- Misdemeanor Expungement
- Felony Expungement
- Infraction Expungement
- Early Termination of Probation & Expungement
- Modification of Probation or Sentencing
- Record Sealing
- Juvenile Record Sealing
- Certificate of Rehabilitation & Pardon
- Criminal Record Analysis – FREE
An expungement is a process by which a record of criminal conviction is set aside. Generally, the petitioner requests the court to withdraw his or her guilty plea pursuant to California Penal Code §1203.4. Thereafter, a request is made to the court to change your plea of guilty or nolo contendere to “not guilty” and have the conviction dismissed.
A misdemeanor expungement is the most common expungement people seek. In order to qualify for a misdemeanor expungement, you must have completed probation, paid all fines and restitution, and not currently be charged or on probation for another crime. However, if you have not completed probation, you may be eligible for Early Termination of Probation under Cal. PC 1203.3(a).
In most cases, a motion should be argued in court in order to prevent the rejection of the petition. Therefore, it is highly recommended to have an experienced expungement attorney represent you at your hearing. Generally, the entire process takes 4-6 weeks, but sometimes can be accomplished in as little as 3 weeks.*
If you have been convicted of a felony, Cal. PC §17 allows the court to use discretion to reduce that prior felony to a misdemeanor and then dismiss your case pursuant to Cal. PC §1203.4.
California Penal Code §17(b) gives the court the power to consider your prior felony a misdemeanor either at the time the court grants probation or on application from the defendant any time thereafter. In other words, the court may consider your felony to be a misdemeanor upon filing a petition requesting that it be reduced after you have completed probation or upon filing for Early Termination of Probation under Cal. PC §1203.3. **
As of January 1, 2011, certain non-traffic infractions are now eligible for dismissal under Cal PC §1203.4(a). Under this section the court has discretion to dismiss the infraction if (1) probation was not granted at the time of judgment, (2) more than one year has passed, (3) you have completed your sentence (paid fines, etc.), and (4) you have not been convicted of another crime or on probation for another crime.*
You may be eligible for an early termination of probation if you have paid all fines, obeyed all laws, and can show good cause for the early termination of probation. An early termination is allowed under Cal. PC §1203.3. Probation modifications are allowed under Cal. PC §1203.2(b). Before any sentence or term or condition is modified under this section, the court must conduct a hearing.
§1203.3 gives the court authority to terminate the period of probation, and discharge the person from probation in the interest of justice, and when the good conduct and reform of the person on probation shall warrant it. In making a determination, the court considers:
- Terms Fulfilled. We recommend that all fines and community service be fulfilled. However, sometimes the fines have become too burdensome or it is impossible to perform the rest of your community service. Therefore, under certain rare circumstances it is possible to get both fines and community service waived in the interest of justice.
- Length of Probation Completed. We recommend at least half the term has been served, however certain circumstances warrant an even earlier termination of probation. Generally, the earlier you are requesting the termination the more of another element you must show the court (i.e. good conduct and reform).
- Good Conduct and Reform. The court requires that you present good cause by showing that the termination would serve the interests of justice and your good conduct and reform warrant it. The court takes into consideration all kinds of evidence at these hearings, such as probation reports, letters from religious and community organizations, past or present employers, even prospective employers.
This is a fact intensive inquiry and may require an interview either by phone or in person. We offer free consultations to determine your eligibility. It is important that you do not file for an early termination of probation prematurely. If we believe you are not eligible we will tell you to wait until you have a better chance at termination.
Regardless of whether you have been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor in California, we can file for expungement of your record after successfully terminating your probation. We charge a relatively low price since most of the work required to file for expungement is already completed by terminating your probation. Don’t be fooled by other companies that require you to pay for a separate service. If you simply wish to have your probation terminated early, without filing for an expungement, we only charge $599.00.
Sometimes, our clients simply wish to have their probation modified in order to change or extend the time limits for completion. In some cases it is possible to have the fines reduced and community service or other terms terminated, even if the court will not grant an early termination of probation. Moreover, under §1202.4(f) the court is allowed to reduce the dollar amount of restitution order at any time during probation.
