Bay Area

New California bill would automatically clear criminal records

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) - San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón and  Assemblymember Phil Ting introduced new legislation that could clear hundreds of thousands of criminal records. 

The new bill, AB-1076, would provide some relief to Californians who were arrested and never convicted of a crime or who were convicted of a misdemeanor or non-violent offense and have paid their dues to society. 

Gascón is asking the California Department of Justice to put together a database with eligible people who have served their time, completed probation requirements, and now qualify for expungement.

If passed, the database would automatically clear those records. 

According to the district attorney's office, there are 8 million residents in Calfornia with criminal convictions that in turn come with 40,000 legal restrictions— collateral consequences, that hinder them from starting over. 

Gascón said some people have a hard time finding employment, housing, and aren't eligible for students loans. 

"Rehabilitation starts with a fresh start," Ting says. But the expungement process and the cost associated— about $3,500, can be a burden.

The historic piece of legislation will help thousands of Californians turn a new leaf and contribute to society. 

The bill only applies to misdemeanors or non-violent offenses, it doesn't doesn't apply to sex offenses or violent crimes.

Applicants for government jobs are required to disclose their criminal history. Law enforcement and the courts will be able to see those prior convictions. 

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