Certificate Of Rehabilitation

The Benefits Of Receiving One After A Conviction

By: Diana Aizman
Founding Attorney at Aizman Law Firm

For individuals convicted of a felony who did serve time in state prison or were convicted of certain misdemeanor sex crimes an expungement of their conviction is not possible. However, you may be able to obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation that has many of the same benefits as an expungement.

What Is A Certificate Of Rehabilitation

A Certificate of Rehabilitation is a document issued by the court under Penal Code Sections 4852.01-4852.21 that attests to your rehabilitation since your conviction of a felony for which you served state prison time or for a particular sex misdemeanor.

What Does A Certificate Of Rehabilitation Do?

If issued to you, it has the following effect:

  • Restores your civil rights except for 2nd Amendment rights (see below)
  • It is official proof that you have been rehabilitated to the satisfaction of the criminal justice system
  • You may not be denied public licensing or employment based on your conviction1
  • Relieves some sex offenders of the legal obligation to register as a sex offender, if applicable2)
  • Automatically qualifies you to apply for a Governor’s Pardon under California law3

How Does A Certificate Of Rehabilitation Affect The Restoration Of Gun Rights

A Certificate of Rehabilitation does not restore your 2nd Amendment right to possession or ownership of firearms, nor does an expungement unless your felony conviction was a “wobbler” and it was reduced to a misdemeanor before it was expunged. Otherwise, only a Governor’s Pardon can restore your gun rights.

Further, It does not seal or keep from public access your record of conviction.

How Do You Obtain A Certificate Of Rehab

If you were sentenced to either state prison or to county jail under California’s realignment program, then you may apply for the certificate so long as you meet the following additional criteria:

  1. You have not been re-incarcerated since your release
  2. You have continuously lived in California resident for at least 5 years since your release or for 3 years if you were on parole
  3. Additional time has passed depending on the type of offense (see below)
  4. Show proof of rehabilitation since your release
  5. You are not on probation for the conviction of another felony
  6. Or you served felony probation or were convicted of a misdemeanor sex offense under Penal Code 290 that has since been expunged

How Long Do You Have To Wait Before You Can Apply For A Certificate Of Rehabilitation In California?

There is the minimum 5-year requirement for continuous California residency and an additional 2 years except for the following offenses:

Wait an additional 4 years if you were convicted of:
  1. Any sentence that carries a life sentence4
  2. Homicide under PC 187
  3. Aggravated kidnapping under PC 209
  4. Train derailing or wrecking under PC 219
  5. Acts involving explosives or destructive devices that cause mayhem, great bodily injury or death
  6. Assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury
  7. Acts or omissions that cause another person’s death under Military and Veteran’s Code Section 1672(a)5
Wait an additional 5 years for an offense that requires you to register as a sex offender under PC 290

However, you may only have to wait an additional 2 years for the following sex offenses6:

  1. Certain violations of the laws regarding sexual exploitation of a child under PC 311
  2. Particular violations of child pornography laws under PC 311
  3. Obscene conduct or indecent exposure under PC 314

How Do You Demonstrate That You Have Been Rehabilitated?

You can demonstrate proof of rehabilitation by submitting the following documentation:

Once your application is filed, you will receive a court date. A hearing is scheduled within about 120-days at which you or your attorney will present to the court documents demonstrating your rehabilitation as listed above.

  • consistent employment;
  • having received counseling for drug, alcohol or domestic abuse;
  • participation in community events and affairs;
  • having volunteered at non-profit agencies or companies;
  • have no arrest record; and actively supported and participated in the nurturing, education and well-being of your children.
  • Letters from an employer, pastor, neighbors, community leaders or volunteer agencies are extremely helpful.

Once your application is filed, you will receive a court date. A hearing is scheduled within about 120-days at which you or your attorney will present to the court documents demonstrating your rehabilitation as listed above.

How Does A Certifcate Of Rehabilitation Affect 290 Registration?

Being issued a Certificate of Rehabilitation terminates your requirement to register as a sex offender under PC 290.

