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.
Simply click on a question to see its answer:
We can help you get a copy of your record and review your entire record to determine what your options are. We charge a researching fee and we apply that to the cost of any service that you hire us to perform.
If you are not eligible to expunge or clear your record through the court, we can still help you. Our Background Check Removal service will remove your personal, private information, including your criminal history, from over 30 popular people search websites. Please click the link above to sign up today or to read more information on how this valuable service can help you.
The eligibility of each case must be determined on a case by case basis. Additionally, expungement petitions in California have to be filed individually for each case number. Because of that, we charge per case (but regardless of the number of counts in each case); however, we do offer a discount for signing up for more than one case with us.
Cases can be denied for a variety of reasons in California. These reasons include: (1) an inaccuracy in the court file or on the petition, (2) for discretionary cases, the court did not believe the expungement is in the interest of society, (3) terms of probation were violated, or (4) fines have not been fully paid.
In order to have a case sealed, you cannot be convicted of the charge and you must prove you were factually innocent. You can read more about that service on the California record sealing section of our website.
We do not handle federal cases. Only certain federal criminal cases are eligible to be expunged. Typically, you have to show that the conviction was wrongful or unconstitutional. Additionally, a person can apply for a pardon through the President.
An outstanding restitution balance doesn't disqualify you from relief, but can significantly hurt your chances of success. We highly recommend you satisfy your restitution obligation if possible. (People v. Covington, 82 Cal. App. 4th 1263 (2000))
The language of Penal Code section 1203.4a provides that, “every defendant convicted of a misdemeanor and not granted probation, and every defendant convicted of an infraction, shall, at any time after the lapse of one year from the date of pronouncement of judgment, if he or she has fully complied with and performed the sentence of the court, is not under charge of commission of any crime…” However, Penal Code section 1203.4a does not apply to any infraction falling within the provisions of 42001 of the Vehicle Code. Section 42001 specifies the punishment of all infractions and any infraction that is punishable by a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars ($100) cannot be expunged. Any infraction where the punishment exceeds $100 for the first offense can be expunged.
In order to determine if an infraction may be expunged we must look to the punishment of the infraction. For instance, California Vehicle Code § 21453 is a red light violation and there is no punishment specified under section 21453; thus, the punishment under § 42001 is $100 and this offense cannot be expunged. Also, California Vehicle Code § 22348 is driving a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than 100 miles per hour and the punishment specified for the first conviction of a violation of this subdivision is by a fine not to exceed $500. Thus, this infraction may be expunged.
According to California Government Code section 1029, a person convicted of a felony is disqualified from being a police officer. (Cal. Gov. Code § 1029). This is true whether or not the felony conviction has been expunged. (Adams v. County of Sacramento, 235 Cal. App. 3d 872 (1991)). The disqualification may be removed only if the conviction occurred on or before January 1, 2004 and has been reduced to a misdemeanor under California Penal Code section 17(b). (Cal. Gov. Code § 1029(a)(3))
Yes. If you are eligible for the reduction, then we will file for the reduction along with the expungement at no extra charge.
A wobbler is an offense that is up to the discretion of the judge to sentence as either a felony or misdemeanor. In order to tell you if your felony charge is a wobbler, we will need to know the exact section of the penal code that you were convicted of and the year that you were convicted. If you sign up for felony expungement and during the course of the case research we learn that your offense is a wobbler, then we will file for the reduction at no extra charge. (PC 17 and People v. Municipal Court (Kong, 122 Cal.App.3d 176, 179 n.3, 175 Cal.Rptr. 861 (1981))
Each of the felony charges must be eligible to be reduced in order to have the felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor.
If you were convicted of a “wobbler” and you were not sentenced to state prison, then we can file with the court for a reduction even after the case was already expunged.
You are eligible for reduction so long as you didn't actually service time in prison and received a probation sentence for a "wobbler" felony. (PC 17)
If you were sentenced to county jail then you are eligible to file for a reduction if the charge is a wobbler. It is being sentenced to state prison, not county jail, that makes you ineligible. (PC 17)
Reducing the felony to a misdemeanor does not affect registration. (PC 290.007)
No, we have a licensed attorney appear in court on your behalf. If the court does request your presence at the hearing and you cannot attend, then we will seek to have the court excuse your appearance.
