Employment after conviction and expungement
Your conviction may prevent you from getting a teaching credential. You will have to report the conviction to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing when applying, even if you get a so-called "epungement."
In fact, if you failed to report it, that would probably hurt your chances even more than the conviction.
Under Penal Code §1203.4, a person who is granted probation can apply to have the case dismissed after probation is complete. This is sometimes called an expungement, but it doesn't really expunge anything or seal your record.
The conviction is still a part of the court's public records, which will also show the case was dismissed. You still must disclose the conviction when applying to be a police officer or for certain other jobs, or if asked on an application for a state license or to run for public office. That includes applications for teaching credentials. Your theft conviction could still be used as a "prior" to make any future petty theft a felony.
The credential commission can review the police reports of your arrest and other relevant information to decide whether they consider you morally fit to be a teacher. They will also consider how long ago you were convicted and what you've done in the meantime.
You should make an appointment with a counselor for the teaching credential program at the college you plan to attend. Be completely honest with the counselor, and ask if there is a realistic chance you will be granted a credential. If you have copies of the police reports, take those to the meeting.
Please understand that this is a general discussion of legal principles by a California lawyer and does not create an attorney/client relationship. It's impossible to give detailed, accurate advice based on a few sentences on a website (and you shouldn't provide too much specific information about your legal matter on a public forum like this site, anyway). You should always seek advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction who can give you an informed opinion after reviewing all of the relevant information.
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