Tips for Writing a Declaration

The declaration is your chance to present evidence to convince the judge that you deserve an expungement. Here are some tips for writing your declaration:[3317]

    First, explain the basic information about your conviction and sentence. Tell the judge why your conviction meets the requirements for discretionary expungement (see PG. 963 for a list of requirements).
    Next, explain why granting your expungement would be “in the interest of justice”—meaning why you deserve to have your conviction expunged, and how the expungement will help you succeed in the future.
    Here are some examples of things you may want to talk about (but only if they are true for your situation!):
    If there were circumstances that made your life especially difficult at time of your conviction;
    How you are turning your life around;
    Your work and/or school history (including any vocational training, GED or other classes, and other programs you’ve participated in);
    Current opportunities for work, school, and other activities to enrich your life, and how expungement will help you take advantage of these opportunities;
    Your family situation and needs, and how an expungement will help you reconnect with, support, or otherwise benefit your family; and
    Any problems you have had completing probation, and what you are doing to address those problems.
    You should be specific and honest, and include as many details as possible to give the judge a concrete picture of what happened. But you should not include irrelevant or unnecessary information that might distract him/her.
    Finally, it is recommended that you ask a lawyer to look over your declaration before you turn it in, if possible.
  1. 3317

    Adapted from Santa Clara Law Library, Expunging Adult Criminal Records in Santa Clara County,