Record Expungement California FAQs
Is it possible to have my record expunged?
Record expungement is possible with a few exceptions. If you have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor and complied with all conditions of your probation, then you qualify to petition the court to have your case dismissed.
In this process you request that the court reopen your criminal case, withdraw the plea or guilty verdict, dismiss the charges, and re-close the case without a conviction. In effect, you are no longer a convicted person. However, the case record itself will still exist, but the outcome of the case in will no longer be your plea or conviction, but instead dismissed in the “Interests of Justice,” or “IOJ.”
Do I qualify?
You will qualify for a record expungement if…
You received probation for the conviction and:
- You successfully completed probation or your probation was terminated early;
- You also have paid all the fines, restitution, and reimbursements ordered by the court as part of your sentence;
- You are not currently serving another sentence or on probation for another offense; AND
- You are not currently charged with another offense.
You never received probation and:
- Your conviction was a misdemeanor or an infraction;
- It has been at least 1 year since the date you were convicted;
- You have complied fully with the sentence of the court;
- You are not currently serving another sentence;
- You are not currently charged with another offense; AND
- You have obeyed the law and lived an honest and upright life since the time of your conviction
* If you were convicted of a felony that could have been charged as a misdemeanor (a “wobbler”), then an additional motion will need to be filed before petitioning the court for an expungement. This is a request to have your case reduced to a misdemeanor pursuant to Penal Code section 17(b).
** If you were convicted of a felony and sent to state prison, you will need a Certificate of Rehabilitation.
*** You are not eligible for an expungement if you have been convicted of any of the following:
- Any misdemeanor within the provisions of Vehicle Code section 42002.1;
- Any infraction within the provisions of Vehicle Code section 42001;
- Any violation of Penal Code section 286(c), 288, 288.5, 288a(c), or 289(j); or
- A felony under Penal Code section 261.5(d).
What information will I need?
To file a petition with the court your attorney will need the following information. If you don’t have all of it, your attorney at The Chastaine Law Office can likely track it down for you.
- What is your case number — sometimes called “docket number”?
- What was your date of conviction — which is the date of your plea, verdict, or finding of guilt?
- What is the code name and section number you were convicted of violating?
- Were you granted probation (either formal or informal probation, since they are treated the same in your record)? If so, how long was your probation?
- Were you ordered to pay any fines, restitution, or reimbursement?
- Have you completed all terms of probation, including payment of all fines and/or restitution?
What Can a Record Expungement Do For Me?
Getting an expungement will change your criminal record from “convicted” to “dismissed.” Once this is done, you may legally answer, on most job applications, that you have never been convicted of a crime.
Labor Code section 432.7(a) prevents expunged convictions from being used against job applicants:
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 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, any record of arrest that did not result in conviction, 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. Nothing in this section shall prevent an employer from asking an employee or applicant for employment about an arrest for which the employee or applicant is out on bail or on his or her own recognizance pending trial.
What Can’t a Record Expungement Do For Me?
An expungement will not do any of the following:
- Will not result in a complete erasure of the arrest or conviction. The case will will show up as “Dismissed per PC 1203.4” rather than “convicted.”
- Will not reinstate right to a firearm if your conviction came with a ten year California ban or a lifetime Federal ban.
- Will not end the requirement to register as a sex offender pursuant to Penal Code section 290. This, however, may be accomplished through a Certificate of Rehabilitation
- Will not prevent the prior conviction from being used to enhance penalties in a future case (e.g. expunging a first DUI does not prevent the district attorney from charging a DUI with a prior if it takes place within ten years of the first.)
How long does it take?
How long it takes depends on the county. We typically advise clients it will take 90 days.