Expungement Attorney - 8 Facts You Should know About Clearing your Record. 

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Expungement Attorney Fact #1) You're not the only person with a criminal record

Growing up Fast 

A lot of times kids grow up fast. Unfortunately these records do stick around. As an expungement attorney I see this regulalry in Orange County. It is also possible to seal juvenile records if you grew up fast; however Penal Code 1203.4 is the vehicle for getting this done. There is another process for this and it is in the juvenile code.  

Finally, there are times you may be falsely accused of committing a crime and the arrest records will stick around. For example a person gets arrested because he looked like a suspect who committed a crime. The police find out they had the wrong person so they let him go. The area for this where a person is falsely accused of a crime is called a finding of factual innocence. In these cases a person must be factually innocent and a person must start the process early.

As an expungement attorney I find the right vehicle for the purpose of cleaning up your record and any objections from the district attorney or prosecuting agency. Prosecuting agencies routinely find minor violations in cases to deny a person’s request to dismiss a case. It’s important to protect yourself to not get run over by a trained prosecutor.

Misdemeanor Expungement will clear your record if you have only one crime.

A Misdemeanor Expungement biggest benefit is that you do not have to answer for a crime. It enables you to say that you were never convicted of that particular crime. However, people will often run into problems when they have multiple crimes and only one gets dismissed. An expungement will only make one charge go away. If your goal is to answer that you have never been convicted of any crime and you have multiple convictions then you will have to dismiss the other charges as well.

As an expungement attorney the area of law that I use most is  in California and Orange County is California Penal Code 1203.4. First you have to make sure your case is eligible for expungement. In a nutshell Expungement of Criminal Records in California involves crimes out there that will make you ineligible. Such crimes include that of serving prison time for over a year and there are even crimes where the sentence was executed and hung over your head and you never served the time, but still counts as prison time. After words a request is made to the court to change the plea to not guilty and have the conviction set aside. When this shows up on a person’s record, it will show up as a dismissal and not a conviction. An expungement can be tricky if not handled right and it’s important to have help on your case.

There are many roadblock and obstacles that can stand in our way to a clean criminal record. Having help along the way can mean a world of difference. You may need an expungement attorney to help you along the way to file the paperwork on your behalf and get a proof of service the proper parties to your case. In addition some can also help you handle the more complicate aspects of the case such as ascertaining the proper prosecuting agency and deciding whether or not to (17b) if it is possible to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor and then dismiss the misdemeanor.

EXPUNGEMENT ATTORNEY FACT #2) There is a common process in california no matter what courthouse you are at 

As an expungement attorney I see manyt different types of court systems in Southern California. The Expungement of Criminal Records in California will be different in from county to county. For example, San Diego is really strict with formalities, LA has several courthouses with their own local policies, San Bernardino and Orange County Courthouses also have their own rules with local court rules.

However, they have many things in common. These common things include

1) Whether or not your case falls within the statue

2) What level of scrutiny the court will apply in looking at your case

3) Whether or not the court will consider your case for Expungement of Criminal Records in California and a decision on your case?

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Having a criminal conviction will get in the way of your future. It's important that you expunge your criminal conviction as soon as possible. Having the right attorney by your side could mean the difference between having the judge grant your motion or deny it.

About Hieu Vu


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EXPUNGEMENT ATTORNEY FACT #3) The Paperwork Must Be Filled Out Correctly and Served

Techinicalities are Fatal 

As an expungement attorney one of the things I hate most is paperwork. It is straightforword but highly technical. . Filing of the paperwork: Filing of the paper work is one of the easier aspects and the first steps of an Expungement of Criminal Records in California. It is important to have the proper forms of your case filed with the courthouse clerk. It’s also very important to have the correct information your form as well. Some of these include that of the case number correct charge, the correct date of conviction and not date of offense, whether or not probation was granted on the case, whether or not there was a probation violation on your case and whether or not the charge is listed as a not compulsory. This in form is vital as outlined below.


Wrong Information Can Delay your Case.  

The wrong information on your petition will get your case bounced back to you after 4-6 weeks. It’s important to have the right information from the court docket on hand.

