(Note: Please visit this page for information about California Proposition 47 Felony Reduction Petitions)
California law allows a person who has been convicted of a crime to have that conviction expunged. A California expungement is a legal process that petitions the Court to review a conviction to determine if the petitioner is eligible to submit an application to withdraw their plea or finding of guilt, enter a not guilty plea, and order the case dismissed. The decision to grant or deny the petition is at the discretion of the judge and the decision may be opposed by the district attorney’s office for the relevant county. If the motion is opposed, the district attorney will have to file a formal written motion and a court hearing will be scheduled to hear the merits of the case. Should this occur, one of our attorneys would attend your hearing and argue on your behalf.
Once granted, an expungement changes and updates the disposition of the case to reflect a dismissal under Penal Code 1203.4. This means that the court file, the California Department of Justice, and the FBI update their files to reflect that a plea of not guilty has been entered and that the case has been ordered dismissed and set aside by the court.
California Penal Code Section 1203.4 provides in part:
“Petitioner shall be permitted by the court to withdraw his or her plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere and enter a plea of not guilty; or, if he or she has been convicted after a plea of not guilty, the court shall set aside the verdict of guilty; and, in either case, the court shall thereupon dismiss the accusations or information against the defendant and except as noted below, he or she shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she has been convicted.”
For more information on filing fees for this service, please visit our Filing Fees page.
*Prices do not include court filing fees. Fees vary from county to county and range from $0 – $150. For more information on filing fees for this service, please visit our Filing Fees page. Additionally, If you violated any of the terms of your probation there is an additional charge of $200.
There are a number of benefits to having your felony expunged. Most importantly, in an application for private employment you can truthfully answer that you have never been convicted of a crime (as long as all crimes that you have been convicted of have been expunged). Expunging your felony will increase the likelihood of obtaining state licenses and facilitate travel to Canada and other countries.
Also, in addition to being expunged, certain felonies can be reduced to a misdemeanor. These felonies are referred to as “wobblers” (i.e. they wobble between a felony or a misdemeanor). If your felony is a wobbler, reducing your felony to a misdemeanor can restore certain rights, including the right to own a firearm. If your felony is wobbler, our fee includes a motion to reduce to misdemeanor (at no additional charge).
Lastly, after your misdemeanor is expunged, you will be eligible for our Criminal Record Database Update service and we can update your criminal record with over 600 different private background check companies. This will greatly increase the likelihood of passing future private employment background checks.
- Attorney Scott Dicus will gather information about your case from a variety of sources.
- Mr. Dicus will review your case and determine the most effective and most expeditious course of action.
- In all DUI and wet reckless cases, a supporting declaration will be prepared for you to review and sign (this way it is not required that you go to court).
- Mr. Dicus will prepare the petition along with all supporting exhibits and attachments.
- A proposed order will be provided to the court.
- The complete petition is filed with the appropriate court, a hearing is scheduled, and the prosecuting agencies are notified.
- Mr. Dicus will follow up with the prosecuting agencies to determine if there is any opposition.
- Mr. Dicus will attend the hearing to argue on your behalf and counter any opposition provided by the prosecuting agency’s attorney.
- Our office will follow up with the court after the hearing to ensure that the clerk has processed the order and notified the Department of Justice.
- Once the order granting your expungement has been signed by the judge, Mr. Dicus will obtain a copy of the order and provide you with evidence of the expungement for you to keep with your records.
- Mr. Dicus will notify you of your eligiblity for our Criminal Record Database Update service, which we provide at a discounted rate for QikLaw clients.
- Once the expungement has been granted, you can begin telling most potential employers that you have never been convicted of a crime.
* Note that because each case is unique and there are some procedural differences for each county in California your case may not follow our process outline exactly.
How long does it take to expunge your record in California?
This depends on what county and court has jurisdiction over your case. In some counties, a case be expunged in 15-30 days. In other counties, the process can take up to three months. If you would like to know how long the process takes in the county of your conviction, do not hesitate to reach out to attorney Scott Dicus, as he is familiar with the nuances in every court in California.
Do you accept payments?
In most cases we do accept payments. However, all fees must be paid before the case is completed.
Why are court filing fees not included in your prices?
There are two reasons.
First, our firm does not include filing fees in our prices because many counties do not charge filing fees (other law firms don’t tell you this), and filing fees vary from county to county. It does not make sense to charge someone in Alameda or Riverside County (no filing fees) the same price as someone in Santa Clara County (filing fees are $150). Most of our competitors charge a flat rate, regardless of whether or not there are filing fees, and we do not believe this is fair to our clients.
