Clean Slate FAQ
Q. Why do you call it "Clean Slate" and not "Expungement"?
A. The term "expungement" is a bit of a misnomer as it gives the idea of a conviction being removed, or "expunged" from a criminal record. That actually does not happen. A conviction can be reduced or dismissed but it is not removed from your record. However, the record will show the reduction (i.e. from a felony to a misdemeanor) or note that the conviction has been dismissed.
Q. How does it help me to have a conviction dismissed if it still appears on my record?
A. A conviction dismissal tells employers or others viewing your record that as far as the District Attorney's office and the courts are concerned, the conviction noted is no longer an issue. Having a conviction dismissed improves your chances of obtaining employment and housing that might otherwise not be available to you.
Q. How much does this service cost?
A. There is a fee involved in obtaining your Record of Arrests and Prosecutions (RAP sheet) which includes the cost of a Live Scan and the RAP sheet itself. The actual meeting with our attorney is free of cost.
Q. What is a Live Scan?
A. A Live Scan is the process of providing a record of your fingerprints for the purpose of obtaining a copy of your RAP sheet. It is usually use by public employers during a background check.
Q. Will having my convictions dismissed through Clean Slate restore my rights to own firearms?
A. No, the Clean Slate process does not restore that right. To determine if your specific convictions may qualify you to have those rights restored at some point, you will need to consult a private attorney.
Q. How do I get a copy of my RAP sheet?
A. See the following question and answer.
Q. What do I need to do to have my record expunged?
A. Take our self-screening test to determine if you currently qualify for Clean Slate remedies. If you to, it will guide you on what steps to take next to start the process.
Q. I already have a RAP sheet that I obtained some years ago. Will that one do?
A. Please make sure it is an actual RAP sheet and not a Court Document. If it is, and you have nad NO negative contact with law enforcement since then, you can use the same RAP sheet. Otherwise, you will need an updated one.
Q. What is the difference between a RAP sheet and a Court Document?
A. A RAP sheet is a comprehensive record of an individual's entire criminal history. A Court Document only list the conviction imposed on that specific court date.
Q. Do all convictions qualify for Clean Slate remedies?
A. No, federal convictions or convictions that included a prison sentence do not qualify for Clean Slate remedies. Also, some convictions for egregiously violent crimes and sex crimes do not qualify for Clean Slate remedies. Lastly, this service cannot help you with convictions that took place outside the state of California.
Q. How do I know if my particular conviction qualifies for Clean Slate remedies?
A. Ineligible convictions are listed by penal code. Our attorney will help you determine if yours qualifies for a reduction or dismissal.
Q. When does my dismissal take effect?
A. The dismissal is effective on the day the judge signs the order; however, it make take several months for the state and county to update your record. Keep the order as proof of your dismissal. (LSNC)
Q. Can employers ask me about past felony convictions?
A. Effective January 1, 2018, The Fair Chance Act added a new section to the Fair Employment and Housing Act making it illegal for most employers in California to ask about the criminal record of job applicants before making a job offer. This means ads, job applications, and interview questions cannot include inquiries into an applicant's criminal record. The purpose of the law is to allow applicants to be judged base on their qualifications. (dfe.ca.gov) An employer has the right to ask you about your criminal history only after offering you a job. For more information please watch this video.
Q. If I have had my felonies dismissed and an employer asks me if I have any felonies, how do I answer?
A. With some exemptions (i.e. jobs in law enforcement) an employer should not ask you if you have had any past felonies until a job offer has been made. If that is the case, you have the legal right in California to answer "no" if all your felonies have been dismissed; however, it is wise to use discretion. If the employer is doing a full background check on you and will see the dismissed convictions, you may wish to tell them upfront that you have had felony convictions, but they have been dismissed.
Q. What does a dismissal NOT do for me?
A. A dismissal does not:
- Reinstate the right to possess firearms
- Prevent the dismissed conviction from being used as a "prior" to increase punishment if you are prosecuted for another offense.
- Prevent the U.S. government from considering the conviction for immigration purposes
- Change a requirement that you register as a sex offender
- Automatically reinstate your driver's license (LSNC)
Q. Will my reduced felony still count as a strike?
A. A felony that has been reduced to a misdemeanor may still count as a felony for federal gun laws. (LSNC)
Q. There is an error on my RAP sheet. It doesn't show that past convictions have been dismissed, when they have. What can I do about it?
A. You will need to submit a form (BCIA 8706) to request a correction from the Department of Justice (DOJ). That form is included with your RAP sheet with you request one. You may find more information about that here.