1. The case number needs to be correct. Many people have multiple cases in the same courthouse and this will cause difficulties with the case being dismissed.

2. Correct Charge: Having the correct charge is very important to your filing. What most people will say is that they were charged for a DUI or resisting a police officer. This is not good enough, the police officer must say the Code that the violated and the specific code with the right subsection.

1. For example, Driving Under the Influence is a criminal offense but it is listed under theVehicle Code as 23152 and Possession of controlled substance is a criminal offense but is listed under the Health and Safety Code. It is important to know the charge and what section it is under.

2. Correct Charge: Having the correct charge is very important to your filing. What most people will say is that they were charged for a DUI or resisting a police officer. This is not good enough, the police officer must say the Code that the violated and the specific code with the right subsection.

3. Correct Date of Violation: having an incorrect date of violation is detrimental to your case. Often times the date of conviction is confused as the date of violation. Date of violation can happen a year before date of conviction. It’s important to know you have the right date. People will think that the first court date is date of conviction but this is also not the case. Often times, the first court date is called the arraignment. There are times when an arraignment date also results in a conviction, but it is a case by case basis.

4. Whether or not probation was granted makes a world of difference whether 1203.4 or 12034a is used. If there was probation involved then the law that applies is 1203.4. If there was no probation involved then the law that applies is 1203.4a. There are different requirements to each one.

5. If you want to check out whether or not you had a probation violation, you will need your driver's license number and your date of birth or if you have your case number, you go to the link, you click online access and then you punch in the information. It should give you out your minutes. This is going to save you a trip over to the courthouse and look for any kind of language of probation violation. In other words, if you ever came back report asking for something else, you gotta double check it. On the other hand, if you know for a fact that you never came back to court, you paid everything off, you did your classes, chances of safe that you are eligible with no probation violation.

6. This is important because it makes your case either more complicated or straightforward case. If you have no violation, it's gonna weigh towards your expungement being granted. If you have a violation I can tell you right now, the district attorney in orange County will make some kind of objection. If you're unsure about whether or not you have a violation, go to occourts.orrg . Go to online access and look up your case. You need your driver's license number and your date of birth. From there, you'll be able to tell whether or not you owe any money still.

7. Serving the filed paperwork: You must serve the correct agency with the paperwork. Serving is a fancy way to say deliver paperwork and put on notice. In Orange County there are several agencies that prosecute. The three main agencies are the Orange County District Attorney, the Anaheim City prosecutor and the Fullerton City Attorney. For the most part one can assume that the Orange County District Attorney will Prosecute cases all around the county and in addition they will also prosecute cases in Anaheim and Fullerton despite the fact that these cities have their own prosecutors. Anaheim City Prosecutors will have their own cases and so will the Fullerton City Attorney. It is important to ascertain the right agency for the purpose of legal service.

Do it once and and Do it Right w an Expungement Attorney

Expungement Attorney Fact #4) - Charges with Probation Violations are Much Harder to Deal with.

It is possible to clean up with a California DUI Expungement. However, if there is a second while the person was on probation for the first DUI then there is a problem. Some judges are less willing to grant a California DUI Expungement when a person receives a DUI while on probation. The goal behind getting a California DUI Expungement is to give a person a new chance. There are also other obstacles which will hinder a person’s chances with getting a dismissal. If a person violated probation then it will make getting a dismissal for the DUI much more difficult.

As an expungement attorney I always advise my clients to nip the problem from where it started. The California Criminal Background Checks start with the county courthouse. Alternatively here are instructions on how to find your RAP sheet

1. Probation Violations will cause a lot of problems for a person. What is more surprising is that many people do not realize they had a probation violation on their case.

1. For example, after John resolves his DUI case he gets all his paperwork and is registered into class already. However, he is told by the judge that he must register into his 3 month Ab 541 program and must show proof in 3 weeks. John goes to his alcohol class and asks if there is anything he has to do and the temp clerk says he is set. John relies on this advice and goes on his way only to find out that he had to walk the papers over to the court to show that he had enrolled in his class. As a result John finds out he has a warrant and has to take a day off work from his class to go to court. The judge tells John that he will not impose any extra penalties if John admits his violation. John admits the violation detrimental to his Expungement of Criminal Records in California. Charges not compulsory: having a charge that is not compulsory make things a lot more difficult for your expungement. Many times it will give the judge a reason to say no to you for the purpose of a dismissal. Whether we like it or not, judges are human to and will inject their own biases into a case. When this happens, it can get sticky especially if your case is one with discretion even with no probation violation. If that’s the case then you will need help in crafting out a strategy for the purpose of painting you out as a different person than you have been when you have committed the crime. These can include letters and testimony from other people.

2. People will get probation violations for being late on paying their fines in Orange County. This causes a probation violation and as a result the Orange County District Attorney will treat this as such and object to any kind of dismissal. When the object, the judge will deny the hearing and the petitioner will have to place this mater on the calendar in court for a court hearing if they want to move forward with the process.

3. They will want to look at whether or not you are eligible. That means whether or not you have committed any kind of new violations, that you still have a pending case on, or whether or not you're on probation still for your case. Now, if this DUI was maybe seven years ago, chances are you're off probation. Most DUIs lasts only three or five years. However, what happens is if you did not pay all your fines or let's say for instance you didn't pay your restitution, those things could be holding up your case and your three year case could be coming into a five-year case, those are the things that courts look out for.

4. I'm assuming that you know what's going on with your case and you paid off all your fines and you did all your classes. If you did and it's been more than three years or your probation period, then you're good. The other thing that courts look for is some type of violation. A violation means that you forgot to go to court to pay your fines or you were late for class or you missed the deadline for completing couch hands or community service.

5. If you have a violation, the district attorney and Orange County will routinely object. That means that you will have to have a hearing on the case. If you have a probation violation and you follow the paperwork with no mitigating circumstances or a hero letter, judge will bounce it back as denied. If you had a probation violation, it's best to seek some kind of professional help on this. It gets denied a lot and each time it gets denied. You're looking at a filing fee of $150.

Expunge Your Case even with a Probation Violation

Expungement Attorney Fact#5) Not all criminal records in California be expunged

As an expungement attorney one of the things I look out for is the level of the crime.  This means whether it is a felony or misdeamaenor. The felonies take more work. Whether or not your case can be expunged depends on whether or not it is a misdemeanor or a felony. The Expungement of Criminal Records in California process for a misdemeanor is not an issue. A misdemeanor by definition is a crime punishable in jail for no more than one year. When a person commits a misdemeanor they will not likely face 1 year in jail. This is significant because 1203.4 of the penal code will not work for crimes where people spend more than one year in jail. In order to qualify you must complete probation, paid all your fines and restitution, and not currently be charged with another crime.

Expunging a DUI is Harder than Other Crimes

In California, most DUIs are misdemeanor crimes. This means they fall within the statue. However, whether a court will grant an Expungement of Criminal Records in California is another issue. DUIs and 12034 are discretionary. This means it is up to the judge to decide whether or not the Expungement of Criminal Records in California should be granted. The courts will look at a host of factors. Some of these factors include that of the length of time since the last arrest and whether or not the person completed probation successfully.

Misdemeanor Expungement of Criminal Records in California(Non DUI)

There are other misdemeanor crimes which fall under the 1203.4 statute and can be expunged in California. For example, crimes of petty theft or a Wet Reckless are common misdemeanors which can be expunged in California.

It’s a safe rule to assume that if a crime is a misdemeanor then it falls under the statue because by definition by operation of law a person will not be doing over a year for the case. The next question which needs to be asked is whether the person’s case isdeserving of relief.

Benefits and Limits of an Expungement

There are many benefits to a Misdemeanor Expungement. However there just as there are benefits there are also limits to them as well. It’s important that a person knows the limits to a Misdemeanor Expungement before they move forward with getting one. The discussion below is not a full list of all the limitations of an expungement. For that you will need to consult with an attorney and have it explained.

