California Expungement FAQFrequently Asked Questions


We have the answers to all of your California expungement related questions. If you are trying to determine if your record is eligible for expungement, the quickest and easiest way to do that is to take our free, no obligation, online expungement eligibility test.

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Topic: California Expungement FAQ
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Teresa
14th November 2015 7:51am
I have a misdemeanor and I'm going to get it expunged. Is there always a hearing after the 4-6 weeks, and I just moved do I have to appear in the hearing or what do I do about that?
Admin:
Many but not all cases require a hearing; however if there is a hearing, you will not need to attend it if you have an attorney appear for you. If you are interested in signing up for an expungement with our firm so we can handle everything for you, including representing you at the hearing, please contact our office or sign up at the conclusion of the eligibility test.
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Osvaldo V.
2nd November 2015 4:52pm
Why can't I find a job while being on informal probation and can I get my misdemeanor in commercial burglary expunged and get my record sealed?
Admin:
Unfortunately, a criminal record can have a huge impact on the ability to find employment and some employers do not consider applicants that are still serving a sentence. Depending on how far into your probation term you currently are, you may be able to petition for early termination.  Your probation will also need to have been terminated or completed before you can petition to have your case expunged in California.  Please take the eligibility test to determine your current options.
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HNP
16th October 2015 7:27pm
I had wet reckless misdemeanor in CA and was later expunged this year. Will the arrest and conviction show up in employment background checks for non-driving jobs after the expungement? If the wet reckless is still showing up in my DMV record, then what's the point of the expungement as people can still see it through the DMV record?
Admin:
After the expungement, the case will not appear in many background checks.  This is because many checks are only reporting conviction data, and your case is no longer a conviction. It will still appear on your DMV record; however, many employers and landlords only look for criminal records and do not pull driving records and that is why an expungement in California is still a very worthwhile investment.
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Raul L.
4th September 2015 11:01pm
Can my record be destroyed all together from FBI background checks if I had a misdemeanor with some probation violations?
Admin:
Unfortunately if you have a California conviction, you cannot get the case fully removed/destroyed from your record.  The court, DOJ and FBI will all still have and report the case as a dismissed case.  However, depending on who is requesting your FBI report or CA DOJ report and for what purpose.  Having the case expunged (dismissed pursuant to PC 1203.4) can often times mean that the case is not disclosed, because if the person or agency requesting your record is only looking for convictions your case would no longer fit that criteria after an expungement.
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Sara
29th August 2015 12:57pm
I was just notified that Higbee has successfully expunged my last case! This is terrific news for me since the three cases I had been involved in 10.5 years ago have plagued me and my life since.

I would like to finally put in an application to volunteer at my daughter's charter school. Do the Live Scans conducted by schools display the same information as a live scan a person would pull on themself? If all of the information is in fact shown from my expunged cases, which are theft and drug-related, what do I say to the school? That I wasn't convicted? Because that doesn't sound probable in my situation.

