I just finished my summary probation for a petty theft charge I acquired 2 years ago (CALIFORNIA). I am now in the process of filing for an expungement, however, I've read on many of these threads and self-help law sites that regardless of the expungement, employers will still discriminate. First, I was curious whether or not it would be more beneficial to get a lawyer to do the expungement? Does it even make a difference?? I don't exactly have the funding for a lawyer. Second, if I find it difficult to get a job (I just finished getting my B.A. earlier than expected) esp. in the field I want to go into (therapy/counseling of trauma victims) is there any way to file discrimination charges against that particular employer?
Also, as far as background checking goes, if you have an expungement doesn't that automatically clear you? On the CA court website it says that once your charges are dismissed via form 1203.4 (which is what I would be petitioning for) employers are to treat you as though the crime never occurred? Or is it determined by relevance to the job you're looking to get hired for? In my case, how does petty theft relate to an inability to get hired for an entry level counseling or behavioral therapy position?? As a tangent, I should just go to law school to turn this system around..CA places too much emphasis on that which doesn't cause imminent harm to others. When I was in court for the charges, men who were getting convicted of BEATING THEIR WIVES MULTIPLE TIMES and DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE (both of which can actually result in the death of another human being) were getting punishments less severe than my first offense. Anyway, aside from that tangent, don't get me wrong, I deserved to be punished but I don't feel like people charged with petty theft should be held back from succeeding indefinitely... I appreciate anyone's expert advice. Thanks.