are a non-U.S. Citizen who is facing deportation or attempting naturalization.
Can I apply for an Expungement if I still owe money for fines, fees, or restitution?
No. The court will not grant an expungement until your sentence is complete, which includes full payment and completion of all sentencing terms. When you apply for an expungement, the probation department will provide information to the court about your compliance with paying any fines, fees, or restitution you've been ordered to pay. If you still owe money, the probation department will report that you are noncompliant with your sentence, and your request for expungement will be denied. Likewise, if you were ordered to complete any other terms such as an alcohol or domestic violence program, these terms must be completed in order to be eligible for expungement. If you have completed all of these terms and the only thing left is probationary time, you may be eligible for a Motion for Early Termination of Probation. Once this motion is granted, you will be immediately eligible for expungement.
For more information about Expungements, please see the following article from our Legal Blog: