The Benefits Of Seeking A Certificate Of Rehabilitation

In California, those convicted of certain crimes may be able to obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation, which, as its name indicates, is a certified court document proclaiming an individual has been sufficiently rehabilitated. Basically, the purpose of such a document is to allow those convicted of crimes to regain the various civil rights that may have been denied to them due to the fact they are convicted felons.

Importantly, there are many benefits to obtaining a Certificate of Rehabilitation beyond the reclamation of an individual's previously denied civil rights. For instance, once a person receives his or her Certificate of Rehabilitation, California law expressly states he or she cannot be denied a professional or business license solely based upon his or her felony conviction.

In addition, a Certificate of Rehabilitation may also end an individual's obligation to register as a sex offender in California, but only in limited circumstances. Furthermore, if granted, a Certificate of Rehabilitation serves as an automatic application for a pardon by the governor.

Who Is Eligible For A Certificate Of Rehabilitation In California?

In order to qualify for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, several requirements must be satisfied. For instance, an individual seeking a Certificate of Rehabilitation typically must show:

  • He or she was originally convicted of a felony and sentenced to California State Prison.
  • He or she has been released from prison on parole or upon completion of his or her sentence, and has not been incarcerated since being released.
  • He or she has resided in California for at least five years immediately prior to filing the petition for the Certificate of Rehabilitation.
  • He or she has completed a satisfactory period of rehabilitation, which begins the day he or she is released from custody and runs for five years (the initial residency requirement), plus an additional period ranging from two to five years, depending upon the original criminal conviction.
  • He or she has lived an honest and upright life since being released, which includes obeying the laws and exhibiting good moral character.

It is important to mention, however, the eligibility requirements for an individual petitioning for a Certificate of Rehabilitation following a sex crime conviction are significantly different. For instance, a person required to register as a sex offender must first have his or her conviction expunged and dismissed before he or she can obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation. This is merely one of many additional requirements for those convicted of sex crimes, not to mention that several sex-related offenses are expressly exempt from the Certificate of Rehabilitation process.

Given the many intricacies related to obtaining a Certificate of Rehabilitation in California, it is often best to consult with an experienced attorney. A skilled attorney can fully explain the eligibility requirements for all types of offenses and help ensure you get the new start you so desperately need.