Admin:
Not all Live Scan reports include the same information.  A report pulled on yourself will show your entire criminal history, though it will now indicate those case has been dismissed pursuant to 1203.4.  However, live scans pulled by different types of agencies will include varying levels of information. Some will only include convictions, some only more serious or more recent convictions.  You can now indicate you do not have any convictions on your record. For more information, please see our page on CA LiveScans.
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Victor
30th July 2015 9:39am
Now that my felony has been expunged will I be able to vote and legally purchase a weapon?
Admin:
An expungement does not affect your right to vote. Your right to vote however is restored upon your release from incarceration or parole.  Additionally, a felony expungement alone will not restore your firearm rights. A felony reduction could affect your firearm rights. Please see our answer above for more information or contact us to discuss the specifics of your case and questions.
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Bob B.
25th June 2015 3:05pm
I got my domestic violence misdemeanor expunged. It's been 7 years and I was wondering on a police application when it ask if I ever had a DV charge can I put no? Will it show when they do the background check? Also can I do anything else to get it more of my record?
Admin:
There is nothing you can do to get it cleared from your record any further.  The issues involved with applying to become a police officer are discussed above in the "Seeking Employment" section.  The expunged misdemeanor will appear; however, the bigger obstacle in your case, with a DV offense, is that your loss of firearms will likely disqualify you.  Please see above for more details.
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JE
22nd June 2015 3:19pm
If a misdemeanor domestic case was dismissed or expunged, what is next step in restoring gun rights?
Admin:
Unfortunately in the case of a domestic violence conviction in California, a dismissal or expungement is not enough to lift the federal ban that applies to domestic violence offenses. The federal prohibition is a lifetime ban. Your only option to restore the federal ban at this time is a pardon.
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Bob
20th June 2015 1:16pm
I had couple felonies in California that were reduced to misdemeanors and ultimately all dismissed after successfully completing probation. Can I own a firearm?
Admin:
Without knowing a little more information regarding your cases, we cannot be certain. Reducing the felonies to misdemeanors may have restored your firearm rights, but certain serious/violent misdemeanors also can affect gun rights, as well as misdemeanor domestic violence cases. If you wish for us to review your cases and your rights, please contact us and we can do a firearm rights evaluation for you.
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Ni
9th June 2015 3:30pm
I pleaded no contest to grand theft I. The amount of $265.000. I was sentenced to 8-16 months but was under AB109 so I did 8 months in the county jail. Is this eligible for expungement?
Admin:
If you were sentenced to county jail under AB 109 (the felony realignment bill), your case will be eligible for expungement, assuming other requirements are met such as completing the sentence - including payment of fines.  There is a 1 year waiting period if you served a split sentence (had supervision following release from county jail) or there is a 2 year waiting period if you served the entire sentence in county jail (with no supervision following).  Please take our eligibility test or contact our office to discuss your eligibility if you have additional questions.
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Eric
25th May 2015 6:07pm
I have two misdemeanor convictions in California that I want to have expunged. I am currently living in Nevada. Would I have to be present at the court for the process of expungement?
Admin:
This question is answered above in the "Expungement Process" section. You would most likely never need to be present at court in California for any part of the expungement process, we'd handle everything for you.
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James
7th May 2015 4:29pm
If my conviction gets reduced to a misdemeanor and then dismissed/expunged, and assuming that the federal agencies update their records, will a background check from another country show anything? Meaning, could I be denied a visa for "criminal activity" even though the conviction is expunged? I'm wondering what kind of check other countries use, and if I would need to put if I was convicted of a crime on a visa form. Thank you!
Admin:
If granted a California expungement, the conviction and case will still appear on a criminal record obtained from the state or federal government. There will be an additional update/entry added to the case which states that the conviction has subsequently been dismissed. The case will very likely appear on the type of check a country will perform for visa applicants. Each country has their own criteria to determine whether they grant or deny a visa and what constitutes "criminal activity." If you get the charge reduced and expunged, the fact the court granted those requests will likely hold a lot of weight when they are analyzing your records.
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Zach
6th May 2015 11:44am
If I was convicted of M273.5(a) on in 2005 for a domestic with "girlfriend" in a few months the 10 year ban is up according to my old probation terms which said it was pursuant to USC 922(1) however the max sentence was only up to a year in county jail not "exceeding" is this an error on their part? Will I still fall under fed ban if it was just a girlfriend? If so what can I do to get federal relief on the firearm disability? Thank you.
Admin:

 It sounds like the prohibition you are describing is the CA one under PC 12021(c) for certain misdemeanors. That prohibition expires after 10 years. However, if your case also fits into the definition of a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence" under USC 921 and the federal ban applies, that is a lifetime ban. If you were living with your girlfriend, have childen or she was otherwise similarly situated to a spouse then you may be prohibited under the Lautenberg Amendment. Without knowing more about the exact circumstances of your case, we cannot say if you are banned under that federal law. But if you are banned, your only option would be to seek a pardon for your offense; a CA expungement does not life the federal firearm ban. 

