Oakland Certificates of Rehabilitation
Even the most serious criminal convictions in California do not have to do irreparable damage to your life. The penalties for convictions for any felony may be mitigated with the acquisition of a certificate of rehabilitation.
This certificate does not erase the conviction entirely but instead serves as a notice to both the State and the general public that you have served your debt to society and have improved your life so much that you are rehabilitated.
If you were convicted of one or more felonies and are no longer incarcerated, a dedicated criminal defense lawyer could help you apply for Oakland certificates of rehabilitation. They could explain the applicable law, initiate the application and motion drafting process, and represent you in hearings as you work together to get your life back on track.
Who is Eligible for Certificates of Rehabilitation?
Only certain convicted defendants can apply for a certificate of rehabilitation in Oakland. California Penal Code §4852.01 states that this process is only available to people convicted of a felony-level offense for which they are no longer incarcerated – this relief is available to people who have actually served a state prison sentence. This is different from the process to expunge or dismiss a conviction that is available to individuals with a misdemeanor-level convictions and not applicable for those who did state prison time.
Further, certain felony convictions can never be the subject of a certificate of rehabilitation. Specifically, charges involving the sexual abuse or lewd acts involving children can never qualify for this program. For all other felony convictions, though, individuals have the option to apply for the certificate so long as they have completed their sentence and the appropriate rehabilitation period.
The Application Process
The process of applying for an Oakland certificate of rehabilitation begins with the filing of an official form in the defendant’s county of residence. This application requires the petitioner to provide information concerning their felony conviction, release, and their current living situation. In addition to showing proof of residency and comporting with the rehabilitation timing requirements, additional information such as declarations, letters, evaluations, family background and other records can be included. Once this form is completed, the court would schedule a hearing to decide the matter.
However, before a defendant can even consider filing this application, they must satisfy the timing criteria. All applicants must have been released for at least five years, during which they lived exclusively in California. In addition, each felony carries an additional waiting period ranging from two to five years in length depending on the severity of the charge. All eligible sex crimes require five additional years, murder cases require four additional years, and most other felonies require two years.
In total, an applicant must remain out of trouble for all this time and should be prepared to present evidence to the court of how they have made attempts to improve their life during this time. This can include proof of education, holding a steady job, or even of a responsible family life. There must be a showing that the individual lived an honest and upright life, conducted himself or herself with sobriety and industry, exhibited good moral character, and obey all laws.
While a certificate of rehabilitation cannot clean a person’s criminal record, it does serve as a memorialization of that person’s rehabilitation. It is also possible in some cases to relieve the individual from the responsibility of sex offender registration as required under California Penal Code 290. A skilled criminal attorney could help clients evaluate the potential success of an application and pursue that application in court. It is also important to know that an application for a certificate of rehabilitation with the superior court also serves as an automatic application for pardon with the Governor’s office.
Certificates of Rehabilitation Can Give Oakland Felons a New Lease on Life
A felony conviction could forever change your life. However, the California Penal Code does provide a means for you to prove that you have gotten your life back in order. A certificate of rehabilitation can serve as proof to employers, landlords, and even licensing agencies that you have made strides to put your past behind you.
A criminal defense attorney could advise you on the legal requirements to apply for this relief, help you complete the necessary motion, and work with you to present your case in court. Call today for more information about Oakland certificates of rehabilitation and how pursuing one could benefit you.