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Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill into law that will reduce the waiting period for those looking to receive a Certificate of Rehabilitation.   The law is great news for many former offenders who hope to receive a Certificate, which will make it easier for them to fully reintegrate into society.

Senate Bill 530, authored by Democratic Senator Roderick Wright, eliminates the seven-year waiting period that previously had to be met before former offenders can apply to for a Certificate of Rehabilitation.  The bill, through the addition of Section 4852.22 to the Penal Code, gives a judge the discretion to grant the Certificate of Rehabilitation before the applicable period of rehabilitation has elapsed if the judge believes that it will serve the interests of justice.

A Certificate is a form of post-conviction relief that restores some rights that are lost as a result of a conviction.  While a Certificate does not erase the conviction, it does add a positive note to the record and increases a rehabilitated offender’s chances of being issued a professional or occupational license.  A Certificate also may relieve certain offenders of their duty to register as a sex offender under Penal Code section 290; however, SB 530 does not change the waiting period for those whose conviction requires them to register as a sex offender.

A Certificate of Rehabilitation is different than an expungement.  The certificate puts something positive on a person’s record; an expungement removes something negative from the record.


With the passage of SB 530, California law now allows rehabilitated individuals the opportunity to apply for a Certificate of Rehabilitation and have their case heard by a judge.   Previously former offenders were unable to even apply until the statutory minimum period of rehabilitation had passed, regardless of the circumstances and evidence of rehabilitation present.  This law is a great step towards remedying some of the problems former offenders face when trying to find employment and reintegrate into society.

Written by the RecordClearing Team

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