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Can You Expunge a Sex Offender Charge in Los Angeles?

Can You Expunge a Sex Offender Charge in Los Angeles?

After serving the required jail time, probation, or other penalty associated with a crime, some people also hope to have their record expunged, which means removing your criminal offenses from public records. Expunging a sex offender charge in Los Angeles isn’t always easy, but it might be possible with the right attorney.

Individuals convicted of sex offenses face not only harsh initial penalties such as fines, jail time, and restitution to their victims but also civil penalties along with long-term consequences like compulsory sex offender registration.

If you are required to register as a sex offender in Los Angeles, this will negatively impact your life in various ways. Sex crimes include all criminal offenses that are sexual in nature, from sexual assault and rape to child molestation and possession of child pornography. You could be barred from certain types of employment or have trouble finding living arrangements in certain areas.

The expungement process exists to enable some individuals to have criminal convictions removed from their records so they can have a fresh start without their past interfering with their future, and it is natural for anyone convicted of a sex offense to wonder whether this is an option for them.

The reality is that very few sex offenses qualify for expungement in Los Angeles, and even if yours qualifies, the process is very challenging to complete. You will need to have an experienced attorney to guide you through these proceedings, even if you are certain that your offense qualifies for rehabilitation.

Expunging Your Record in Los Angeles

As a general rule, if you were convicted of any kind of felony sex offense, you will be unable to have this record expunged at all. Some misdemeanor sex offenses can qualify for expungement under certain conditions:

  • You must not have served a term in state prison. If you were incarcerated in county jail, this should not work against you.
  • You must have completed all elements of your sentencing. Your attorney can verify that you have completed all required restitution payments and other elements of your sentence.
  • You must have finished probation and/or the conditions of your parole. You will not be able to petition for expungement until you complete all such elements of your case.
  • You must not have committed any other crimes since your conviction. You must be able to demonstrate complete rehabilitation to qualify for expungement.

Crimes involving minors, great bodily injury to a victim, forcible penetration, and all child pornography charges do not qualify for expungement. If you are unsure whether your charge qualifies, it is vital to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

Benefits of Expungement

The primary benefit to having a criminal record expunged is that it will no longer interfere with your life. If you have a sex offense expunged, it will prevent you from needing to register as a sex offender again in the future. You will qualify to register for a Certificate of Rehabilitation that will release you from this stipulation.

You may once again qualify to hold certain professional licenses, qualify for certain types of employment, and will not have your expunged record appear on employer background checks anymore.

It is important to note, however, that an expunged record is not erased entirely. If you have a record expunged but later commit another crime, the expunged record can still influence sentencing for this new charge.


Q: What Crimes Cannot Be Expunged?

A: The expungement process only applies to a limited number of criminal charges, and some crimes cannot be expunged no matter what under California law. These include certain vehicle crimes like driving under the influence (DUI), arson, terrorism, murder, sex offenses, and child pornography charges. If you are unsure whether a specific offense qualifies for expungement, consult with an attorney as soon as possible.

Q: What Is the New Law for Expungement?

A: Senate Bill 731 took effect on July 1, 2023, and made criminal record sealing available for certain offenses. Certain felony records for crimes committed after January 1, 2005, may now be sealed if the defendant completes all terms of their sentence, including incarceration, probation, and restitution, and they do not commit another felony within four years. Individuals convicted of specific sex offenses and violent crimes will need to petition the court for expungement.

Q: How Long Do Sex Offenders Have to Register?

A: There are three tiers of sex offender registration assigned based on the severity of a defendant’s offense. The lowest level requires a 10-year registration as a sex offender, and the second level requires a 20-year registration as a sex offender. The most serious sex offenses, including rape and sex crimes involving children, are at the highest level and will require lifetime sex offender registration.

Q: How Do I Get a Criminal Record Expunged in Los Angeles County?

A: If you wish to have a criminal record expunged in Los Angeles County, you must first meet with a defense attorney who can verify that the record qualifies for expungement in the first place. If so, they can help determine whether you have met the eligibility criteria for expungement. Once you meet all applicable criteria, you can then proceed with your petition for expungement, and your attorney can guide you through this process.

Q: Do I Need to Hire an Attorney for a Criminal Record Expungement?

A: The expungement laws of California are exceedingly complex, so hiring an experienced defense attorney is a vital first step in securing your expungement. Your attorney can provide ongoing support through each stage of this process, from initial eligibility determination and compiling your petition to preparing you for courtroom appearances and helping you understand the conditions of an approved expungement.

Compassionate Legal Help to Expunge Sex Offender Charges

Dealing with a criminal record of any kind can complicate your life in various ways, and it is vital to understand the potential benefits of exploring the expungement process with the help of a defense attorney. The Law Offices of James E. Silverstein can help you approach this process with confidence and secure an expungement, if possible, in your situation. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with our team and learn how we can assist you.


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