Crimes and misdemeanor sex offenses that will NOT ALLOW you to obtain it:
Convictions of any of the following sex offenses:
  1. Oral copulation with a minor under PC 288a(c)
  2. Lewd acts with a minor under PC 288
  3. Continuous sexual abuse of a minor under PC 288.5
  4. Forcible sexual acts of penetration with a child under PC 289(j)
  5. Statutory rape of a minor under 16 when charged as a felony

Your only other option if you do not fit any of the criteria for expungement or a Certificate or Rehabilitation is to apply for a Governor’s Pardon7. A pardon will restore your 2nd Amendment rights as well as relieve you of your sex offender registration obligations, regardless of the offense for which you were convicted.

Next Steps If You Need Help

If you would like to discuss receiving a certificate of rehabilitation with an attorney than contact the Aizman Law Firm at 818-351-9555 for a free confidential consultation.

Get Legal Help To File Your Certificate Of Rehabilitation

Request A Free Consultation 818-351-9555 

Footnotes

  1. California Business and Professions Code 480 – Acts disqualifying applicant.  (“(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, no person shall be denied a license solely on the basis that he or she has been convicted of a felony if he or she has obtained a certificate of rehabilitation under Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 4852.01) of Title 6 of Part 3 of the Penal Code or that he or she has been convicted of a misdemeanor if he or she has met all applicable requirements of the criteria of rehabilitation developed by the board to evaluate the rehabilitation of a person when considering the denial of a license under subdivision (a) of Section 482.” []
  2. California Penal Code 290.5 – Pardon or California certificate of rehabilitation; relief from duty to register. [“(a)(1) A person required to register under Section 290 for an offense not listed in paragraph (2), upon obtaining a certificate of rehabilitation under Chapter 3.5 (commencing with Section 4852.01) of Title 6 of Part 3, shall be relieved of any further duty to register under Section 290 if he or she is not in custody, on parole, or on probation.”] []
  3. California Penal Code 4852.16 – Pardon; California certificate of rehabilitation as application; issuance; recommendation. [“The certified copy of a certificate of rehabilitation transmitted to the Governor shall constitute an application for a full pardon upon receipt of which the Governor may, without any further investigation, issue a pardon to the person named therein, except that, pursuant to Section 8 of Article V of the Constitution, the Governor shall not grant a pardon to any person twice convicted of felony, except upon the written recommendation of a majority of the judges of the Supreme Court.”] []
  4. California Penal Code 4852.03 – Period of rehabilitation [required to receive a certificate of rehabilitation]; determination of period.  (“(a) The period of rehabilitation [required to obtain a certificate of rehabilitation] shall begin to run upon the discharge of the petitioner from custody due to his or her completion of the term to which he or she was sentenced or upon his or her release on parole or probation, whichever is sooner. For purposes of this chapter, the period of rehabilitation shall constitute five years’ residence in this state, plus a period of time determined by the following rules: (1) To the five years there shall be added four years in the case of any person convicted of violating Section [Penal Code] 187 [PC Murder], [Penal Code] 209 ]PC aggravated kidnapping], 219, 4500 or [Penal Code] 12310 [PC acts involving explosives or destructive devices causing death, mayhem, or great bodily injury] of this code, or subdivision (a) of Section 1672 of the Military and Veterans Code, or of committing any other offense which carries a life sentence.” []
  5. Military And Veteran’s Code Section 1672(a) –  Any person who is guilty of violating Section 1670 or 1671 is punishable as follows:(a) If the act or failure to act causes the death of any person, a person violating this section is punishable by death or imprisonment in the state prison for life without possibility of parole. The penalty shall be determined pursuant to the provisions of Sections 190.3 and 190.4 of the Penal Code. If the act or failure to act causes great bodily injury to any person, a person violating this section is punishable by life imprisonment without possibility of parole. []
  6. California Penal Code 4852.03 – Period of rehabilitation [required to receive a certificate of rehabilitation]; determination of period.  (“(2) To the five years there shall be added five years in the case of any person convicted of committing any offense or attempted offense for which sex offender registration is required pursuant to Section 290, except for convictions for violations of subdivision (b), (c), or (d) of Section 311.2, or of Section 311.3, 311.10 [that is, violations of Penal Code 311 California’s child pornography laws] , or 314. For those convictions, two years shall be added to the five years imposed by this section.” []
  7. California Penal Code 4852.01(d) – Notwithstanding the above provisions or any other provision of law, the Governor shall have the right to pardon a person convicted of a violation of [California Penal Code] subdivision (c) of Section 286, Section 288, subdivision (c) of Section 288a, Section 288.5, or subdivision (j) of Section 289, if there are extraordinary circumstances.” []

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