When do you have to disclose an expunged conviction in California?
One of the top questions we get from current and potential clients is if they ever have to disclose a conviction that has been expunged. The surprising answer to this question is that there are not very many circumstances in life where you will have to disclose a conviction that has been successfully expunged.
One of the wonderful benefits of expunging your criminal record is the fact that you can honestly tell potential employers, family, friends, and whoever else inquires that you have never been convicted of a crime. California Penal Code 1203.4 has only carved out three very focused circumstances under which you must disclose your prior convictions:
- 1If contracting with the CA State Lottery Commission. This is obviously extremely narrow and is not applicable for most people.
- 2When applying for public office. This means if you ever want to run for city council, mayor, or governor you will have to disclose the prior expunged convictions.
- 3When applying for a state license. This is true for any state license you might be applying for, including a license to practice law in California, etc.
Although you are only required to disclose your expunged conviction in the three narrow circumstances discussed above, there are other situations wherein your past criminal activities may be used against you. The fact is that a good majority of private employers do conduct background checks today, however they use private background databases which typically only display active convictions. This means that for a vast majority of the jobs you will be applying for, your expunged conviction will NOT be visible to your potential employer and you have no duty to disclose any convictions that have been expunged, which necessarily drastically increases your marketability.
However, if an employer requires finger prints and a signature from you releasing your official Department of Justice (DOJ) criminal record, then they will see your prior convictions and the fact that they have been expunged pursuant PC 1203.4. Pretty much any government job will conduct an official DOJ background check before extending employment, including such professions as: fire fighter, police officer, public school teacher, etc. However, an expunged conviction will not prevent you from getting hired in most government positions.
Thus, although there are narrow situations wherein your expunged conviction must be disclosed, the vast majority of the time you will not have to disclose it, nor will it display on most background checks done by private employers. This necessarily makes you a much more marketable employment candidate, especially in this tough economy.
California Expungement Law Firm
Fresh Start Law Center was started with a single goal in mind – to help our clients forget about their past so that they can move forward and fully embrace the future. We are one of the only law firms in California to specialize solely in expungement laws, allowing us to provide top notch expungement legal services at the absolute lowest fixed prices. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions, and we truly look forward to helping you with all of your expungement needs.
David Huffman, Esq.
Founding Attorney, Fresh Start Law Center