Felony Expungement of Criminal Records in California

1203.4 get a little trickier when dealing with a felony in California. There are a few classes of felonies out there, but the most important one for purpose of Expungement of Criminal Records in California are felonies where a person spends a few months in jail and felonies where a person spends more than a year in jail.

Where a person spends more than a year in jail can their case be expunged?

There is way to clean up a record where a person gets a felony in California. However, the Expungement of Criminal Records in California 1203.4 vehicle is not the way to. The person will have to go for a certificate of rehabilitation. If a person spends less than a year in jail on a felony then he or she may be eligible to get their case expunged.

A felony will fall within the statue if a person spends less than a year in jail on their felony. The most common kind of felony Expungement of Criminal Records in California is probably 2nd degree burglary. The crime is serious enough to be charged as felony however people who do these crimes do not go in for long as it is a crime of property and not one of violence or drugs against people. The thing that needs to happen for a felony expungement is the person spending less than a year in jail and the person being off probation. Being a good person as you are on probation also means a lot too. When a person is on good behavior on probation it makes the expungement process move along much smoother. Prosecutors will not object as much on a felony Expungement of Criminal Records in California when a person fulfilled the conditions of his probation as opposed to someone who has multiple violations on his case.

Juvenile Records are Not Subject to 1203.4 Expungement of Criminal Records in California

Juvenile records are not subject to Expungement of Criminal Records in California. There are a few reasons for this and the main reason is that Juvenile records are not convictions. They are adjudications; however they can still be visible. Like people who have spent more than a year in prison, there is another process for this. The process for this is called sealing Juvenile Record.

Figure Out if Your Case Can Be Expunged

Expungement Attorney Fact #6) Courts differ on  how much scrutiny to apply to your Expungement of Criminal Records in California depending on the type of case. 

There are 4 kinds of cases which can be expunged via 1203.4.

Expunging a Case with No probation Violation

The first one falls goes under where there has been no violation of your probation. These cases have the highest chance of dismissal as the statute was designed for the very purpose of giving people a second chance.

Expunging a Case with a probation violation

The second kind of case happens when a person violates Probation and makes an Expungement of Criminal Records in California harder is when a person is placed on probation, they must Follow the terms set forth in their probation by the court. However, often time’s people do not follow their probation or commit a violation of their probation. When this happens for the first time they are often given a chance to admit and be put back on probation. When this happens people do not realize that they have committed a probation violation and often do not realize that they have committed a violation until years down the line when they find out their Expungement of Criminal Records in California has been denied because of the violation.

Expunging a Prison Sentence, joint sentence or Executed Suspended Setence(ESS)

Not every expungement know this. The general rule is that prison sentence can not be expunged. However there are exceptions. Executed Suspneded Setence can be expunged. The third kind of cases are cases with joint sentence or executed sentence. There are some cases which qualify as a prison sentence but are really not a prison sentence. These cases fall under the group of executed suspended sentence (ESS). ESS happens where a person is sentence to more than a year in prison but the sentence is executed then suspended. The person is told that they must fulfill a set of conditions (i.e. 60 days of house arrest) and if they fail then they will be sentence to that time.

The general rule in regards to 1203.4 is that it only includes county time. It does not allow for a person who has done prison to have is record cleared. This makes it difficult for a person who has been to prison as he is not eligible for 1203.4 reliefs. However, this makes it even more difficult for people who have not served prison time but had prison time hanging over their head.

This causes problems with the 1203.4 statute because 1203.4 apply only for non-prison sentence. I have seen judges apply the law this. Judges will argue that technically, you have a prison sentence here and it is not there place to make a decision on the case. In addition if you have a commissioner, then the commissioner will be afraid to make judgment on the case.

Under the law, it is deemed that the person went to prison for purpose of Expungement of Criminal Records in California, it is just stayed, the person, by operation of law, technically is in prison. If you had a sentence where you did only a few months or only Cal Trans with the threat of additional time hanging over your head then you may have had an Executed Suspended Sentence. Your application to clean your record may have been denied because of a judge’s misunderstanding of the case law. It is important that you have correct representation for the purpose or getting your case dismissed.