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Jason
26th April 2015 8:09am
If a reduction to misdemeanor is granted for a felony DUI conviction does your DMV driving record get updated? Or does the felony conviction stay on your record for the 10 years?
Admin:
A DUI conviction regardless of the level of offense, misdemeanor or felony, remains on your DMV record for a period of 10 years. You may be able to have the fact it was reduced pursuant to 17b and/or dismissed pursuant to 1203.4 on the record, but it remains on there for 10 years.
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Karla
15th April 2015 9:41am
If you do an expungement and get approved by the court, can you also do a CA record sealing for the same case?
Admin:
No, you would not be eligible for a record sealing of that case.  Please refer to the question and answer above on that subject that can be found in the Expungement Eligibility section.
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Nathaniel D.
12th April 2015 7:40pm
Can I have my juvenile record expunged If it was committed In another state. I have a juvenile record In Pennsylvania and moved to California. Could I have it expunged or reduced here or would I have to go back to Pennsylvania?
Admin:
You would need to file for the expungement in the state where the case occurred. However, you would not likely need to personally appear and you should be able to handle the whole process from California. We offer juvenile expungements in Pennsylvania.  You can learn more by visiting our PA Juvenile Expungement page.  Or you can see if your case is eligibie by taking the eligibility test.
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Brian
10th April 2015 5:42pm
I have had my felonies reduced and then expunged. Am I now able to serve on a jury in California? I just received a summons.
Admin:
If you have had your felonies reduced to misdemeanors, then those prior convictions will no longer prohibit you from serving on a jury in the state of California.  Please see the question regarding jury duty above in the section "Expungement Benefits" to review the other criteria for serving on a jury.
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JD
30th March 2015 8:47pm
Had a CA conviction in 1992 and received probation. Moved to another state and completed probation underthe Interstate Compact agreement. Following successful completion with no violations, petitioned CA court to have the conviction set aside and it was granted. I thought it was gone. A background check for employment did not show an arrest or conviction, but it the probation record from the 2nd state did show up. I was under the understanding that everything pertaining to that incident was to be removed. Can that out of state probation report be removed and can you do that?
Admin:
That is something that you should definitely be able to get removed. You did not specify what state you moved to that is showing your probation information.  It may be as easy as sending them the CA paperwork or you may have to file something with the courts in that state, depending on the types of records they maintain on your case. Please contact our office to discuss your situation and see if we can assist you to get that information removed.
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Tina
9th March 2015 10:14am
My son was convicted of Health & Safety Code 11350(a), Possession of a Controlled Substance AND they tacked on possession of a firearm. I never understood how they could add on the firearm charge when he legally owned and registered the hunting rifle. While it was in the house it was not in his hands at the time of arrest.
We've been told that under Prop 47 his felony cannot be reduced due to the firearm charge, is this fact?
Admin:
Having another charge included in the case does not necessarily affect his ability to reduce the Possession of a Controlled Substance offenses under Prop 47.  There are certain types of convictions for serious offenses that would make him ineligible to reduce his charge but based on the information you provided it does not sound as though that firearm charge would be one of those. You did not specifiy the exact PC section that was tacked on or if it was a felony or misdemeanor. While his drug possession charge may be able to be reduced under Prop 47, the law does not apply to firearm possession offenses and that charge would not be able to be eligible for any relief under Prop 47. Please contact us directly to discuss his case in more detail.
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Ee
26th January 2015 12:03am
I have two misdemeanors. Which one should I expunge first? And what do I need to provide you to get the expungement process going?
Admin:
In California, you can file for both of those misdemeanor cases at the same time assuming you have completed the sentence for both. To get started on the process for you, we would only need general information regarding the case(s) you want expunged (approximate date, court it was heard in) and we can handle the rest from there.  Please take the eligibility test to get signed up online today or feel free to call our office to discuss your options and get started over the phone.
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DVA
14th January 2015 7:08pm
What does dismissed and set aside really mean when it comes to expungements?
How can the case be dismissed and set aside but still be a felony?
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Mathew Higbee
18th January 2015 10:53am
Set-aside refers to the plea of guilty, it is considered set-aside and replaced with a plea of not guilty.  Dismissed refers to the statuts of the case, which is changed from a conviction to dismissed.   The level of the class of the charge remains the same, unless it is reduced by a different motion, such as a Penal Code section 17(b).  These terms are all put forth in the law that governs California expungement, Penal Code section 1203.4
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p despa
5th January 2015 7:15pm
Back in 6/4/04 I was convicted of a felony conspiracy to commit a crime. I was placed on formal probation for three years. After my time, the judge automatically dropped my felony to a misdemeanor, expunged and dismissed the conviction. Am I still able to be a police officer? I have been able to purchase a firearm so therfore I take it that I don't have a felony.

