California law allows a person who has been convicted of a misdemeanor to have that conviction expunged. A California misdemeanor expungement is a legal process that petitions the Court to review a misdemeanor conviction to determine if the petitioner is eligible to withdraw their plea or finding of guilt, enter a not guilty plea, and order the case dismissed. The decision to expunge a misdemeanor is sometimes at the discretion of the judge and the decision may be opposed by the the local District Attorney’s (DA) office for the relevant county. If the misdemeanor expungement is opposed, a court hearing is typically scheduled to hear the merits of the case. We attend this hearing, present your case to the court and address the opposing agency’s arguments.
Once granted, a misdemeanor 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.
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 employment background checks.
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.”
*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.
Practically speaking, what does a California Expungement actually do?
Once you have your California criminal record expunged, you can truthfully and lawfully tell most potential employers that you have NEVER been convicted of a crime. It’s that simple. Because of California disclosure laws, once expunged, it should no longer show up on criminal background checks.
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 certain 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 court has approved the order.
- Once the order granting your misdemeanor 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.
What are the main reasons a misdemeanor expugement gets denied?
If an expungement is denied, it is usually for one of several reasons: an inaccuracy in the court file, an inaccuracy in the application, the court does not believe it will be in the interest of society, violation of probation, or not paying fines. However, you greatly lower your chances of denial by hiring an attorney to prepare, review and submit your record clearing petition. Our office will verify all case information with the court prior to filing the petition, increasing the likelihood of success.
What if my case gets denied?
If your case is denied, our attorneys will evaluate the purpose for the denial and determine the best way to proceed. If our attorneys determine that refiling is the best course of action then we will do so at no extra cost to you. If not, then you will receive your money back through our money back guarantee.
What happens after my misdemeanor conviction 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 California Department of Justice and the FBI will then 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.
How do the background check agencies and companies know my expungement was granted?
The judge’s signed order will be sent to the Department of Justice so they may update their records. All background check companies and agencies get their criminal history information from the court or Department of Justice.
Will an expungement relieve me of the requirement to register as a sex offender?
An expungement is a necessary part of the process to end registration, but an expungement alone will not relieve you of the requirement to register. After getting your misdemeanor expunged, to obtain relief you will need to obtain a Certificate of Rehabilitation, which is a service our law firm offers. Please see our information page on Certificate of Rehabilitation or contact our office to speak with an attorney about obtaining a certification of rehabilitation.
How long does it take for the records to be updated?
The court will usually update their records within 48 hours and the Dept. of Justice will update its file within 30 days.
Will this help with my immigration application?
While you will still need to disclose the case on any immigration applications, immigration attorneys have informed us that petitioners will have a better chance for a favorable immigration result if you have a clean criminal background. If you have additional questions about immigration issues, it is recommended that you speak with an immigration attorney.
If I was convicted of a violent misdemeanor can I have my right to possess a firearm restored?
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 (provide links to both documents).
Will expungement remove a stroke 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.
San Bernardino County, Fontana Courthouse: Successful motion to end probation early after 20 months of 36 month probationary term. Client’s misdemeanor conviction for battery was expunged at the same hearing.
Metropolitan Court in Downtown Los Angeles – Successfully expunged two separate DUI cases from 2009 and a driving on a suspended license case. LA City Attorney strongly objected, but all three petitions were granted.
2007 trespassing misdemeanor expunged in less than three weeks at the North Justice Center in Orange County
2011 Orange County Harbor Justice Center DUI expunged three days after probation expired.
Los Angeles County – El Monte Court – Early Probation Termination of two separate cases of domestic violence over strong opposition by the District Attorney’s office. Both misdemeanors expunged.
Los Angeles County – Van Nuys – Expungement of PC 242 battery conviction
Los Angeles County – Bellflower Court – Misdemeanor Trespassing Charge Expunged
Orange County – Harbor Justice Center – Misdemeanor expungement of PC 243(d) conviction from 2009
Los Angeles County – Downey Courthouse – Misdemeanor expungement of Penal Code 273.5(a) domestic violence case from 1999
Kings County – Hanford Court – Misdemeanor domestic violence case from 2003 expunged
Sacramento County – Penal Code 148(a)(1) resisting arrest misdemeanor expunged
Contra Costa County – 2007 petty theft misdemeanor expungement
Ventura County – Ventura Court – Misdemeanor Violation of 2800.2(a) from 2007 expunged
San Mateo – South San Francisco – Petty Theft from 2012 Expunged
Multiple Petty Theft Charges from 2009 Expunged at Orange County – Harbor Justice Center
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.
Grand theft misdemeanor expunged at Wiley Manuel Oakland courthouse in Alameda County
Client was convicted of grand theft in 2000. He complied everything that was required of him by the court and was never found in violation of his probation. Our petition was filed in December, 2012 and the judge granted the expungement in January, 2013, just 30 days after we filed the petition.
Obtained an expungement of a DUI misdemeanor conviction in Orange County that had previously been denied when client had tried to do it themselves
Our client had previously tried to expunge his misdemeanor DUI conviction himself, but his petition had been objected to by the District Attorney’s office and denied by the judge. We took the case and in less than 3 weeks we were able to get the judge to reconsider his previous ruling and grant the petition.