Under §1203.4(b)(4) the court may limit or terminate a domestic violence protective order with a showing of good cause. This is shown by a “material change in circumstances” since the crime for which the order was issued. Some issues the court will consider in determining good cause include whether you have taken responsibility for the behavior, whether you are currently participating in counseling sessions, whether you are cohabitating or intend to cohabitate with subject of the order, and whether you have performed well on probation thus far.
You may be eligible to have your arrest record sealed and destroyed under three circumstances. First, you may have your arrest record sealed and destroyed if you have been acquitted (found not guilty) of a charge. Second, you may seal and destroy your criminal arrest records if you were arrested, but no charges were filed against you. This happens when you are arrested and the District Attorney does not file charges for lack of sufficient evidence or some other reason. Third, you may be eligible to seal and destroy your record if your conviction is reversed on appeal for insufficiency of the evidence.
Cal. PC §851.8 PC provides that a person who has been arrested or detained on or after January 1, 1981, and is determined to be “factually innocent” may petition the law enforcement agency or the court having jurisdiction over the matter to provide for the sealing and destruction of the record of that arrest.
When you have been acquitted or had your conviction reversed for insufficiency of the evidence, the court will order your record sealed only if you can show you are factually innocent. Meaning, the court must find that there is no reasonable cause to believe that you committed the offense. This means a person is not considered factually innocent simply because their case was dismissed in the interest of justice or for lack of prosecution. Therefore, it is important to hire an experienced attorney familiar with California’s criminal record sealing process.
- Alcohol and Drug Diversion: If you have successfully completed a court ordered diversion program, such as drug or alcohol diversion, you may be eligible to have your record automatically sealed and destroyed. Once the program is completed, the criminal charges must be dismissed and the arrest on which the diversion was based must be deemed never to have occurred
- Minor Marijuana Offenses: If you have been arrested and convicted of a minor marijuana offense you may be eligible to have your record sealed and destroyed. Any person arrested or convicted of possessing, giving away, or transporting 28.5 grams or less of marijuana after January 1, 1976 must automatically have the record destroyed two years after the conviction is entered and probation is successfully completed. If arrested for marijuana offenses before January 1, 1976 you may petition the court to seal and destroy your arrest and or conviction record
Juvenile court records may be sealed five years after termination of the court’s jurisdiction or when you reach 18 years old, unless the crime is a serious offense as defined in California Welfare & Institutions Code §707(b). The sealing of a misdemeanor arrest and detention will be deemed not to have occurred, and you may state that you have never been arrested or detained for the arrest, detention, or criminal proceedings.
If you were confined in a Juvenile Detention or Youth Authority while under 18 years of age you may be eligible to seal and destroy your arrest and detention if you were honorably discharged by the Board of Parle Hearings and were not placed in state prison during juvenile commitment.
A certificate of rehabilitation is generally sought if you have spent time in state prison rather than county jail. Because the jurisdiction has changed, you will not be eligible for an expungement in such cases, but may pursue a certificate of rehabilitation from the Department of Justice.
This may be a lengthy process, taking anywhere from 7 to 10 weeks. We have extensive experience in this area of law and would recommend that you call for a free consultation.
It is not uncommon for people to forget or misplace their case information, especially if convicted years ago. However, it is important that we are aware of all prior convictions so that we may address them accordingly.
If you know the approximate date and city of your conviction, we can find your case for free. This is included in your expungement or record sealing service. Most, but not all, counties allow you to look up your case information for free. You may also call our office for assistance. We provide free case evaluations for the following counties:
- Riverside County
- San Bernardino County
- Orange County
- San Diego County
If you are not sure about when or where you were convicted or if your conviction is over 10 years old, you may need to obtain a “Live Scan.” A live scan agent will take your fingerprints and send them to the DOJ, who then verifies your criminal record and mails/emails you the results. You may als choose to have the DOJ contact us directly so we can start the process faster. We will set up a live scan appointment for you for free. There are many live scan locations. You may find locations, phone numbers, and costs here.
* California maintains separate registries for people who have been convicted of certain sex offenses and an expungement may not affect those registries. Also, jobs requiring government licensure will generally require an extensive background check that will most likely reveal a full criminal history, including any expungement. Ineligible violations are listed in Cal. PC §1203.4(b).
** Under most circumstances, a dismissal does not permit you to own, posses, or have in your custody or control any firearm capable of being concealed; Cal. PC §1210.1(a).