Skip to main content

Erasing an arrest record after completing diversion or after getting an acquittal. Which choice is better in this situation?

Los Angeles, CA |

Hypothetical situation
Let's say I am a law-abiding citizen who was arrested due to entrapment by officers. I am booked for a court appearance within 3 days. I try to look for a private lawyer, and I find some great lawyers out there who after hearing my story told me that they can try to prevent my case from being filed at the court. At first I feel enthusiastic about hiring one of them, but later I discover two hard realities: Great lawyers are expensive, and I am still a poor law-abiding citizen.
I go to court and ask for a lawyer. A court employee screen my financial status and I am told I qualify for public representation. I plead not guilty and am schedule for a pre-trial. On my pre-trial my PD gives me two choices: 1. Take the diversion program. 2. Take the case to a jury trial.

+ Read More

Attorney answers 4


Q:What is better?
A: what does your PD say?

It is impossible for anyone who has not read the police reports or is familiar with the specific court and DA to answer this. Therefore, follow the advice of the attorney you currently have at your disposal.

Second opinions that will he of any value to you are not.going to be cheap.

Reliance on any information in this website is at the sole risk of the user and the user understands that he or she should consult with an attorney before taking a course of action based upon information contained in this website. The information on this website does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.


As to being represented by Public Defender; Bear in mind that they are great attorneys and your public defender exactly knows what you are facing and how to deal with it. His comment is correct. You are the one that makes the choice of taking the plea or going for trial. He only can advise you on that but you are the one that makes that decision.
As to erasing the arrest record; That is not one of the options as you cannot. He did not say that your arrest record would go away. Most likely is that after successful completion of program your charges will be dismissed! And Jury trial, there is no way anyone can say with %100 certainty that you would prevail!


Okay, first, if you get an acquittal it means you were found not guilty by the jury or court if a bench trial and you will not have a record of conviction., but will still have the arrest on your record.
Second, if you are found guilty and it's a misdemeanor you should be able to get it expunged which means the court dismisses the charges after you complete your probation and allowing you to answer that you have never been convicted of a crime. There are a few exceptions like state licenses, employment with a law enforcement agency that you still have to disclose it, but for most circumstances you do not have to disclose. However, it doesn't mean your record is erased. The arrest is still going to be on your police record, just not the conviction.
Third, diversion. Most diversion programs will automatically expunge if you complete the program successfully. But once again, your arrest will still be discoverable, but it will appear on your record as charges being dismissed.
Best to speak with your public defender to see which option they feel is best since they know all the details of your case.


What are your future career objectives? That can make a significant difference in comparing your options.

No legal advice here. READ THIS BEFORE you contact me! My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as if they were legal advice. I give legal advice ONLY in the course of a formal attorney-client relationship. Exchange of information through Avvo's Questions forum does not establish an attorney-client relationship with me. That relationship is established only by joint execution of a written agreement for legal services. My law firm does not provide free consultations. Please do not call or write to me with a “few questions” that require me to analyze the specific facts of your history and your license application and prescribe for you how to get a State license. Send me an email to schedule a paid Consultation for that kind of information, direction, and assistance. My law firm presently accepts cases involving State and federal licenses and permits; discipline against State and federal licenses; and disciplinary and academic challenges to universities, colleges, boarding schools, and private schools. We take cases of wrongful termination or employment discrimination only if the claims involve peace officers, universities or colleges.



Let's say I am a biochemistry student who is planning to work in a laboratory, and in order to do so I need to get the California Clinical Laboratory Scientist license. Later on I plan to be a science professor at a community college or at a Cal State.

Christine C McCall

Christine C McCall


If your career plans require a California State professional or occupational license, the potential of conviction has to loom very large in your evaluation of your options here. By statute, State licensing agencies can deny a license for any conviction of any crime (Bus & Prof Code §480, 490) and many will automatically deny a license to persons with convictions, forcing the applicant into expensive and lengthy appeals procedures. But the alternatives to trial are not the full shield from risk that might be expected because State licensing agencies are always focused on the facts and circumstances underlying any arrest or criminal case, and not just the outcome. No one here can/should give specific legal advice, and no one here has the necessary knowledge of the facts and circumstances of your case. But these are the main considerations that must inform your choices from a perspective that protects your current professional objectives.

Criminal defense topics

Recommended articles about Criminal defense

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer