What You Need To Know About Expungements In California

California Expungements

For some California crimes, you may be able to obtain an expungement for your case. This can help if you’re trying to obtain a job, proceed with an immigration case, or get on with your life.

Under California Penal Code Section 1203.4, the law states:

(a) (1) In any case in which a defendant has fulfilled the conditions of probation for the entire period of probation, or has been discharged prior to the termination of the period of probation, or in any other case in which a court, in its discretion and the interests of justice, determines that a defendant should be granted the relief available under this section, the defendant shall, at any time after the termination of the period of probation, if he or she is not then serving a sentence for any offense, on probation for any offense, or charged with the commission of any offense, 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, except as provided in Section 13555 of the Vehicle Code. The probationer shall be informed, in his or her probation papers, of this right and privilege and his or her right, if any, to petition for a certificate of rehabilitation and pardon. The probationer may make the application and change of plea in person or by attorney, or by the probation officer authorized in writing. However, in any subsequent prosecution of the defendant for any other offense, the prior conviction may be pleaded and proved and shall have the same effect as if probation had not been granted or the accusation or information dismissed. The order shall state, and the probationer shall be informed, that the order does not relieve him or her of the obligation to disclose the conviction in response to any direct question contained in any questionnaire or application for public office, for licensure by any state or local agency, or for contracting with the California State Lottery Commission.

What is an Expungement?

The expungement process is a procedure that allows you to delete information from a criminal record. It can help you remove past events and let people view you in a better light. It can also give you the opportunity to expunge certain information for specific reasons. What can I expect from an expungement? An expungement allows you to make your past and who you are today known by a new name. It can make it easier for you to overcome obstacles such as low employment opportunities, especially if you were not convicted of a crime that affected your eligibility for a job.

Acquiring an Expungement

Getting an expungement will differ from state to state. In order to apply for a California expungement, you’ll need to present your case to the court. Your lawyer will be in charge of completing this process. Your lawyer will need to put together various documents describing your criminal history. It might also be helpful to show proof of income, tax return information, a mental health evaluation, and proof of financial stability. Most courts will allow you to present multiple documents. Examples of the types of documents you may need to present are: tax returns, pay stubs, college transcripts, letters of reference from friends or family. Keep in mind, every case is different and this is why it is helpful to speak with an attorney about your case.

What are the Benefits of an Expungement?

If you have a criminal record in California, you may be able to request a copy of your case file. You can request a California live scan, but might also need to request the entire case file. This gives you the chance to track down details of your offense, so your lawyer can try to resolve the case. To apply for an expungement, you would need to obtain your case file. The expungement process will usually take 4-6 months. Depending upon your county, you might be be required to pay a filing fee and the costs associated with administering the expungement.

Additionally, for some immigration cases, an expungement might be all you need to proceed forward. For example, if someone expunges their DUI, this might help them in their pursuit of DACA.

What are the Drawbacks of an Expungement?

Some crimes will not be excused. If the crime is one that is serious enough, the conviction will likely still show up on background checks, criminal databases, and in some court systems. Moreover, the expungement takes time. This may involve several steps. The first is to decide if you want to expunge the conviction. If so, you’ll need to take a form to the local court to get your file opened up for your case. The next step is to file the paperwork with the court. If you didn’t serve any jail time, this could speed up the process for your attorney. If you served jail time, you should speak with an attorney to verify whether you are eligible for expungement. You might need to make an in-person visit to the court. You’ll also need to pay a fee that varies by California counties.

In addition, for some crimes, an expungement might not remove a criminal conviction for immigration purposes. Some crimes might need to be fought with a different legal tool. Expungements can help with DUI convictions, and other misdemeanors. However, for some convictions an expungement might not change the immigration consequences.


Expungement can help you with many of your important legal troubles. However, if you are an immigrant, you might need to read this in depth and speak to an experienced attorney before you rush to expunge your case.

  1. California Law
  2. ILRC Information
  3. California Forms
  4. California Livescan