Typically, most California expungement cases take about two to four months depending on the specific court. However, felony cases in which we seek to reduce the case to a misdemeanor, cases in which there is a violation of probation, or cases in which the District Attorney's Office objects can all lengthen the timeframe. Each court, client, case, and circumstance are different and present it's own unique challenges. All timeframes provided are estimates.
The length of each case can vary depending on: the circumstances surrounding the case, whether the District Attorney objects, and how long ago your case was. Cases with probation violations, reductions, or are pre-1990 typically take longer.
If you want your record removed immediately from some of the background check companies, our Background Check Removal service can remove it from 30 companies in about 30 days, and it does not require that your record be expunged, so we can start today. You can read more about it here.
The courts handle cases in the order they are received. The sooner you sign up, the sooner your petition can be filed and the expungement granted. As your case is processed, we can write a letter for you to give to your employer or potential employer letting them know we are in the process of having your CA case dismissed.
If your conviction is in Orange County, Santa Clara County, or Fresno County, there is a faster process that we can complete through the court to file the petition. We charge an expediting fee for that service, which will shorten the process by a few months. If your case is not in any of the counties listed above and you would like to have your service completed sooner, then we can assign more staff to your case to get it completed a few weeks faster for an additional fee.
There are two additional things we can do to expedite the process of clearing your record.
First, we can start right now on removing your record from 30 popular background check companies, including BeenVerified.com. We can clear these databases, even without an expungement, in about 45 days. You can read more about it here.
Also, we can expedite the updating of commercial background check companies (the kinds used by most non-government employers). Our Expedited Criminal Record Update is an essential step that gets your expunged or sealed record cleared from 600 background check companies within 14 days, instead of the several months or years it can take for them to update their records on their own. This service begins after the judge has granted your expungement.
If the court denies your expungement petition, we determine the reason it was denied and review what your best options are moving forward. One of these options may include refiling the petition with more evidence. If this is the best option in your particular case, we will let you know which specific evidence will best help your chances.
The judge will sign a court order stating that your conviction is expunged. The court clerk then mails that order to our law firm, and we will email or mail the order to you. Additionally, the criminal databases (for instance, the CA Department of Justice) will update your criminal history to reflect the expungement.
Once your expungement is granted, you will want to consider two additional services that we offer.
Expedited Record Clearance Update is an essential step to take after your record is expunged if you are concerned about what appears on commercial background checks (the kind used by most non-government employers). Courts do not notify background check companies that an expungement has been granted. We will take the steps necessary to have your expunged record removed from more than 600 background check providers within 14 days. You can read more about this service by clicking here.
Additionally, our Background Check Removal service will remove your information from 30 background check companies, including some the most well known companies, such as BeenVerfied.com. This service takes approximately 45 days. While we can remove your information even without an expungement, once your case is granted, this service will still be beneficial. You can read more about this service by clicking here.
If we unfortunately are unsuccessful on your case, we give you your money back, except for the flat Filing and Processing Fee.
There is a partial refund if: you do anything to become ineligible after beginning the process, your case was an alcohol related driving conviction, or there is a probation violation.
The only time you have to disclose the California expungement is in three narrow circumstances: (1) when contracting with the California State Lottery Commission, (2) when applying for public office (mayor, congressman, etc.), and (3) when applying for a state license. (PC 1203.4(a))
No. A California expungement takes the conviction off your record and replaces the conviction with a dismissed court case. An expungement also removes the finding of guilt. If asked, you cannot deny the existence of the arrest or court case, but you can deny the conviction.
Expungement will not relieve you of the requirement to register as a sex offender. You will have to obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation to be relieved of the registration requirement. You can read about that service on the Certificate of Rehabilitation section of our website. (PC 290.007)
The Canadian government has entered into an information sharing agreement with the United States, so the Canadian government has access to whatever information the United States has on file.The benefit of expungement is that it will show the Canadian government that the matter was resolved and is no longer considered a conviction. This will improve the odds of being granted entry into Canada.
