What is a Certificate of Rehabilitation?

Certificate of Rehabilitation Attorney Orange County Ca Expungement Lawyer

Per California Penal Code 1203.4 and 1203.4a

In the State of California, a certificate of rehabilitation is a court order declaring the defendant who was convicted of a felony or misdemeanor is declared rehabilitated. It is the first application and a step to get a pardon.

What is a Certificate of Rehabilitation?

A certificate of rehabilitation is a court order declaring that a defendant previously convicted of a felony (or misdemeanor sex offense) in California has now been rehabilitated. The law in California describing a certificate of rehabilitation is spelled out in California Penal Code 4852.01 to 4852.21.

When the court grants a certificate of rehabilitation, the court automatically sends the signed order of the certificate to the governor of California where it becomes an application for a pardon. The certificate of rehabilitation is the trial court’s request that the person be pardoned however, the governor decides whether or not to grant the pardon.

Am I Eligible to apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation?

One may apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation if the person has been:

  • Convicted of a felony; or
  • Convicted of a misdemeanor sex offense under Section 290 of the California Penal Code. AND:
    • The conviction/incarceration occurred in California;
    • Any convictions that can be expunged have been expunged;
    • The individual has lived in California for five years; and
    • The individual has not been incarcerated for any reason since the release or expungements of his/her conviction.

You are not eligible for a certificate of rehabilitation if the following criteria exist:

  • Your conviction was a misdemeanor not listed in Penal Code 290;
  • You were convicted of a sex crime from Penal Code 286(c), 288, 288a(c), 288.5, or 289(j);
  • You received a life sentence a life sentence; and/or
  • You are in the military.

Can A Certificate of Rehabilitation eliminate your requirement to register as a Sex Offender under Penal Code 290?

A certificate of rehabilitation will terminate your requirement to register as sex offender. We have been successful in terminating sex offender registration contact our office so we can explain the latest update on the law in this area.

What other benefits are there?

When applying for State licensing agencies, they will look favorably on your when deciding to grant a state license (i.e., Nursing, Real Estate, Contractor, etc.)

How Does the Application Process Work?

If you are eligible to apply for a certificate of rehabilitation, we meet with you to get all of your information. Then we draft and file a petition with the Superior Court. The petition is extensive. It will include forms, and other documents. We serve a copy on the district attorney where the crime occurred and in the county where you currently reside and where we are filing the petition. The district attorney and probation department will conduct a background check on you and file their opposition.

A hearing will take place in court. The judge will consider all of the evidence and all the reasons for and against granting the certificate of rehabilitation. We will call the district attorney a head of time to get their opinion of the case. When the petition is granted the certificate I, the court immediately forwards it to the California Governor, where it becomes an application for a pardon.

Contact our office today for an evaluation of your case. Remember the initial consultation is free.


A pardon (also known as executive clemency) restores the rights that are lost upon a criminal conviction, such as the right to vote (if still on parole or in state prison), serve on a jury, or run for public office.

In California, Governor Pardons are rarely granted and are issued only after a rigorous investigation. One must ordinarily wait to apply until at least ten years after release from incarceration, probation, or parole, and have engaged in no criminal activity during that time. Three common reasons for seeking a pardon are:

  • For out-of-state individuals to bypass the residency requirement for a Certificate of Rehabilitation;
  • For individuals who are otherwise ineligible to apply for a certificate because of the nature of their conviction (for example, a misdemeanor or certain sex offenses); or
  • To lift a specific statutory bar to employment that requires both a certificate and a pardon.

Grounds for Receiving a Pardon

The petitioner must show that since their release, the petitioner has lived “an honest and upright life… with sobriety and industry,” exhibited “a good moral character” and “conformed to and obeyed the laws of the land.” To demonstrate these qualities, the court will look for information such as participation in community organizations, volunteer work, additional education and/or professional training, providing childcare or elder parent care (where applicable), membership in religious organizations, membership in social organizations, no new criminal offenses and/or citations, counseling, and so forth.

Review Process

The Legal Affairs staff will review the applicant’s letter, and, if deemed allowed to continue, will send forms to the petitioner to complete the application process. After the petitioner returns the completed forms, the Board of Prison Terms will conduct an investigation. The Executive Board will then determine whether the case should progress to the Governor. If the petitioner has been convicted of more than one felony in separate trials, the California Supreme Court must also approve the application.

Because your chances of receiving a pardon form the governor are slim, we recommend contacting our office for a free consultation to review your case and look at the merits of your individual case.

CALL TOLL FREE 877-815-7421

You may also use our online case form or simply email us at info@expungecriminalrecordattorney.com.
The Law offices of Stull & Stull are located in Laguna Hills, California. Certificate of Rehabilitation Attorney Orange County Ca Expungement Lawyer


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