San Diego Expungement Services

In California, an “Expungement” is a colloquial term for the motions and petitions related to Penal Code Sections 17(b) and 1203.4 and 1203.4(a).  The legal mechanism for an “expungement” is the withdrawal of a criminal plea of guilty or finding of guilt, which is then followed by the dismissal of the case.  If a conviction is one that can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor (thefts, for example), then it is necessary that a felony be reduced to a misdemeanor before it is dismissed under Penal Code section 1203.4.

There are three major legal obstacles that preclude an individual from obtaining an “expungement.”  The first legal obstacle is one’s status as a probationer or parolee.  If an individual is under any sort of community supervision, they are ineligible for an “expungement,” even if the crime for which you are on probation is totally unrelated to the conviction you seek to “expunge.”  The second legal obstacle is the individual’s custodial status.  It follows naturally that if you are in the custody of the county or state, you are, at least temporarily, ineligible for an “expungement.”  The third legal obstacle occurs when an individual is currently charged with a crime that has not reached disposition (infractions excluded).

Thus, if an individual is not under community supervision, not serving time on a case, and not charged with a new crime, they are presumptively eligible to petition the Court for an “Expungement,” with the caveat that certain specifically enumerated crimes (such as sex crimes against children), and crimes that punished with certain penalties, require that a different legal procedure be taken.

When deciding whether to grant an individual’s petition for “expungement,” the Court will consider a number of things, such as the amount of time that has elapsed since the Petitioner last violated the law, the seriousness of the underlying offense, the rehabilitation and improvement of the Petitioner’s character since the conviction, the Petitioner’s understanding of the true nature of their offense, the Petitioner’s satisfaction of all Court mandated requirements resulting from the conviction, such as the payment of restitution and fines and completion of various educational programs and/or self-help.  The Court may also consider the circumstances that are specific to the Petitioner as an individual.  Felony convictions can carry serious collateral consequences outside of time in custody and heavy fines – they can prevent a person from fulfilling their life and career ambitions.  If a Court sees an individual that is rehabilitated but unable to progress in life due solely to their criminal record, the Court frequently grants the “expungement” petition, thereby clearing the individuals record. Once a conviction is “expunged” it cannot be brought back to life by a later offense.  However, an “expunged” conviction does not prevent the Prosecutor from alleging the facts of a conviction in the allegation of a new case brought against an individual (DUIs, Strikes, etc.)

An “expungement” can drastically alter an individual’s quality of life, in that the erasure of the conviction restores many rights if the person is no longer considered a Felon under the law.  An “expungement” that reverses a person’s status as a Felon will also restore that person’s right to vote, right to possess firearms, right to certain government aid, and often most importantly, the specific legal right to NOT report a felony in employment applications and the specific right to say “I have never been convicted of a Felony.”  Similarly, the “expungement” of misdemeanors considered “crimes of moral turpitude,” such as theft, result in the expansion of career and licensing opportunities.

The Attorneys at The Law Office of Sammer A. Zakhour never file “Court-Form” Petitions with the court.  In the alternative, the firm, when retained to “expunge” a conviction, will file the long-form Petition as pleading, resulting in the opportunity to fully inform the Court of all the positive attributes of the Petitioner.  The criminal defense attorneys at the firm take this more difficult approach because there is a definite correlation between this method and the rate of success in “expungement” petitions.

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Client Testimonials

  • Incredibly helpful, thoughtful and thorough

    Overall, Sammer was professional, caring, communicative, and extremely hard-working. The very first day I called Sammer about attaining a restraining order, I was waiting for police to arrive at my home. He left work immediately to meet up with me on location and get all the details of the case. Throughout the legal process, he was available, timely, made the entire process easy and clear, and gave safety advice above and beyond legal matters.

    – Diana
  • DUI and bench warrant

    Sam walked me through my case step by step and kept me well informed keeping me at ease and getting me a better deal then expected. I would definitely refer Sam to friends or family.

    – Jeff
  • Sam is the man

    Mr Sam Zakhour is an outstanding lawyer. He fixed the situation I was having with my property manager with one phone call. I've never had a lawyer who so motivated to help out his clients. He's knowledgeable, understanding, and a cool dude. I high recommend using Mr Zakhour if you are having a legal issue. He goes above and beyond.

    – Matt S.
  • Great lawyer!

    My husband and I had a great experience working with Sam. He was very attentive to us and answered all of our questions. He would return calls and emails extremely quickly. He gained our trust and was very easy to work with. We were very happy with his representation.

    – Ariel