If you’re a convicted felon who’s aiming to return as a productive member of society, having your record expunged greatly increases your chances of finding work again. Additionally, it may make it easier to receive aid payments from the government.
The recent passage of Proposition 47 is already benefiting those in the prison system by classifying some drug and property crimes as misdemeanors instead of felonies. As a result, jails are able to release more inmates. However, Proposition 47 does not apply in all cases and some will be left behind and forced to serve their sentences.
For the prisoner who has been released, there’s the immediate matter of getting back on their feet. They can start by discussing their options with a criminal record expungement attorney from Sacramento like Michael Chastaine, attorney-at-law.
Most convictions that are eligible for expungement fall under California Penal Code Section 1203.4. This section requires that you be granted probation. Even if you were sent to prison, while you can’t obtain an “expungement”, you may be eligible for a certificate of rehabilitation after a designated period of time.
In seeking financial assistance after release from custody, it is important to apply for help right away. Clifton Parker of Stanford University’s News Service interviewed Stanford Law faculty and officials of Santa Clara County’s Probations Department, Public Defender’s Office, and the Re-Entry Resource Center. They concluded that while the government may provide assistance benefits to ex-inmates the first year they are released, little or no help will be provided the following year when they are expected to be working.
In this day and age of the internet, even with your record expunged, the researchers point out that a potential employer may scour past online news about the former inmate, locate non-official records of a conviction and deny employment. If you suspect this has happened, it may make the potential employer liable for employment discrimination under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment and you should talk to an attorney about it.
People who want to live normally again after serving time behind bars deserve to do so without the specter of convictions hanging over their heads. Being counseled by a seasoned Sacramento expungement attorney like Mr. Chastaine will raise your odds of putting the past behind you.
(Source: Stanford student project shows public benefit of expunging some criminal convictions, Stanford News Service)