Expungement: How to Clean Your Criminal Record in California
File to Terminate Probation, or, Successfully Complete ProbationIf you are still on probation, you can file to have it terminated so that you can apply for expungement more quickly. If you have already completed probation and have stayed out of trouble, you're ready to file a petition for expungement under California Law.
Your options for expungement differ depending upon whether you were convicted of a felony or misdemeanor. A misdemeanor can often be removed from your record and a felony can be reduced to a misdemeanor.
File a 1203.4 Petition for ExpungementLike any legal action, you can do it on your own, but your chances of success increase when you hire someone well versed in the area of law you're trying to navigate.
Wait for the Response From the CourtCases are often expunged within 1-2 months. If your case is successfully expunged, congratulations--you're done! If not, proceed to Section 4.
Reapply, If NecessaryIf your petition is denied, pay attention to the reasons as you can apply for expungement again. It is possible that if you take a certain action or correct a problem with your petition, the court will grant the expungement.
Disclaimer About Expungement:An expungement does not mean that no one can ever see the conviction under any circumstances. If someone conducts a background check on you, they still may see that the conviction occurred--however it will also state that it was expunged. In addition, even if they discover an expunged conviction, most employers are required to treat it as if it does not exist. When asked by most employers, you are legally allowed to say that you have not been convicted of an expunged conviction.
An expungement does not change your status as a registered sex offender or make you eligible to own a firearm under California Penal Code 12021, which prohibits gun possession after a felony conviction and some misdemeanor convictions.
If you apply for a state license, or other particular government positions, if you are asked whether you've been convicted of a crime, you must disclose any expunged convictions. However, a conviction that was expunged is less likely to be held against you.