Society is filled with crime. However, not everyone who is convicted deserves unending punishment. Many people make a mistake and when they pay their dues, it should be recognized. Unfortunately, a crime will show up on a person’s record forever, no matter how minor the infraction. This could seriously hinder their ability to find a job, receive a license or escape unwarranted prejudice. If you are in this position, do not give up hope! You can take action.
A Certificate of Rehabilitation (CR) is available for eligible persons looking to clean up their records a bit. This Certificate is not the same thing as an expungement or erasure. In other words, it does not remove anything from the record. However, it does place something positive on it for others to see. It also restores some rights of citizenship that had been eliminated at the time of the conviction.
There are a number of benefits that result from receiving a Certificate of Rehabilitation. First, it is an official testament to your rehabilitation from your crime. This could greatly enhance your ability to find employment. Essentially, it will tell a potential employer that you have paid your dues to society and have reintegrated into society. Also, it will increase your potential to be positively considered to be licensed by a state board. In other words, a State board will not flat out refuse to grant you a license. This Certificate also has a number of benefits specifically for sex offenders. Some sex offenders will no longer have to register as such anymore. Finally, a Certificate of Rehabilitation will act as an automatic application for a Governor’s pardon.
You must be aware, though, that a CR will not do everything. It will not completely erase your conviction. Your records will not be sealed; an employer will still have access to the information. Furthermore, if you are convicted of a new offense the Certificate does not keep the offense it covered off of the table. It will still be seen as a prior conviction that will be considered when deciding upon a punishment. Receiving a CR also does not do away with the requirement of disclosing the information on an employment application. You must still answer that you have a conviction record. Finally, this document has no ramifications on your voting right—the two are not related at all. Your ability to vote is restored once you finish your probation or parole.
California’s Penal Code Section 4852 deals will the Certificate of Rehabilitation. According to this code, an individual who is convicted of a felony may petition for a CR if they meet a few requirements. If you have been discharged from a California institution or agency after completing your term or on parole you may be able to submit your petition. As long as you have been a resident of the state for the five years just prior to filing the document and have had no convictions since your release, you can submit the petition. Individuals who are not eligible to apply are those who have been convicted of Penal Code §§ 286(C), 288, 288a (C), 288.5, or 289(j), are serving a mandatory life parole, were committed to prison with a death sentence, or are/were in military service.
If you are looking to fill out this petition, you will not have to pay any fees. You must fill out two forms. These include the Notice of Filing for Certificate of Rehabilitation and Pardon and then the actual Petition for Certificate of Rehabilitation and Pardon. If you meet all eligibility requirements, you will receive a hearing with the District Attorney’s Office. Once a hearing date is sent, copies of the two forms you filled out will be sent to the Governor and to the District Attorney of the county or counties in which you were actually convicted of the felony. It is advisable to have an attorney to represent you during this hearing.