There are thousands of convictions involving marijuana use, possession, cultivation, and related offenses that became eligible for expungement with the advent of legal recreational marijuana use. These convictions could be holding many people back from enjoying freedoms that they deserve to have restored and doing things that they have been unable to do because of their criminal records.
Some people have successfully sought expungement of their old marijuana convictions from their records. Many of them report a sense of freedom and relief and feel like they can move forward in their lives in areas where they had been being held back. However, most of the marijuana expungements that have occurred have come at the direction of people who realized that they had convictions that could be eligible. This means that there are thousands of convictions that could be eligible for expungement that have not been expunged yet because the people who have them on their criminal records are unaware of the opportunity that is available to them.
The criminal justice system has not been quick to promote and pursue expungements. For example, in the sixteen months since marijuana conviction expungements became available, only about five hundred cases in Santa Clara County have been expunged, which is a small portion of the over ten thousand cases that could qualify for review.
Because the criminal justice system has been slow to get the word out about expungement, many criminal defense attorneys, who understand how much of a difference an expungement can make in a person’s life, have been taking the initiative to generate awareness of it. Convictions of any kind, including the marijuana convictions that could get expunged, can hold people back from having the best lives that they can have. For example, convictions of any kind can keep people out of the careers that they want. Convictions also make it hard for people to find the housing that they need for themselves and their families. Convictions even serve as a barrier to educational opportunities, when they serve to restrict access to student financial aid.
The court system is ready to handle expungement requests. Individuals with previous convictions involving marijuana can call their local District Attorney’s Office or Public Defenders’ Office to learn more about how to pursue expungement of their convictions. There is even legislation in the works that could require the courts to increase their efforts towards identifying convictions that are eligible for expungement and notifying the people who will benefit from that.
If you have a conviction that is related to the use, possession, or cultivation of marijuana, it is possible that you could have your conviction or convictions successfully expunged from your criminal record. An Orange County criminal defense attorney can help you pursue the best possible result in your expungement case.