Question: I earned a misdemeanor after successfully completing my felony probation on an undesignated class 6 felony plea agreement. But now I have some questions. (1) Can I apply to have my conviction set aside? (2) Are my rights automatically restored now that I completed felony probation? (3) How do I approach job applications when they ask about my felony history?
Ryan’s Answer: Congratulations on successfully completing probation. Now let’s get to your specific questions:
- You or your lawyer may apply to have your judgment of guilt set aside. The rule is: on fulfillment of the conditions of probation or sentence and discharge by the court, you may apply to the judge, justice of the peace or magistrate who pronounced sentence or imposed probation to have the judgment of guilt set aside. It is not a guaranteed right. It is in the discretion of the judge. So if you have good reasons and think you deserve it, give it a shot. Beware that you cannot apply if your offense involved the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. A lawyer can help you with the various issues involved. You want to put your best foot forward on the first try.
- If this was your first felony conviction, then you shall automatically be restored any civil rights (except right to possess weapons) that were lost or suspended by the conviction, as long as you successfully completed probation and paid all fines and restitution. Beware this rule does not apply to your right to possess weapons, which requires special pleadings to the court.
- In regard to job applications, read the question carefully. If it says, “Have you ever been charged with a felony?” It seems that your answer is “Yes, but I do not have a felony conviction.” If it says, “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” It seems that your answer is “Yes, but my conviction is now a misdemeanor.” If the question is, “Do you currently have a felony conviction?” The answer is “No.” This can be tricky, so be careful, and you’ll probably want to explain your answers in much more detail.
You have the right to hire a lawyer to assist you with all of your excellent questions. A lawyer can help you apply to have your conviction set aside, can help you get your rights restored, and can help you word your job application to be both truthful and to give you your best chance at success.
Contact me for a free evaluation of your situation.