Admin:
You are not statutorily inelgible.  So, law enforcement agencies could exercise their discretion to hire you.
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nestor gutierrez
3rd January 2015 3:54pm
Can I become a police officer in California if I expunge my record? I have always wanted to become a sheriff, but for some reason I went the wrong way.  I grew up in a rough neighborhood in Compton, California. I have not been in trouble in fours years and I need advice on getting a job as a police officer.
Admin:
Without knowing what is on your record, the best thing I can say is that you should contact the agency that you wish to work for and ask to speak with whomever handles the hiring process.  They would be glad to tell you what is the agency policy on hiring people with a criminal record.  In general, people with felony offenses are not eligible to work in law enforcement; however, I know that there have been exceptions.   Either way, get your record expunged.
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DH
27th December 2014 10:57am
I'm ashamed to say that I have been convicted of a DUI with great bodily harm. I did my time in county jail, completed probation and all of the requirements including paying my restitution with no trouble. I was successful in having my felony expunged with the judge reducing the charge to a misdemeanor and then dismissing the misdemeanor. After waiting a few months I applied to the DOJ to see if my firearm rights had been restored. They replied with a denial. What can I do? Why did this happen? Is it possible to restore my rights to own a firearm?
Admin:
Based on everything that you stated above, your firearm rights should have been restored by operation of the felony being reduced to a misdemeanor.  There is an appeal process.  We have been very successful in representing people in appealing their denials, both at the state and federal level.   As of 1/1/2015, we charge an hourly rate of $250.
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Antonio
19th December 2014 12:44am
I served prison time and now have a felony. Can I have the felony dropped down to a misdemeanor?
The felony happened over 17 years ago.
Admin:
Normally, a felony that results in a prison sentence (even a suspended one) is not eligible for expungement.  However, the recent passage of Proposition 47 now allows the following felonies to be reduced, even if a prison sentence was served:

