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Jim Hassey
San Diego Attorney
San Diego Attorney

Jim's posts

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Thank you to my brothers at Sigma Phi Epsilon at San Diego State University for asking me to come speak to them this afternoon. All the guys had great questions and interesting hypothetical scenarios. We covered the most important facts about DUIs, Hazing, and Domestic Violence. All current and relevant issues on campuses today. Thank you again and I look forward to seeing you guys again soon.

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The law and the legal system can be an amazing thing. It can be the great equalizer and keep things fair and balanced. I get great personal satisfaction speaking to groups and helping as many people as possible understand their rights. When I begin, the group is usually passive and sceptical. I love seeing the group's mind-set change as they become engaged and start peppering me with questions in various areas of law such as Criminal law, Employment law, Landlord-Tenant law, etc. It's great practice for 'turning juries' in your/your client's favor. Education is key.

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Clearing Your Criminal Record of a Past Conviction:
Can a potential employer ask me about my criminal history?
The general rule is, Per the California Labor Code §432.7 (see below) a California employer may NOT ask a person applying for employment (including applying for a program that may lead to employment) about:
• Arrests that did not lead to convictions, or
• Convictions that have been expunged, or 
• Juvenile arrests that have been sealed or Juvenile sustained petitions, or
• “Arrests” or times you were “Charged” with a crime but you successfully completed a pre or post-trial Diversion Program under Penal Code §1000, or
• A Conviction that has been dismissed or ordered sealed via California Penal Code §1203.4, §1203.4a, §1203.45, and §1210.1.
California Labor Code §432.7
(a) No employer, whether a public agency or private individual or corporation, shall ask an applicant for employment to disclose, through any written form or verbally, information concerning an arrest or detention that did not result in conviction, or information concerning a referral to, and participation in, any
Pre-trial or post-trial diversion program, or concerning a conviction that has been judicially dismissed or ordered sealed pursuant to law, including, but not limited to, Sections 1203.4, 1203.4a, 1203.45, and 1210.1 of the Penal Code, nor shall any employer seek from any source whatsoever, or utilize, as a factor in determining any condition of employment including hiring, promotion, termination, or any apprenticeship training program or any other training program leading to employment, any record of arrest or detention that did not result in conviction, or any record regarding a referral to, and participation in, any pretrial or post-trial diversion program, or concerning a conviction that has been judicially dismissed or ordered sealed pursuant to law, including, but not limited to, Sections 1203.4, 1203.4a, 1203.45, and 1210.1 of the Penal Code.

Additionally, whether or not you have a “duty to disclose” a past conviction for a felony or misdemeanor crime in California is complicated. There are multiple variables that are involved including but not limited to:
• Is there a specific statute governing the issue?
• What kind of job are you applying for?
As a general rule, honesty is a good policy. However, some people think that, taking into account the aforementioned Labor Code 432.7, and if the employer’s pre-hire question(s) is/are not specific, it’s better to respond in the negative and become such a stellar valuable employee that once the employer finds out the technical truth, the employer will not think the employees past is that monumental in light of what a great employee the person has become. The other side of that logic is that once an employer finds out you did not practice full-disclosure, you may not be trustworthy.

How Arrest Records Show Up on a Background Check
If you were arrested and charged with a crime, a record of your arrest is likely entered into a State-wide database and then sent to a National database at the FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC). Even if your case was dismissed or you were found not-guilty, there is likely still a public record of your “arrest”.

What Is a Criminal Expungement?
An expungement is the process of going to court to appear before a judge with the purpose of convincing the Judge to dismiss the charge(s) against you. Many times (almost always) someone from the prosecution (City Attorney’s Office or District Attorney’s Office) will show up to contest your request. Expungements can be very beneficial. Once an expungement is granted, in most instances, when a person is asked… “do you have a criminal record”… you can truthfully and legally answer “No”.

However, an expungement does not completely erase your criminal record in the State of California. The only way to completely hide your past criminal record is to petition the court to have your criminal records “sealed” and then subsequently “destroyed”.

