SLO Clean Slate Clinic will be recurring every quarter-year
SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY — On Friday, March 24, San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office, San Luis Obispo County Probation Department, San Luis Obispo Defenders, Restorative Partners, People’s Justice Project, California Rural Legal Assistance, and San Luis Obispo College of Law hosted a free legal Clean Slate Clinic for San Luis Obispo County residents for criminal record expungement, felony reduction, and arrest record sealing at the SLO County Law Library.
During the clinic, San Luis Obispo County-based volunteer defense attorneys and law students analyzed individual criminal records and prepared expungement and felony reduction petitions for more than 150 San Luis Obispo County residents with nearly 300 cases. Following the submission of all petitions to San Luis Obispo County deputy district attorneys and probation officers for review, it was determined that more than 100 petitions seeking expungement would not be opposed by the prosecution.
The purpose of the Clean Slate Clinic is to help eliminate a barrier to employment and housing for individuals who have criminal records. A criminal record — no matter how old or how minor — can be a significant barrier to re-entry for people when most employers, property managers and universities use background checks to screen applicants.
“We are very pleased with the success of our first Clean Slate Clinic,” said San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow. “California law allows individuals to have certain convictions dismissed after they have successfully completed probation, served their sentence, and done all that they were required to do.”
Record clearance is crucial to ensuring that the collateral consequences that stem from a criminal record are eliminated or significantly reduced for the millions of individuals trying to rebuild their lives toward a successful future. Criminal record expungement confers numerous benefits for individuals convicted of certain misdemeanors and felonies. When applying for a job, individuals who successfully expunge their criminal record can lawfully answer “no” if asked whether they have been convicted of a crime. Moreover, an employer is not permitted to consider an expunged conviction that is discovered through a background check in making a hiring decision.
Expungement also benefits those seeking state professional licenses. To be sure, even after an expungement in many circumstances, an individual must disclose a conviction in response to a question posed in an application for a state license (e.g., a contractor license or real estate license) or in an application for public office. However, many licensing agencies are more likely to look favorably upon individuals who have successfully completed probation and whose convictions have been expunged. Further, under California law, “a person shall not be denied a license on the basis of any conviction, or on the basis of any acts underlying the conviction” if the conviction has been dismissed.
The California Policy Lab estimates nearly 1 in every 8 Californians with a criminal record is potentially eligible to obtain a full criminal record expungement; 81 percent of Californians with a criminal record are estimated to be eligible to have at least one prior arrest or conviction expunged.
The SLO Clean Slate Clinic will be recurring every quarter-year, with the next one scheduled for Friday, June 23, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the SLO County Law Library located at 1050 Monterey Street # 125, San Luis Obispo.
If you are interested in clearing your criminal record, please make an appointment to receive services at the SLO Clean Slate Clinic on June 23, at (805) 902-CRLA or firstname.lastname@example.org. Walk-ins are welcome but appointments are strongly preferred.