The Border Patrol has discretion to grant or deny a Sentri pass application; therefore the best thing to do is to clear your record as much as possible before applying for a pass, as it could be the difference between having your request accepted or denied.
In California, you do not lose your right to vote unless you are currently in prison or currently on parole for a felony offense. You can view information about voting rights at http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/elections_vr.htm
Since each case is unique, it is important to get a case-by-case analysis tailored to your specific facts. This will allow you to know if your criminal case is affecting your immigration case and/or if an expungement or reduction could help. To discuss your case with our in-house immigration attorney, please call 714-617-8395.
No. The three most common reasons for a person to lose their right to own or possess a firearm in CA are (1) being convicted of a felony, (2) being convicted of a violent misdemeanor, or (3) being convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence.
(1) If you were convicted of a felony, expungement will not restore your firearm rights. However, if you are eligible to reduce your felony to a misdemeanor, a reduction will restore your right to own a firearm. (PC 17(b))
(2) If you were convicted of certain violent misdemeanors, the State of California takes away your right to possess a firearm for ten years. The 10 years begin on the date of conviction. Expungement does not restore this right. (PC 12021(c))
(3) If you were convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence, the State of California takes away your right to possess a firearm for ten years. Expungement does not restore this right. (PC 1203.4 and 12021(c)) Also under the federal law (Lautenberg Amendment to the Violence Against Women Act), there is a lifetime ban on firearm ownership for those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence. A California expungement will not lift the federal ban.
No. A felony conviction that qualifies as a strike under the Three Strikes Law is still considered a strike after expungement. (People v. Diaz, 41 Cal. App. 4th 1424 (1996)). However, having a felony reduced to a misdemeanor will remove the strike for future sentencing purposes if you are convicted again. (People v. Park, 56 Cal. 4th 782 (2013))
Under California expungement law, you may serve on a jury if you: (1) are a United States citizen, (2) are at least eighteen years of age, (3) can understand English enough to understand and discuss the case at hand, (4) are a resident of the county for which you received the jury summons, (5) have not served on a jury in the last twelve months, (6) are not on a grand jury or on another trial jury currently, (7) are not under a conservatorship, and (8) have had your civil rights restored if you have been convicted of a felony or a malfeasance while holding public office.
What appears on a background check depends on the type of background check that is performed. If the employer does a standard commercial background check, the chances are the conviction and the case will not appear on the background check. If the employer requires you to submit fingerprints and provide a copy of your CA Department of Justice report, your report will show that there was a case, but that your case was dismissed and there is no conviction or finding of guilt.
If what shows up on your background check is important to you, you will want to consider two additional services that we offer.
Our Background Check Removal service will remove your information from 30 background check companies, including some the most well known companies, like BeenVerfied.com. This service takes about 30 days, and we can remove your information even if your record has not been expunged or cleared by the court. You can read more about this service by clicking here.
Expedited Record Clearance Update is an essential step to take after your record is expunged if you are concerned about what appears on commercial background checks (the kind used by most non-government employers). Courts do not notify background check companies that a record has been expunged or sealed. We will take the steps necessary to have your expunged record removed from more than 600 background check providers within 14 days. You can read more about this service by clicking here.
An expunged case can be used in the sentencing for a subsequent conviction. (PC 1203.4(A)(1))
You can legally say you were not convicted to any question that is asked for employment purposes.
California Labor Code section 432.7 prohibits an employer from asking an applicant for employment to disclose information concerning an arrest that did not result in a conviction. The only time you have to disclose the conviction is in three narrow circumstances: (1) when contracting with the California State Lottery Commission, (2) when applying for public office (mayor, congressman, etc.), and (3) when applying for a state license. (PC 1203.4(a)). Learn more about becoming a teacher or joining the police force in California with a criminal record.
