For people were were convicted of a felony and did serve time in state prison, there is still hope!
Getting a Certificate of Rehabilitation will allow employers to know you successfully completed all the terms relating to your conviction, and are “rehabilitated” from the conviction. Once a Certificate of Rehabilitation is obtained, you can apply to the governor for a full pardon.
It is a declaration made by court order in California that says a person convicted of a felony, misdemeanor, or sex offense has been rehabilitated. This certificate restores both civil and political rights to ex-offenders who have proven their rehabilitation. It is particularly effective because it is issued by the Judge to vouch for your reputation.
A pardon is an honor granted by the Governor to those who have exhibited exemplary behavior after they were convicted of a crime. It removes most penalties that accompany a criminal conviction (but not all).
There are many factors to be considered regarding eligibility for a certificate of rehabilitation, and for many, this is an option when expungement is not available.
In general, you must:
However, there are other types of cases that are also eligible. Just about anyone is eligible for a pardon, so long as they did not commit their crime in another state or country and it was not a felony offense or a military offense.
In some cases, expunging your conviction may not be possible. However, Certification of Rehabilitation and pardons can be effective tools in regaining some of your rights, applying for jobs, getting housing, and generally just moving forward with life. Both serve as proof that you have been rehabilitated.
In most cases, an expungement is more powerful than a pardon or a Certificate of Rehabilitation. Your record no longer shows a conviction and shows a dismissal instead. However, most felonies are not eligible to be expunged, and not everyone qualifies. It is best to connect with an experienced expungement lawyer to learn if you can expunge your conviction.