How Long Does a Felony Stay on Your Record in Los Angeles?
If you’ve been convicted of a felony in Los Angeles, that will remain on your criminal record indefinitely. That is, unless, you file a petition to have your conviction expunged. Certain felonies in California can be expunged – or removed – from your record. However, there are certain limits regarding when you can initiate the expungement process. Here’s what you need to know.
A Felony Will Remain On Your Record Until You Being the Expungement Process
You can’t ask to have your felony conviction removed from your record the day that you’re sentenced. You can, however, begin the process once you’ve completed your court-ordered punishment. As a general rule of thumb, you can request an expungement once you’ve completed your felony probation. Completing probation means that you’ve satisfied all requirements, which might include, but is not limited to:
- Abstaining from drugs and alcohol,
- Performing required community service hours, and
- Completing mandated therapy requirements.
You can ask to have your record expunged as long as you’re not facing new charges or completing a sentence for a different offense.
What Felonies Can’t Be Expunged?
You can file a petition for an expungement if you were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony and sentenced to time in a Los Angeles County Jail. You cannot get your felony expunged if you served time in a California state prison.
Additionally, certain felony offenses can never be expunged from your criminal record in California. These include:
- Statutory rape involving parties younger than 16 and 21 or older. (261.5(d) PC)
- Lewd acts with a child (288 PC)
- Oral copulation with a child (288a PC)
- Sodomy with a child (286(c) PC)
These are considered to be among the most serious offenses a person can commit, and can never be removed from a criminal record.
What Happens When I Get My Felony Expunged?
Under Penal Code 1203.4 PC, expungement allows you to “be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense” of which you were convicted. Keep in mind that your felony is never permanently deleted from your record. Rather, it’s removed from the version of your criminal record that can be accessed by the public – including employers and landlords.
When your felony conviction is expunged, it should be easier for you to do certain things. This includes getting a job (employers can’t discriminate if your conviction has been expunged); renting an apartment (you can legally say that you haven’t been convicted of a felony); and obtaining a professional license. You’ll also be a more reliable witness, as your credibility can’t be impeached if there’s not a felony on your record.
Your Rights Can Still Be Limited, Even With the Felony Off Your Record
Getting a felony expunged can make life a lot easier. However, expungement won’t restore all of your rights or eliminate all of the collateral consequences of your conviction. Your gun rights will not be restored. The requirement to register as a sex offender (if applicable) won’t be wiped away.
Also, it’s important to keep in mind that just because your felony is expunged from your record doesn’t mean that every trace of your conviction will be gone. News articles or police blotters might make mention of your arrest or conviction. Websites might still have old copies of your record – and only agree to take them down for a fee. So, be aware that employers, landlords, or anyone who is eager to learn the truth about your past could, despite the fact that you’ve secured an expungement.
Note that your felony can also remain on your credit report for up to 7 years after you’re arrested.
Your Felony Will Stay On Your Record Until You Take Action
The bottom line is that your felony conviction will remain on your criminal record forever. That is, unless you do something about it. Once you’ve completed your criminal sentence and satisfied the terms of your probation, you can file a petition and request to have your offense expunged.
The expungement process itself can take a few months. You’ll probably have better luck if you work with a qualified Los Angeles criminal defense attorney. When you do, you might find that your felony is gone within a few months of asking to have your record cleared.