Possession of good moral character is one of the standards of being a police office. Cal. Govt. Code § 1031(d). A thorough background check will be conducted to determine if you meet the minimum standard. Any act from your past discovered during the background check that reflects poorly on your moral character, including a misdemeanor conviction, may be grounds for a determination that you lack good moral character and may result in denial of employment as a police officer. (CA POST Reg. § 1953, (a),(e)). Expungement of your misdemeanor conviction will help your chances of proving good moral character and getting hired because obtaining that relief shows that a court has found you to be rehabilitated.
However, according to California Government Code section 1029, a person convicted of a felony is disqualified from being a police officer. (Cal. Gov. Code § 1029). This is true whether or not the felony conviction has been expunged. (Adams v. County of Sacramento, 235 Cal. App. 3d 872 (1991)). The disqualification may be removed only if the conviction occurred on or before January 1, 2004 and it has been reduced to a misdemeanor under California Penal Code section 17(b). (Cal. Gov. Code § 1029(a)(3))
A misdemeanor conviction that causes a loss of your firearm rights may be an automatic disqualification from being a police officer during the time the firearm ban is in effect. (Cal. Pen. Code §§ 29805, 29855; U.S. Code Title 18 §922(d)(9)). Under these circumstances, expungement of the disqualifying conviction while the firearm ban is in effect will not allow you to regain your firearm rights or establish eligibility to become a police officer. (Cal. Pen. Code §§ 29805; 1203.4(a)(3); CA POST Reg. § 1953(e)(3)). However, a person employed as a police officer at the time of the conviction whose livelihood depends on the ability to carry a firearm may petition the court to remove the ban. (Cal. Pen. Code § 29855).
The Federal Deposit Insurance Act Section 19 allows banks to bar individuals that have had “Breach of Trust” or "Dishonesty" conviction from positions that they would otherwise be qualified for. This prohibition applied even if the conviction has been expunged.
Whether a crime involves dishonesty or breach of trust will be determined from the elements of the crime itself as defined in the statute. If you think you may have been were denied a position or were terminated from a bank because of one of a “breach of trust” or "dishonesty" conviction, then you may be able seek a waiver from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). It is important to speak with an attorney about your specific circumstances to see if you would qualify for such a waiver, which would allow you to hold a job with a bank or other financial institution.
After the expungement is granted, the court sends the order to the California Department of Justice (DOJ), who will update their records. Other agencies and background companies obtain their information from the court or the DOJ.
The court will update their own records within 48 hours of the case being granted, and the California Department of Justice (DOJ) has up to 30 days to update their records. However, the DOJ typically updates their records sooner than the expiration of the 30 days.
However, private background check providers are likely still reporting inaccurate information. To help solve this problem, RecordGone.com offers two additional services. Our Expedited Criminal Record Update service is an essential step that gets your expunged record cleared from over 600 background check companies within 14 days of receiving the granted order, instead of the several months or years it can take for these companies to update their records on their own. Also, we can remove your record from 30 popular people search websites, including BeenVerified.com. We can clear these databases, even without an expungement order, in about 45 days.
A California expungement does not clear your DMV record. After a certain number of years, however, the records automatically disappear from your DMV record. This is unlike your criminal history, which never disappears unless you actively petition to clear it.
If your case is expunged under PC 1210.1, the law allows you to state that you were not arrested or convicted for the offense. Whereas an expungement under section 1203.4 would not allow you to state you were not arrested.
Additionally, expungement under PC 1210.1 requires you to disclose the case on an application for employment as a police officer and section 1203.4 does not state that requirement. However, section 1210.1 does state that the original arrest or conviction cannot be used against a person in any way that could result in denial of employment, benefit, license, or certificate, except in limited circumstances, and 1203.4 does not state that.