  • Penal Code 459, Commercial Burglary 2nd Degree (less than $950)
  • Penal Code 470/473, Forgery (less than $950)
  • Penal code 476(a), Writing Bad Checks (less than $950)
  • Penal Code 487, Grand Theft (less than $950)
  • Penal Code 496(a), Receiving Stolen Property (less than $950)
  • Penal Code 666/484(a), Petty Theft with Prior Convictions (less than $950)
  • Health & Safety Code 11350(a), Possession of a Controlled Substance
  • Health & Safety Code 11357(a), Possession of Concentrated Cannabis
  • Health & Safety Code 11377(a), Possession of Methamphetamine
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Jason
18th December 2014 3:06pm
I was convicted of residential burglary about 15 years ago. The information that I got states that this is always a felony so it's not a wobbler conviction and that if you've done prison time then it can't be expunged. I was convicted and got a strike, but I didn't receive prison time. Does that mean that it can be expunged in the state of California?
Admin:
Because defendants often confuse the title of conviction as well as what the arrest was for and what the ultimate conviction was for, it is best to provide us with the penal code section number that you were convicted of violating.  That being said, residential burglary is typically prosecuted under Penal Code section 459, which is not a wobbler.
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Liz
2nd December 2014 11:25pm
My misdemeanor was expunged in 2010, what would my background check look like? Will it even mention it as expunged/dismissed or will it just not mention it at all?
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MathewHigbee
8th December 2014 10:29pm
This question is answered above under the category of: Seeking Employment After Expungement
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Teri
29th November 2014 10:53pm
I obtained my criminal history report about 5 years ago. When I received it, I called the courts expungement department who sent me court transcripts, fee waivers and documents to fill out for each case I had within their system. Most were misdemeanors. Eventually I received orders signed by the judge with minute orders to either dismiss in the interest of justice for the felony, reduced to a misdemeanor and then disniss. I have final minute orders for each case which took 11 months to receive them all back. I was under the impression that I'd completed the expungement process. AND I moved to OKC 3 years ago under the assumption that I'd done all I needed to do yet, but when I did an FBI check for the purpose of enrolling in school, I made a request for my criminal records. When I recieved it I expected everything to be expunged. However, it was identical to the report I got 5 years ago before I began all the court processes. Is there another action I was supposed to take after ... Read More
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MathewHigbee
30th November 2014 3:46pm
If your offenses were misdemeanor and felony convictions, you have done all that you can in the CA court system. If the court's and the CA Department of Justice did their jobs correctly, the FBI should be showing that your expunged convictions were dismissed.
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Steamer
16th October 2014 11:00pm
What happens to the DMV record after the Court expungement?
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MathewHigbee
17th October 2014 12:08am
The DMV record in unaffected by criminal record expungement. Fortunately, most employers do not check DMV records and DMV records not open to the public for inspection.
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Dolly
14th October 2014 8:50am
I had a petty theft misdemeanor case reduced to an infraction in California. Do I have to expunge it? I have heard some people say that it is like a traffic ticket and cannot or doesn't need to be expunged.
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MathewHigbee
8th December 2014 10:36pm
I am not sure what you mean by "have to" as nobody is legally required to expunge their record. However, it is often a wise decision as a criminal record of any kind, including an infraction, can lead to discrimination when it comes to housing or employment. Up until recently, infractions were not eligible to be expunged. However, the legislature recognized that even infractions on a persons record could cause problems, so they expanded the expungement law to include infractions.
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eric
13th October 2014 5:05pm
I had a misdemeanor case from more than 5 years ago for getting into a fight against my brother. I did jail time and completed my anger management classes, but now my employer is requesting a letter from me about why I had a misdemeanor on my record. They gave me 3 days off to wait to get an answer from human resources to see if I will still have my job as a porter. What should I do?
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Mathew Higbee
18th January 2015 1:31pm
Only having three days limits your options because expungement typically takes at least 21 days, at the minimum and much longer in some counties. Assuming that you did not disclose the conviction when you were hired, your employer probably has the right to fire you. However, if you had the conviction expunged, your employer would not be able to terminate you as a result of the case (assuming that the employer is in California).
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bto
24th September 2014 6:43pm
I had my felony expunged, but your team did not reduce it to a misdemeanor and it was a wobbler. Why didn't it get dropped? I went to jail for 6 months and not prison.
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MathewHigbee
24th September 2014 7:28pm
It is difficult for me to answer your question without knowing who you are. Please call or email us so that we can look at your case. We always attempt to reduce a felony to a misdemeanor. We don't even charge extra to do so. However, the felony conviction must be eligible for reduction. To be eligible, the offense must have been a wobbler at the time of sentencing and the person must not have received a suspended prison sentence. If we do apply for reduction, the judge has considerable discretion and may deny the request to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor.
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Mel
9th September 2014 8:25pm
I would like to have my misdemeanor from Stanislaus County expunged; however, I live in Orange County and am afraid I might not be able to attend expungement hearings in northern California - are these hearings something I would have to participate in if I were to use your services?
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MathewHigbee
10th September 2014 5:00pm
We will send one of our attorneys to attend the hearing, so judges very rarely require our clients to appear in court. It would be especially rare for a misdemeanor case. By rare, I mean less than 1% chance. So, your participation in the expungement would be minimal. We would need you to answer some questions, but that is about it.
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CB
2nd September 2014 8:21pm
My son has a DUI felony. He has two in CA and two in AZ. His last one was in 2005 and he served 4 months in a DUI facility in AZ. He has gone to Medical Assisting School and can't find work due to the felony. Can this be expunged and do you think it would it be caused by the felony in AZ?
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MathewHigbee
10th September 2014 5:02pm
A felony can be a huge barrier to employment in any field. The good news is that the criminal court record (which is different than the DMV record) can be expunged for most felony cases. California law even allows most felony DUI cases to be reduced to a misdemeanor.
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Alex
29th August 2014 3:19pm
Can I get my case 06HF0513 (H&S 11359 and 11360), which was expunged pursuant to 1203.4, resentenced to a lower charge? This would alleviate immigration consequences.
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MathewHigbee
29th August 2014 4:22pm
California Penal Code section 17(b) does not give a judge discretion to reduce those offenses from a felony to a misdemeanor. There was a law introduced in the California State Assembly and Senate that would have expanded a judge's authority to reduce those offenses, but the bill did not get out of committee. I would speak with your immigration attorney about any constitutional issues that could be raised in effort to reduce the offenses or have them overturned.

