If a conviction is holding you back from reaching opportunities, a California Certificate of Rehabilitation may be right for you. Individuals who are granted a California Certificate of Rehabilitation gain better employment opportunities  and are eligible for a Governor’s pardon. Here’s how to get a California Certificate of Rehabilitation.

Who is eligible for a California Certificate of Rehabilitation?

An individual may be eligible for a California Certificate of Rehabilitation if he or she

  • Served a felony conviction in a California state prison OR
  • Was convicted of a felony and sentenced to probation and the conviction was expunged OR
  • Expunged a misdemeanor conviction under California Penal Code 290

He or she must have also

  • lived in California for a minimum of 5 years
  • Completed the rehabilitation requirements

Who is ineligible for a California Certificate of Rehabilitation?

An individual may not be eligible for a California Certificate of Rehabilitation if he or she:

Rehabilitation Requirements

For Individuals Convicted of Violent Crimes

Individuals convicted of aggravated kidnapping, assault, murder, or other violent crimes must serve 9 year period of rehabilitation. This 9 year period of rehabilitation includes 5 years of residency and an additional 4 years of rehabilitation outside of residency.

For Individuals Convicted of Sex Crimes Under CPC 290

Individuals convicted of crimes requiring California Penal Code 290 registration must serve a 10 year period of rehabilitation. This 10 year period of rehabilitation includes 5 years of residency and an additional 5 years of rehabilitation outside of residency. These crimes do not include child porn, sexual exploitation of a child, or obscene conduct/indecent exposure.

For Individuals Convicted of All Other Sex Crimes

Individuals convicted of all other sex crimes must serve a 7 year period of rehabilitation. This 7 year period of rehabilitation includes 5 years of residency and an additional 2 years of rehabilitation outside of residency. These crimes include California Penal Code 314 child porn crimes, obscene conduct/indecent exposure, and sexual exploitation of a child.

How do I apply for a California Certificate of Rehabilitation?

Individuals seeking a Certificate of Rehabilitation may file for one anytime after their minimum rehabilitation period has ended.

Obtaining and Filing a COR

An applicant can obtain a COR from his or her county’s superior court. Find your local court here.

Obtain a Copy of Your Criminal Record

An applicant must submit his or her criminal record to the court. The criminal record must include:

  • Date of conviction
  • County in which the conviction occurred
  • Convicted charges
  • Sentence
  • Date of prison or jail release
  • Date of discharge from probation

You can get your criminal record from the court where your conviction occurred or from the California Department of Justice.

How much does it cost to get a California Certificate of Rehabilitation?

Filing for a COR is completely free. However, consulting an attorney may cost some money.

Do I need to hire an attorney?

Although it is not necessary to, hiring an attorney is a smart investment. Experienced attorneys understand the court’s processes and legal system, giving you a greater chance of having your Certificate of Rehabilitation to be granted. Pride Legal’s network of experienced, LGBT-friendly attorneys are experienced in representing individuals seeking a California Certificate of Rehabilitation at a reasonable rate.

However, if you cannot afford an attorney, a public defender will be appointed by the court to represent you.

Will there be a hearing to decide whether or not the COR will be granted?

Yes, a hearing will usually be held for the judge to decide whether or not the COR will be granted.

What factors will a judge consider when deciding whether or not to grant a Certificate of Rehabilitation?

A California judge will consider the following factors when granting a Certificate of Rehabilitation:

  • Arguments presented by the D.A.
  • Court proceedings
  • Employment and education history
  • Letters of recommendations
  • Prison record
  • Proof of residence
  • Reason for COR
  • The applicant’s character and eligibility
  • The nature of the offense
  • Trial records
  • Volunteer work
  • Other factors

What happens if the COR is granted?

Once the COR is granted, the court in which it was filed will automatically send a copy to the California governor’s office, the Board of Parole Hearings, and the California Department of Justice.

Also, a request for the California governor’s pardon will automatically be sent by the court to the Governor’s office.

Benefits of Getting a California Certificate of Rehabilitation

For Individuals Convicted of Violent Crimes

Individuals convicted of violent crimes have serious trouble finding employment. A serious felony conviction can stand in the way of getting employment. By getting a California Certificate Also, a California Certificate of Rehabilitation makes the offender eligible for a governor’s pardon.

For Sex Offenders

Having to continuously register as a sex offender may harm an individual’s reputation and ability to gain employment. Convicted sex offenders are no longer required to register as sex offenders if granted a California Certificate of Rehabilitation.

Contact Pride Legal

If you or a loved one is seeking to apply for a California Certificate of Rehabilitation, we invite you to contact us at Pride Legal for legal counseling or any further questions. To protect your rights, hire someone who understands them.