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What is an expungement?

An expungement is a dismissal of your criminal conviction under California Penal Code Section 1203.4. This means that your "guilty" plea or verdict or your "nolo contendere" plea will be changed to "dismissed."

An expungement is not a complete destruction/eradication of your criminal record. Even following an expungement, the records are publicly available in courthouses. However, commercial background check companies generally cannot disclose the information and employers cannot find out and/or use the expunged information against you.

Why expungement?

Generally, if your conviction is not expunged, an employer may deny you employment, promotion, or other employment-related benefits. This is true even if your conviction is older than 7 years.

If your conviction is not expunged, you will have to answer "yes" to the dreaded question of whether you have been convicted of a crime. This is true even if your conviction is older than 7 years.

What an expungement can do for you:

  • Employers are prohibited from asking you about expunged convictions
  • Employers are prohibited from refusing you employment/promotion/ and other benefits due to an expunged conviction
  • Private commercial (non-finger print/Live-Scan) background check companies are prohibited from disclosing your expunged record
    • California Department of Justice reports ("DOJ Rap Sheet" or "Live-Scan") may disclose the conviction as "dismissed"
  • It may increase your chances of obtaining an occupational license
  • It may increase your chances of obtaining housing, insurance, and credit because expunged convictions are generally not reported

What an expungement cannot do for you:

  • It does not seal your record - your dismissed conviction will remain publicly available in courthouses free for any non-employers to view and consider
  • It does not affect deportation proceedings or other immigration purposes - except for the purpose of showing rehabilitation
  • It does not restore gun rights to individuals convicted of felonies - you must petition for a reduction from felony to misdemeanor to qualify
  • Expunging a vehicle related conviction does not automatically restore your driving privileges - needs to separately petition the DMV
  • Expunged convictions must be disclosed in an application for a professional license
  • If you have an existing professional license, your license can be suspended or revoked even after your conviction has been expunged
  • Does not affect certain jobs working with children, the elderly, or other vulnerable segment of the population.
    • These jobs require a California Department of Justice Finger Print Background Check or "Live-Scan" which will disclose the conviction as "dismissed."
  • An expunged conviction still counts as a "strike" for purposes of three strike laws

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Once the conviction has been expunged is it. is it treated as though it never occurred?

A. No. An expunged conviction is a dismissal of a charge. The major benefit is that commercial background check companies cannot report the expunged conviction. It is also illegal for employers to find out or use the expunged conviction against you in any way.

Q. Am I eligible for expungement if it is a felony?

A. Yes. Expungement laws draw no distinction between felonies and misdemeanors. They are both expungeable provided that you did not serve any prison time for the crime you are seeking to expunge.

Q. Am I eligible for expungement if I am currently on probation?

A. Yes, provided that you can successfully petition for early termination of probation. Usually you can petition for early termination as well as expungement at the same time. Successful early termination petitions require compliance with all terms and conditions of probation.

Q. Does it make a difference if my probation is informal (unsupervised)?

A. No. The law treats formal and informal probation the same for purposes of expungement.

Q. If I served a prison term and a county jail term through AB109 (realignment), am I eligible for expungement?

A. Yes. Recent amendments to California law allows people subject to AB109 to expunge their convictions.

Q. If I successfully completed diversion and deferred entry of judgment ("DEJ"), do I need to expunge my record?

A. No. They are better than expungement. Successful completion of diversion and/or DEJ treats as though you have never been arrested for the crime. In addition, you may request to seal your record after two years. Similar to expungement, no employer may ask about and/or use the crime against you following successful completion of the program.

Q. If I successfully completed Prop. 36, do I need an expungement?

A. No. See diversion and DEJ above.

 

Pricing:

Misdemeanor Expungement (No Probation Violation)

$600 Plus Filing Fees If Required By Court

Subject to 100% refund if unsuccessful. (Court Fees Not Refundable).

Misdemeanor Expungement (Probation Violation)

$700 Plus Filing Fees If Required By Court

Subject to 100% refund if unsuccessful. (Court Fees Not Refundable).

Felony Expungement (No Probation Violation)

$800 Plus Filing Fees If Required By Court

Subject to 100% refund if unsuccessful. (Court Fees Not Refundable).

Felony Expungement (Probation Violation)

$900 Plus Filing Fees If Required By Court

Subject to 100% refund if unsuccessful. (Court Fees Not Refundable).

DUI Expungements (All)

$900

Subject to 100% refund if unsuccessful. (Court Fees Not Refundable).

Early Probation Termination (1/2 of Probation Term Must Have Been Served)

$800 Plus Filing Fees If Required By Court