While not in the southern California area, based on my conversations with providers relating to providers of theft classes, DAs and the Courts there have instituted diversion programs for first time offenders for minor misdemeanors including petty theft in the last few years. It is often called DEJ or Diversion. Typically, an individual enters a plea of "no contest" or "guilty" and if the individual agrees to tak a class, the judgement and sentence is put off for a period of time, and as long as there is proof that the class was completed and the individual did not re-offend during the time period, the case is dismissed without a conviction. If the individual is not a citizen of the US, there may still be immigration consequences due to the plea of "no contest" or "guilty." As for background checks, it may still show up as an arrest depending on the type of check. In California, there is no true "expungement" even upon a conviction unless an individual is factually innocent. Relief pursuant to Penal Code 1203.4 is not available unless there is a conviction and even then, it does not erase records of arrests or charges. If there are immigration issues or employment issues, consult an attorney who specializes in those areas for information. Congrats on the dismissal!
Recently many theft cases in the OC have been offered diversion. It is possible that this is what you are experiencing. If so, then there is nothing to have expunged. However, don't take my word. Speak to your attorney on this matter.
The response above is not intended as legal advice since it’s impracticable to provide thorough, accurate advice based upon the query without additional details. It is highly recommended that one should seek advice from a criminal defense attorney licensed in your jurisdiction by setting up a confidential meeting. Moreover, this response does not constitute the creation of an attorney-client relationship since this message is not a confidential communication because it was posted on a public website, thereby publicly disclosing the information, which is another reason to setup a confidential meeting with an attorney.
You don't need an expungement because you weren't convicted. It may not be on your record becuase you were probably only cited. To make sure, go to the DOJ website and request your rap sheet through the livescan process, then you will know what's in your record.
Contributions on AVVO.com in no way create an attorney-client relationship nor are they intended to be relied upon as a course of action without having first consulted directly with an attorney, where the specific facts and circumstances of your case can be fully discussed.