Once the case is expunged, you can state you were not arrested or convicted for any offense, except in limited circumstances. Additionally, the law states the arrest or conviction may not be used in a way that results in the denial of employment, benefit, license, or certificate. (PC 1210.1)
You must disclose the arrest and conviction on an application for employment as a police officer, on any question on a questionnaire or application for public office, for licensure by any state or local agency, when contracting with the California State Lottery, or when serving on a jury. (PC 1210.1(e)(3))
Prior to 1997, the law allowed for expungement of Penal Code Sections: 286(c), 288, 288a(c), 288.5 or Section 289(j). If your case was a plea bargain made before 1997 and you made a bargain with the understanding that you could get the record expunged, the court can apply the law as it existed pre-1997 and allow you to expunge your record. (People v. Arata, 151 Cal.App.4th 778, 783, 60 Cal.Rptr.3d 160, 163 (Cal.App. 3 Dist., 2007)
Many attorneys are not aware of this case.
An expungement of one of these offenses will not relieve you of the requirement to register and expungement will not change any requirements that are imposed on you by Penal Code Section 290. (PC 290.007) Furthermore, expungement does not remove the requirement for publication on Megan's Law website. (Doe v. Brown (2009, 4th Dist) 177 Cal App 4th 408, 99 Cal Rptr 3d 209, 2009 Cal App LEXIS 1479)
In California, persons convicted of certain drug offenses are required to register with local law enforcement within 30 days following conviction, release from confinement or entry into the state, and within 10 days of a change in residence. (Cal. Health & Saf. Code §§ 11590, 11594). The offenses that require registration are Health and Safety code sections: 11350, 11351, 11351.5, 11352, 11353, 11353.5, 11353.7, 11354, 11355, 11357, 11358, 11359, 11360, 11361, 11363, 11366, 11366.5, 11366.6, 11368, 11370.1, 11378, 11378.5, 11379, 11379.5, 11379.6, 11380, 11380.5, 11383, or 11550, or subdivision (a) of Section 11377. (Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 11590(a)). Persons convicted of an attempt or conspiracy to commit any of these offenses are also required to register. (People v. Crowles, 20 Cal. App. 4th 114 (1993); People v. Villela, 25 Cal. App. 4th 54 (1994)). However, even if convicted of one or more of the offenses listed, a person does not have to register if any of the following circumstances apply: •If the conviction was for offense defined in Health and Safety code section 11377, 11378, 11379, or 11380, you are only required to register if the controlled substance involved was LSD, methamphetamine, or a substance substantially similar controlled substance. (Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 11590(a)). •If the conviction was for a violation of Health and Safety code section 11379 or 11379.5, you are not required to register if the conviction was for transporting, offering to transport, or attempting to transport a controlled substance. (Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 11590(a)). •You are not required to register if the conviction was for a misdemeanor under Health and Safety code sections 11357, 11360, or 11377. (Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 11590(c)). •If the conviction was for a violation of Health and Safety code section 11353.7, 11366.5, 11366.6, 11370.1, 11377, 11378, 11378.5, 11379, 11379.5, 11379.6, 11380, 11380.5, or 11383, you are only required to register if the offense was committed on or after January 1, 1990. (Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 11590(d)).
You are required to register for a violation of section 11377 (simple possession) only if your conviction was a felony and the controlled substance involved was LSD, methamphetamine, or a substantially similar controlled substance. (Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 11590(a)).
The registration requirement lasts for five years from the date of discharge from prison, release from jail or termination of probation or parole. (Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 11594).
Yes. The registration requirement applies to anyone who resides in California or who is living there temporarily for longer than 30 days. If you have a conviction from federal court or another state court that would have been punishable as one or more of the above-mentioned offenses if committed or attempted in California, then you must register with local law enforcement within 30 days of entering the state. (Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 11590(a)-(b)).
No. The statements, photographs and fingerprints submitted pursuant to the registration requirement are not open to inspection by the public or by any person other than a regularly employed peace or other law enforcement officer. (Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 11594).
Yes. The requirement to register as a drug offender is among the disabilities and penalties you will get relief from by having your conviction expunged. (Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 11594; see People v. Terrell, 69 Cal. App. 4th 1246 (1999)).
No. A juvenile adjudged a ward of the court has not been "convicted" of anything and so is not subject to the drug offender registration requirement. (In re Luisa Z. 78 Cal App 4th 978 (2000)).
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.
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.