What Types of Convictions Can be Expunged?
With a few exceptions (such as sex related crimes) any felony conviction where probation was granted or any misdemeanor or infraction conviction can be expunged.
In list form, the following crimes CAN be expunged:
• Infractions
• most Misdemeanor convictions,
• most Felony convictions where probation was granted - EXCEPT certain SEX crime offenses.

SEALING a Criminal History Record
Many people mistakenly believe that the Government destroys their past “arrest” records simply because they were not “convicted” of a crime or because their sentence was “deferred”. Even if after you were arrested and charged, your case was subsequently “dismissed”, your records will show that you were “charged” with a crime unless you petition the court to have your arrest record sealed with a factual finding of innocence.
Events Occurring Prior To Age 18
If you were under the age of 18 at the time the event occurred (not the time of court proceedings) and you were charged in Juvenile court it’s in your best interest to have the criminal arrest sealed from your record. With employers becoming more cautious in their hiring process, more employers are doing more due-diligence and performing back-ground checks on potential hires. An arrest or citation on your record can affect your ability to get hired for employment, get approved for housing, education, a loan, and security clearances.
The following information is generally most helpful in expunging a past conviction from a record:
• Case Number: ____________
• Date of Offense/Arrest: ____________
• Date of Conviction: _____________
• Charge(s): _____________________
• Count(s): ______________________
• Are you currently on Probation:_______
• How many years of Probation were you given:________ (generally 3 or 5 yrs)
• Were you supposed to pay any court Fines:____ Did you pay them (on-time):_____
• Were you supposed to pay any Restitution:_____ (If Yes – did you pay it?)
• Were you supposed to complete any Conviction Program (1st or Multiple):___
• Did you complete it?:___
• Were you ordered to complete any AA or MADD classes?:____ Did you complete them?:_____
• Were you supposed to complete any Public Work Service:____ Did you complete it:____
• Were you supposed to complete any Community Service Hourse:_ Did you complete them:
• While you were on Probation, were you arrested or were any warrants issued for your arrest:___
• Were there any other terms of your probation:____ Did you comply with them:____

If you have additional questions, please call the Law Office of James Hassey. Contact Mr. Hassey today at 858-373-8201 or email him at

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Glad to go above and beyond for my clients....
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In case you're buying a car from a dealership in Arizona, and because of the dealership's mistake the transaction falls apart and you don't receive the car you negotiated for... Arizona's Uniform Commercial Code (which governs transactions involving goods (i.e.- Cars)) the dealership must cover the cost of the rental car and if a replacement car ends up costing more... the dealership has to cover the difference.

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Generally when a person pleads guilty to a charge and agrees to the sentence that the court imposes on him/her, the person must abide by those terms/that sentence. However, when the defendant has just cause (a very very good reason) to ask the court to modify their sentence, if the argument is presented in the correct manner, the court has the power to modify his/her sentence. (Although this is not a guarantee of future outcomes) this client called me the night before he was supposed to turn himself in to serve approximately 6 months in jail. After his conviction and prior to the date he was supposed to turn himself in to start serving his time, he got a new job and didn't want to lose it by having to spend the first 6 months of it in jail. Although the prosecution was against my request... after presenting facts to support our 'just cause' we were able to get the Judge to agree to allow him to serve his time only on the weekends so he wouldn't be in danger of losing his new job. The client is a good person with a good hear that made a small mistake and, although wants to serve his debt to society, wanted to do it in a manner that was best for everyone. Sometimes the system works... 

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Thank you to the American Institute of Legal Counsel for naming me one of the Top 10 Attorneys in California. What a great honor. Now the pressure's on even more to work even harder to keep winning for my clients.

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Thank you to the San Diego State International Business Society for inviting me to speak to their group. It was a great time meeting new people and covering different aspects and ramifications involved in various legal situations.

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Thank you to the students of CVHS for inviting me to come speak to their Criminal Law class. We covered not only Constitutional Law but how it applies to Criminal Defense.

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Thank you to the students of the Administration of Justice class at San Diego City College for allowing me to appear as a guest speaker and cover the ins-and-outs of the court system and how to attack various cases. Topics covered: Contract Law, Employment Law, and of course Criminal Law.
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