*Note this page is provided for informational purposes only, we are no longer providing expungement services.
We can help clear your criminal record.
What are expungements?
Expungements are a form of relief that is granted by California courts to dismiss post-conviction criminal charges against a defendant.
Expungements are beneficial because it allows individuals to move on from what is usually a dark part of their past.
Getting a record expunged also allows a person, to answer “no” if asked by a private employer if they have been convicted of a crime.
Indeed, California Labor Code section 432.7 says that an employer cannot ask someone applying for a job for information about an arrest or detention that did not end in a conviction. Also, an employer cannot ask about a referral to or participation in any diversion program. An employer is also not supposed to look for any record of arrest (from any source) that did not end in a conviction. If this information comes to the employer’s attention anyway, the employer cannot use that record as a factor in hiring, promoting, or terminating that person.
Once a conviction is expunged, it becomes an arrest that did not end in conviction. Legally, you may answer “No” to these types of questions when applying with a private employer. Keep in mind, that background checks typically go back 10 years, and employers can see that you had a conviction dismissed. Answering “No” may look dishonest. A better response may be “Yes, dismissed in the interests of justice.” When applying for government employment, you must disclose the conviction and expungement. Generally, when applying for public sector employment is wise to disclose all convictions, whether they were dismissed or not.
Getting a criminal conviction expunged or dismissed
Now, how do you get an expungment? The three most utilized sections of law related to expungements are:
1. The first, PC § 1203.4, is used to expunge cases in which probation was part of the sentence.
2. The second, PC § 1203.4a, is used expunge cases in which there was no probation.
3. The third, PC § 17, is used to reduce a felony conviction to a misdemeanor, which can then be dismissed. Felonies meeting the criteria under PC § 17 are often called “wobblers,” meaning they could be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor.
Once you determine what category you fit in to, you can being the filing process. This requires accurately completing the forms, filing them in the correct jurisdiction, and providing adequate notice to interested parties, such as the prosecuting agency for your criminal case, when appropriate. In some cases, there may be a hearing that you may have to attend, and you may have to provide additional information to the court. Navigating this process can be difficult for individuals, and most likely the assistance of an attorney will be well worth the additional cost.
Benefits of an expungement
So if you got your case dismissed (expunged) by the courts what does it change for you? Although your conviction may be dismissed, restrictions resulting from the conviction cannot. Moreover, an expungement does not:
• Remove the conviction from your criminal history. California and FBI criminal history records will still show the conviction and the subsequent dismissal.
• Seal the court case file from public inspection. The court file remains public record.
• Reinstate your right to possess firearms. In some cases, reduction of a non-violent felony to a misdemeanor may accomplish this.
• Relieve you of your duty to register as a sex offender. In some cases, this may be accomplished by a different motion to the court.
• Allow you to omit the conviction from applications for government-issued licenses. You must disclose your conviction and expungement in your license application.
• Allow you to omit the conviction from application for government employment. If you are applying for a government job, a job that requires security clearance, or a job that requires a government-issued license, certificate, or permit, you must disclose the conviction and expungement.
• Allow you to hold public office, if the conviction prevented you from doing so.
• Prevent the conviction from being used to refuse or revoke a government license or permit, such as real estate license, teaching credential, security guard certificate, etc.
• Prevent the conviction from being used as a “prior.” The dismissed conviction can be used for determining sentencing enhancements in subsequent convictions.
• Prevent the conviction from being used by the DMV. Expunged convictions may be used to suspend or revoke driving privileges.
• Prevent the conviction from being used by US Citizenship and Immigration Services. In many situations, an expunged conviction may be considered for removal or exclusion purposes.
The forms typically required for an expungement are attached below. We recommend you consult with an attorney before filing these forms.
Petition for Dismissal (cr180)
Order for Dismissal (cr181)