As a general rule, California law does entitle you to expunge your criminal records if you were convicted of a misdemeanor or felony offense, and you
- You received probation for that conviction and:
- You successfully completed probation or obtained early release;
- You also have paid all the fines, restitution, and reimbursements ordered by the court as part of your sentence;
- You are not currently serving another sentence or on probation for another offense; AND
- You are not currently charged with another offense.
- You never received probation and:
- Your conviction was a misdemeanor or an infraction;
- It has been at least 1 year since the date you were convicted;
- You have complied fully with the sentence of the court;
- You are not currently serving another sentence;
- You are not currently charged with another offense; AND
- You have obeyed the law and lived an honest and upright life since the time of your conviction
You are eligible for a dismissal and the court has the discretion (choice) to grant you that dismissal if:
- You received probation but you did not get an early release, did not fulfill all the conditions of probation, or were convicted of any offense listed in Vehicle Code section 12810(a) to (e)BUT:
- You have paid all the fines, restitution, and reimbursements ordered by the court as part of your sentence; AND
- You are not currently charged with, on probation for, or serving a sentence for any other offense.
It is up to the court to decide if your conviction should be dismissed, so make sure to give as much helpful information as possible to convince the court that granting you a dismissal is in the interests of justice.
Beyond the fact that individuals who served a prison sentence are ineligible for expungement, there are also certain criminal offenses in California that cannot be expunged. These include serious sex offenses committed against children, such as
- Penal Code 286(c) PC California's law against sodomy with a child,
- Penal Code 288 PC California's lewd acts with a child law, (for more information, read our article on California lewd conduct law versus Nevada's.)
- Penal Code 288a (c) PC California's law against oral copulation with a child, and
- Penal Code 261.5(d) PC California's statutory rape law which prohibits sexual intercourse between persons who are 21 years and older with persons younger than 16.6
If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact us to help you with your legal defense. (Also see our article, Will A Protest-Related Arrest Remain On My California Criminal Record Forever?)