Second, we do not include filing fees because many of our clients elect to file a request to have filing fees waived. If you are currently unemployed, or only working part-time, the court may determine that you do not need to pay any filing fees at all. This saves you money, and it is our goal to make the expungement process as painless and affordable as possible.
What happens after my California criminal record is expunged?
After the expungement is complete the court will change the disposition of the case to reflect a dismissal under 1203.4 of the Penal Code. The court clerk will then notify the California Department of Justice and the FBI and they will update their files to reflect a new plea of “not guilty” being entered and that the case has been ordered dismissed by the court. However, general commercial background searches, like most private employers conduct, will show no criminal record. At this point our office will send you a court order signed by a judge indicating that your record was expunged. We will also notify you of your eligiblity for our Criminal Record Database Update service, which we provide at a discounted rate for QikLaw clients.
What if my case gets denied?
Mr. Dicus personally reviews all cases and will only take a case if he believes that he will be able to obtain a favorable result. In the unlikely event that your case is denied, Mr. Dicus will evaluate the reason for the denial and determine the best way to proceed. If he determines that refiling is the best course of action then he will do so at no extra cost to you. If not, then you will receive your money back through our money back guarantee.
Will a felony expungement restore my right to own a firearm?
An expungement alone will NOT restore your right to own a firearm. However, if having a felony is the only reason you cannot possess a firearm, reducing that felony to a misdemeanor may restore your firearm rights. For example, if you have a felony possession (HS 11377a), and you reduce this felony to a misdemeanor, your firearm rights should be reinstated. However, there are other reasons your firearm rights will still be denied even after you reduce the felony to a misdemeanor. For example, in California there are certain violent misdemeanors that require the State of California to take away your right to possess a firearm for ten years. The ten-year ban begins on the date of your conviction and obtaining an expungement does not restore this right. You must wait until the 10-year ban is over to have your rights restored. Additionally, there is a lifetime prohibition on firearm ownership for those convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence as defined by federal law. See The Lautenberg Amendment to the Violence Against Women Act.
After your felony has been reduced to a misdemeanor, before purchasing or possessing a firearm, you will need to contact the Department of Justice in California or the FBI to verify that those rights have been fully restored and that you can legally possess a firearm.
Will a felony expungement remove a strike for purposes of California’s Three Strikes Law?
Having your record expunged will not remove a strike from your record, but having your conviction reduced to a misdemeanor prior to expungement may reduce the severity of a future sentence if you were to be convicted again.
2005 Santa Clara County embezzlement felony reduced to a misdemeanor over prosecuting attorney’s objection
Orange County residential burglary felony expunged
Assault with a deadly weapon felony reduced to a misdemeanor and expunged at Norwalk courthouse in Los Angeles County. Client had multiple probation violations.
Yolo County – Felony commercial burglary conviction reduced to misdemeanor and expunged
San Diego County – El Cajon – Expungement and felony reduction of a grand theft charge from 1985
Orange County – Central Justice Center – Reduced and expunged a felony violation of Penal Code 314.1, making client eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation
Orange County – Central Justice Center – Expunged & reduced felony conspiracy conviction
San Diego County – El Cajon Court – Expungement of felony possession case from 2006. Our office provided client’s employer with a copy of the court order and client was able to keep their job.
Los Angeles County – Clara Foltz Shortridge Court – Expungement of felony under Health and Safety Code 11352(a)
Sacramento County – Penal Code 459 commercial burglary reduced to a misdemeanor and expunged
Los Angeles County – LAX Court – 2010 Felony commercial burglary reduced to a misdemeanor and expunged
Merced County – 2005 Felony possession of controlled substance reduced to a misdemeanor and dismissed
San Diego County – Central Court – Felony conviction from 1987 reduced to a misdemeanor & expugned
Expungement of two felony possession convictions in Orange County
Reduced to a misdemeanor and expunged a felony possession conviction in Kern County
Our client was convicted of felony possession under section 11377(a) of the Health & Safety Code in 1997. Although no longer a resident of California, this conviction was preventing her from obtaining professional licenses in other states. We set the matter on calendar and in less than one month, we were able to have the conviction reduced to a misdemeanor and expunged.
Reduced two felony possession convictions to misdemeanors in Sacramento County, over the objection of probation
Our client has 3 drug related cases from the 1990’s, two of them with felony conviction, one with a misdemeanor conviction. The probation department recommended that the petitions be denied because there was no proof that fines and fees had ever been paid. Our firm submitted a response to the objection and succeeded in reducing all felonies to misdemeanors and expunging each of the open convictions.