There are judges who will deny an Expungement of Criminal Records in California on these grounds of technicality. As an expungement attorney we need to reach into our tool belt of cases for our clients.  I would argue however in 2013 there was a case in the fourth appellate division which was exactly on point. This case said that a court that sentenced a person to state prison but had him or her on probation still had control over the person. This means the person was not sentenced to state prison even if they were technically sentenced for purposes of an Expungement of Criminal Records in California.

Expungement of Criminal Records in California After Early Termination of Probation

As an expungement attorney I know that felonies can be reduced. In addition, I also know there are judges will say that they do not have jurisdiction of a case after it has been expunged. There are judges who will deny an Expungement of Criminal Records in California on these grounds of technicality. However in 2013 there was a case in the fourth appellate division which was exactly on point. This case said that a court that sentenced a person to state prison but had him or her on probation still had control over the person. This means the person was not sentenced to state prison even if they were technically sentenced for purposes of an Expungement of Criminal Records in California.

Expungement Attorney Fact #7)There are times you have to disclose your case

As an expungement attorney I can tell you that Expungements are not absolute. There are limits as to what you can do and what you can’t do with Expungement of Criminal Records in California. The expungement is a misdemeanor within itself. There is no such thing as statute. In fact, the term Expungement of Criminal Records in California is also a marketing term. The real term for expungement is a 1203.4 dismissal. The statute is in the penal code. In addition to the crimes that are able to be dismissed, the statute also spells out several crimes which cannot be dismissed. There is also another area of law called which says what can be reduced from a felony and what can’t. These expungement limits are important to know.

Expungement of Criminal Records in California fact 1

Your conviction will not be a secret. People can still find out about your convictions if they look hard enough. A person can still look through court records. If, for example, you were convicted of prostitution and you dismissed it, then this means that someone can look up your record on the court system and see that you have a conviction for prostitution.

Expungement of Criminal Records in California fact 2

Your previous crime will still be used as a prior for the purpose enhancement in any future crime. An expungement (1203.4) will make a crime go away for purpose of employment, however if you get another one, then the expunged crime will still be used to enhance your sentence. For example, John gets a DUI in 2008 and his probation ends in 2011. In 2012, John gets another DUI. The state will use the 2008 DUI against John to enhance the punishment on his 2012 DUI. This will most likely result in increased punishment and jail time.

Expungement of Criminal Records in California fact 3

The third one is not really a limit as it is a strength. Employers are not allowed to use anything, but a conviction to deny your employment. If an employer does use something other than a conviction to deny your employment, then they can get into legal troubles and may have run into employment law trouble.

One of the biggest benefits of having your case dismissed via an Expungement of Criminal Records in California is that you can actually say that you have never been convicted of that crime. This is a huge advantage for people filling out job applications as employers will give people with no convictions more weight than people with criminal convictions.

For most background checks you are clear to answer that you have not been convicted of a crime for the case you have gotten expunged. However, with every rule there is an exception. These exceptions have to do with state agencies. It’s important to talk to a lawyer if you have any doubts as to whether you should disclose or not.

Relief under Penal Code section 1203.4 is often referred to as “Expungement of Criminal Records in California” of the conviction but that term is not technically correct. [217 Cal.App.4th 501]People v. Mgebrov (2008) 166 Cal.App.

4th 579, 584, 82 Cal.Rptr.3d 778.)

This means there are still circumstances out there where you must disclose your crime because your crime still exists. You are only free of its disabilities. Some of the situations where you must disclose the crime are for any kind of state license. For example, if you filled out an application for a lawyer or doctor license then you must disclose.

Even with a Misdemeanor Expungement you will still have to disclose your conviction for the purpose of a license. If you are getting a nursing license or a contractor’s license then you have to disclose your conviction to the state board. This is not to say that you will have to disclose to the private agency you apply for after you get your license. Just to the board! Other limits of an expungement are that it will not restore yourgun rights. If you were convicted of a domestic violence then this will make it difficult for you to get your gun rights back. It’s important that you know the consequences of what you are pleading to before you plea to it. In addition, another limit is on removing registration limits for sex offenses. These scenarios must be handled differently from the regular Misdemeanor Expungement.

