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I'm looking to get my record expunged? I go to court on 10-18-12 for a petty theft crime of under $50 & dont want this on record

San Francisco, CA |

This will be my first offense ever on my record and I'm not sure how this all works? Do I have to wait a year to get it get my record expunged? How much does something like this cost? I received the ticket in San Mateo CA 94403, is expungement allowed in this county??

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Attorney answers 7


If you have a court date, then it sounds like you haven't been convicted of anything yet. "Expungement" does not come into play until after a conviction. At this point, the concentration should not be on expungement, but on either plea bargaining or going to trial. The best thing you can do is to hire an attorney to handle this for you. If you can't afford to hire one, go to your court date and ask for the public defender to be appointed.


There is no true expungement in California. Once convicted, the conviction will appear on your rap sheet for the rest of your life. What you need to do is hire an attorney to fight this case for you, so that you never get convicted of petty theft. There are a variety of ways that this could happen, but it will take an attorney to do it. Feel free to contact me about your case. Best of luck to you.


You can not expunge your record because you have not been convicted yet. I strongly recommend that you hire an attorney now; he/she might be able to resolve the case without you having to expunge your record in the future.

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It sounds like you might be charged with a PC 490.1, an infraction, for theft (shop lifting) under $50. You could also be charged with the misdemeanor PC 484(a) or PC 490.5. I assume that you have not yet been convicted of any crime in this action since you are going to court in October. (Is your case set for a pre-trial conference or trial?) In any event, if you are not a U.S. citizen, then there could be serious adverse immigration consequences, even for an infraction, for a conviction for such crime(s) involving moral turpitude. While an an expungement @ PC 1203.4 after conviction releases a person from "all penalties and disabilities" under California law, it does not eliminate the potential adverse immigration consequences under immigration law. You should contact a competent immigration and criminal defense attorney in the San Francisco Bay Area to review your case before you go to court in October.


You need to meet with a criminal defense lawyer to discuss your options. It seems premature to look at an expungement when you have not been convicted of the crime. You still have several options that may resolve your case.

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I assume you have not yet been convicted. You need to hire an attorney to make sure that does not happen. A theft related offense on your record can have lasting adverse consequences.

If your case does not result in a conviction, you may be eligible to seal your record of arrest under PC 851.8.

If this case does result in a conviction, although the past cannot be completely erased, some relief from the disadvantages of a criminal conviction is available. Penal Code Section 1203.4 permits defendants, previously convicted of a crime, who have successfully completed probation or have been discharged early, to have their case dismissed.

Penal Code Section 1203.4a provides similar relief to persons convicted of an offense and not placed on probation.

If the petition is granted, the person must be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction. Perhaps the most significant benefit applies to future applications for employment in the private sector. By regulation, a private employer cannot ask a job applicant about any misdemeanor dismissed under Penal Code 1203.4. (Cal.Code Regs 7287.4(d).


The first thing is fighting your case to avoid a conviction so that “expungement” is not necessary. As to your specific inquiry of whether or not “expungement” is allowed in San Mateo County – what is commonly referred to as “expungement” is not a county-by-county procedure. It is a process used to obtain an after the fact dismissal of a prior conviction pursuant to sections 1203.4 and/or 1203.4a of the California Penal Code, which applies in all counties of the State. San Mateo County, unlike some other counties, does not have a formal diversion program designed to allow persons accused of petty theft for the first time to avoid a conviction. Thus, there is even more of a reason for someone in your position to retain counsel. Good luck to you.

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