One of the biggest consequences and persistent fears anyone convicted of a crime faces is difficulty getting employment with a criminal record. Many employers will automatically reject an applicant with a criminal history regardless of the type of offense and how far in the past it occurred. Being blocked from getting a job from due to a past conviction has a profound and serious impact on a person’s ability to support themselves and their family. Criminal defense attorneys can help these individuals seek to have these records expunged so there is no hindrance to moving forward with their lives, and should be consulted to explore the availability of this option. California lawmakers gave some attention to the difficult situation convicted individuals have finding work, and passed a law, effective on January 1, that prohibits an employer from including questions on criminal history in standard application forms. However, this change to the law only goes so far, and the issue of having a criminal history will still be a barrier. A discussion of the restrictions the new law imposes on prospective employers, and how expungement still remains the best way to remove this roadblock to getting consistent work, will follow below.
New Employment Law
The recently enacted law on a prospective employer’s ability to inquire about an applicant’s criminal history is an expansion of an earlier measure that restricted such activity by government agencies. Under the new law, private employers are now prohibited from asking applicants about their criminal histories on the initial application, and are only permitted to check on past criminal convictions after extending a conditional offer of employment. Further, if an applicant is rejected for criminal issues, the employer must make an assessment of how the applicant’s history would directly and negatively affect the performance of the job duties connected with the open position. The applicant would then have an opportunity to object to the decision, and submit evidence that the criminal history report is inaccurate. While this new law should help applicants get farther in the hiring process, and may give them a chance to show why past behavior should not prevent employment, having a public record is nevertheless a huge detriment. Expungement is a much better alternative, if it is available.
Expunging a Criminal Record
Generally speaking, expungement is available for individuals convicted of misdemeanor and felony offenses, and who completed probation and did not serve time in state prison. However, anyone currently facing criminal charges, on probation, serving a sentence, or convicted of sex crimes with children are not eligible. Successfully completing probation means the defendant:
- has completed all the required terms of probation (paid restitution, performed community service, attending counseling, etc.);
- has attended all required court appearances; and
- did not commit new crimes while on probation.
A defendant can start the expungement process as soon as probation is completed, but will need the assistance of a criminal defense attorney due to the legal analysis necessary to determine eligibility. Note that expungement is separate from sealing and destroying records, which is only available if a defendant was not found guilty of a charge, or completed a diversion program in lieu of prosecution. Most importantly, those successful at getting a criminal conviction expunged can legally say they have no prior criminal convictions, and employers are not allowed to inquire about or consider any expunged offense at any time during the hiring process.
Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney
Anytime a person is facing criminal consequences, the services of a criminal defense attorney should be retained to mitigate and control the result. Manshoory Law Group, APC understands how severely criminal convictions can impact a person’s life, and will fight to see you receive a fair trial and obtain the best possible result. Attorneys are available 24/7. Contact the Los Angeles law firm to discuss your case today.