>It Will:

  1. 1
    Result in the dismissal of the case;
  2. 2
    Allow you to answer on job applications that you have not been convicted. If, however, you are applying for a government job or a job which requires a government-issued license, certificate or permit, or a job which involves a security clearance, the conviction will be discovered – in such cases, you should disclose the conviction and its dismissal;
  3. 3
    If the conviction was for a felony, it is the first step in obtaining a pardon.
  4. 4
    Expungement of Criminal Records One of many Orange County Expungements granted to Hieu Vu

>It Will Not:

  1. 1
    Remove the conviction from your rap sheet – California and FBI criminal history records will still show the conviction and a dismissal per PC 1203.4″;
  2. 2
    Reinstate the right to possess firearms (reduction to a misdemeanor may accomplish this if the offense is not one of violence);
  3. 3
    Allow you to omit the conviction from applications for government issued licenses;
  4. 4
    Seal or otherwise remove the court case file from public inspection – anyone who knows where to look will be able to find the court case file (probation reports are in confidential files and are not subject to public inspection 90 days after sentencing)

It’s important that you know the limits of the law and whether a 1203.4 dismissal is right for you. There are legal statues that will fit you if 1203.4 doesn’t. In addition to 1203.4, it is also possible to seek an early termination of probation.

Expungement Attorney Fact #8) Just Because Your Expungement Gets Denied Does not Mean it is the end of the Road. 

You must go after a hearing if your expungement is denied. Expungement is not granted automatically. Judges routinely deny expungement for a variety of reasons. When an expungement gets denied a person will sometimes get notice. Sometimes it is not a mistake! Bellflower Court in Los Angeles will calendar an Expungement of Criminal Records in California hearing and not give you notice of it. This means that there will be a hearing on your case without you there. In addition to that, if there is an opposition to your expungement and you are not there then you will lose by default. When you lose your expungement hearing you will have an adverse hearing, you will not always be notified off the result. Courts will routinely not let you know.

It’s important to for you to know to have a good knowledge of the local practice or if you can afford it have a competent attorney by your side to navigate the waters for you. The reasons for denying your Expungement of Criminal Records in California can vary. It could be a judge applying the law in a wrong way or it can be that you did not include an affidavit. There is a judge in San Diego County who routinely denies expungements because there is no affidavit.

Don't be denied

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Testimonials - What Clients Say About Hieu Vu

Trustworthy

”He is that small percentage of attorneys that actually cares about his clients well being rather than rushing to collect their money only to disappear and cut off all forms of communication. He's generous with his time and updates you along the way in your case. Moreover, he takes your case and sees you through it from beginning to the end.”

Goes Above and Beyond

“EAbout a year ago I made the great mistake of getting a DUI right after getting my degree as a registered nurse. At first I was apprehensive whether or not to get an attorney, because I was already in debt from med school. So I spoke to a handful of lawyers, and after speaking with Hieu, I knew right away this was the man I needed - a decision I did not regret it once..”

Recent Case Results -  A history of Success

 Metropolitan Court LA

  • DUI
  • Dismissed pursuant to 12034

West Covina 

  • DUI w probation violation
  • Dismissed pursuant to 12030.4

Van Nuys 

  • Grand Theft 30k
  • Dismissed pursuant to 12034

Westminster 

  • Spousal Battery w violation
  • Dismissed 

Fullerton

  • Petty Theft with Violation
  • Dismissed 

About Me.

“To the client, every angle is important, there’s a number of questions, and each person also have their own worries. Some will need a person to listen to them. At the end of the day, it’s more than just delivering legal results. I put a 110% into every person I work. I strive to make sure everyone knows what is going on and is kept in the loop as the case goes on. The practice of law is more than just getting the results in court.” -Hieu Vu


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Have your case reviewed by Hieu Vu. It's important to know what the prosecutors are planning do. Each case is different and every case needs a unique defense strategy.

Contact Details

  • 18002 Irvine Blvd #108 , Tustin , CA, 92780, USA
  • 7145893063