For years I’ve been telling people not to believe everything they read on the internet and not to believe everything a lawyer tells you before you pay him. I get emails almost every day from people claiming they can improve my damaged reputation. I may be damaged, but my reputation is pretty darn good. About every ten years I get a review from some former client saying that I am evil or wasn’t nice to them or some such thing.
The last negative review I got was from a client on a criminal threat case. Unfortunately, I had to declare a doubt about her competency and she was referred to the mental health court in Hollywood. After being evaluated by a court appointed doctor, she was found mentally incompetent to face trial and proceedings were suspended. Two years later, she is still mentally unable to face criminal charges. She was able to go on Google and post a negative review about me.
Google won’t take down either review claiming it was fair customer complaint. I can’t tell Google that my client is a wingnut and I am left having to deal with the negative publicity without any way to explain myself because I have to protect my client, and her identity and her client confidences even to my own detriment. What to do now? The answer is simple. I have to move on to the next case.
Even though I can’t do anything to protect my reputation, I can still help my clients protect their reputations. I can help them expunge their convictions, seal their arrest records, reduce their felonies to misdemeanors, terminate probation early, convert formal to informal probation and more.
I do this all the time. But I never do it without telling clients the truth. Reducing and expunging doesn’t erase history. Even if the Department of Justice changes someone’s criminal history, the court records sometimes do get found. I don’t know how they get found, but they get found. It usually happens when some out of state company is doing a background check and they find evidence of a conviction or arrest.
This shouldn’t stop ANYONE from reducing a felony to a misdemeanor or expunging a conviction. These efforts truly help reduce access to the negative information and allow (under Penal Code Sections 1203.4 and 17) for people to say that they have never been arrested or convicted of a crime. And it doesn’t end there.
The law allows us to seek Certificates of Rehabilitation where we can knock out felonies from our records, even when we went to prison. The new 1203.4 laws allow us to expunge convictions where we got prison sentences which were served in local jails. Best of all, if we went to prison and went to fire camp, we can now seek relief from those prison commitments…The idea being that we may now be able to be firefighters after getting out of prison. It’s true, that’s what the law is all about.
I’m not going to tell you that you will be running for political office any time soon if you have a felony conviction. I’m not going to tell you that if you seal your arrest record, the government won’t see it. But, what I will tell you is that each thing we do to improve our background helps us to improve our online reputation, increase our ability to get a job, or a promotion or a state license, and it even helps us with travel to foreign countries.
Just yesterday I got a notice of non-opposition from a DA in response to get one of my client’s of the 290 registry. His birthday present to himself this year is that he will never have to register again.
Remember, we can’t win if we don’t fight. If you need help cleaning up your criminal history or if you have a pending criminal or DUI case, call me. I can help. It may not cost as much as you think and the outcome may be a lot better than you had hoped.
Call for a free quote: Attorney Jeffrey Vallens (818) 783-5700