UPDATE:  California voters approved Propositon 47.  This bill expanded the number of felony cases that can be reduced.  Ream more at http://www.recordgone.com/news/2014/california-proposition-47-info/
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isaiah olivares
16th July 2014 7:01pm
I served prison time and now have a felony. Can I have the felony dropped down to a misdemeanor?
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MathewHigbee
16th July 2014 8:28pm
Yes, that is correct. California Penal Code 17(b) does not allow a person to have their felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor if they receive a prison sentence. This even includes a suspended prison sentence.

UPDATED.  California voters approved Proposition 47 in November of 2014.  This ballot initiatve became law and alllows people who were convicted of specified non-violent felonies to have their conviction reduced to a misdemeanor even if the sentence involved a suspended prison sentence.   It is important to note that reductions under this new law do not restore the right to possess a firearm.  More information about Proposition 47 can be obtained at http://www.recordgone.com/news/2014/california-proposition-47-info/
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Dexter
10th July 2014 6:55pm
Ok, so let's get to the nitty gritty...what are ALL the costs involved?
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MathewHigbee
10th July 2014 7:31pm
I am assuming that by all of the costs, you mean the monetary costs. All of our expungement services are flat-fee, so you know exactly what you will pay. You can see the pricing at http://www.recordgone.com/cali... When you include the filing and processing fee of $150, infractions are currently $550, misdemeanors are $550 and felonies are $750 (this includes the cost of us asking for a reduction to a misdemeanor pursuant to Penal Code 17(b), when applicable). Check our web page for the service that you are interested in for the current pricing. If there was a violation of the terms of probation, there is an additional fee of $200. If you see a lower price, just let us know and we will be glad to match it. Please let me know if you have any other questions, we are here to help.
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Noe Ramirez
2nd July 2014 2:22am
How long will it take to dismiss a misdemeanor?
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Jenna Thorne
2nd July 2014 3:21pm
Most of our misdemeanor cases are taking approximately 2-3 months currently. The time frame varies depending on how busy the specific county is at the time of filing, but 2-3 months is the average time frame we are seeing currently.
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MathewHigbee
10th July 2014 4:33am
We will get it done as fast as possible. We start the same day that you hire us. Keep in mind that he have had more than 5,000 California cases expunged (dismissed), so you know that we know how to get them done right the first time. Our expungement experience is unequaled, especially in CA. The only part that we cannot control is how fast the court will act or if the DA will ask for a continuance, which delays the process. That being said, we have great relationships with the courts and DA's and we know what it takes to make it easiest for them to keep things moving.

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Please use this section to ask questions about the law, our law firm or our services. If you have questions about your particular situation or wish to hire us to perform a service, please take the online eligibility test, read our website's extensive frequently asked question section or call us at (877) 573-7273.

Questions about your right to possess a firearm in a state other than the state where the conviction occurred generally require research for which we charge $250.

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