Expungement


Case Dismissal, Expungement, & Sealing

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Felony, Misdemeanor or Infraction-Expungement In CA

If you plead to a criminal charge or were convicted of a charge, that record will be with you forever. However, an expungement may be able to help your future! An expunged record will show as "dismissed" on the court web site. Employers and Licensing Boards must take into consideration the fact that your case has been expunged. 

  1. What is an Expungement?

If you were convicted of an infraction, a misdemeanor, or a felony and were not sentenced to state prison, we can petition the court for a dismissal. This means you were given county jail time, probation, a fine, or a combination of those and you may be eligible for an expungement. The court will set aside the conviction and the court record would show "dismissed" rather than a conviction.

Most counties have a website in which your arrest and conviction are on many databases. Once the court approves the "dismissal", then the record is sent to the California Department of Justice, and your record should show cleared for most searches and public records. 

  • 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. 

Furthermore, 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. A conviction, for purposes of this code section, includes pleas, verdicts, or findings of guilt. 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.

An employer may ask an employee or someone applying for a job about an arrest where the case is still pending. This is because an employer would not want to hire someone who may end up with a conviction that effects their employment. 

Generally, you are protected from having to disclose to an employer an arrest that did not result in a conviction. The expungement would result in you not have to disclose your conviction information to an employer because your record would show the case as “dismissed” in most situations.

THE LAW REGARDING PROFESSIONAL LICENSES JUST GOT BETTER FOR YOU!

  • CA Business and Professions Code, section 480. 

This addresses professional licenses and how an expungement may assist in getting a license. “A person shall not be denied a license solely on the basis of a conviction that has been dismissed pursuant to Section 1203.4 (e.g. CA Expungement) of the Penal Code. An applicant who has a conviction that has been dismissed pursuant to Section 1203.4, shall provide proof of the dismissal. This is specific to a board within the California Department of Consumer Affairs and the licensing authority of this agency.

Here is a link to their website to get a list of licenses: CA Dept. of Consumer Affairs 

A person shall not be denied a license solely on the basis that he or she has been convicted of a felony if he or she has obtained a certificate of rehabilitation … or that he or she has been convicted of a misdemeanor if he or she has met all applicable requirements of the criteria of rehabilitation developed by the board to evaluate the rehabilitation of a person when considering the denial of a license.

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What an expungement will do:

Once all your convictions have been dismissed, this is what you can expect:

1. Applying for private employment

Under most circumstances, private employers cannot ask you about any convictions dismissed under Penal Code section 1203.4. So when applying for a job in the private sector, you generally do not have to disclose a conviction if it was dismissed or expunged. But it is a good idea to read Penal Code section 1203.4, or California Code of Regulations section 7287.4(d), or to talk to your attorney if you have questions about your rights and obligations regarding past convictions when applying for a job. 

2. Applying for government employment or a government license

For questions by government employers or on government licensing applications, if you are asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime, you MUST respond with “YES—CONVICTION DISMISSED.” In California, government employers and licensing agencies (except for police agencies and concessionaire licensing boards) will treat you the same as if you had never been convicted of any crime.

You will not be allowed to own or possess a firearm without an expungement or dismissal.

Your dismissed convictions can still be used to increase your punishment in future criminal cases.

Your prior convictions can still effect your driving privileges.

Effect of Expungement on Rights to Stay in the United States if a non-citizen

If you are convicted of a crime while you are lawfully in the U.S., the government may deport you back to your home country.

Contact an Immigration Attorney for further information. 

Early Termination of Probation in California Criminal Cases

California law allows a judge to terminate a defendant's probation ahead of schedule.

Penal Code 1203.3 PC reads: "The court shall have authority at any time during the term of probation to revoke, modify, or change its order of suspension of imposition or execution of sentence. The court may at any time when the ends of justice will be subserved thereby, and when the good conduct and reform of the person so held on probation shall warrant it, terminate the period of probation, and discharge the person so held."

If the judge grants an early termination of probation, the court will often expunge the defendant's criminal record. And in felony wobblercases, the judge may also reduce the felony to a misdemeanor at the same time.

Before terminating your probation early, the judge will want to ensure that:

1   You have successfully completed the terms of your probation (such as fines, classes or restitution),

2  There are circumstances that justify early termination of probation.

Valid reasons may include (but are not limited to) the fact that your probation is

•   keeping you from securing gainful employment,

•   preventing you from advancing at work, or

•   restricting necessary travel.

Early termination of probation can make it easier for you to find a job, join a branch of the military, attain a professional license and allow you to move on to a more successful life. 

Current California law regarding expungements gives the court the discretion to grant a request for early termination of probation at any time during the probation period. Even if the District Attorney's office opposes and early termination of probation, we have successfully won motions based on good deed, good character and employment necessity.  Most judges want to see people complete at least half of their probation time before they will seriously consider the motion to terminate probation early.