California does not offer a true “expungement” in the way that most people believe it exists. In California, an “expungement” is a Petition to Dismiss a case pursuant to Penal Code section 1203.4. In short, it does not remove a conviction from your record, but it does add a note that indicates the conviction has been dismissed. The benefits it provides an individual are still beneficial since one does not have to disclose the conviction on a job application (with limited exceptions for professional licensing and governmental employment). Moreover, the conviction cannot be used against the recipient of an expungement for employment purposes.
When filing for an “expungement”, you must meet 2 basic criteria: (1) Be off probation for the offense you are seeking dismissed, and (2) not have any other cases pending or be on probation for any other case. In other words, you have to be free and clear from any involvement with the Criminal courts. Technically, an “expungement” is discretionary for the judge and does not have to be granted. However, if you have gone through probation without any problems, the process becomes almost automatic – a petition for relief still must be completed and filed, but this scenario usually means a granting the petition is mandatory. Even if you have technically violated probation, it may still be a good idea to have an attorney assist with the process as it may lead to a determination that no probation violation actually occurred.
For more information about getting your case “expunged” contact our office immediately for a free consultation.