Can You Expunge a Criminal Record in California?

Criminal charges can have negative effects on a person’s professional and personal life. However, some California crimes can be expunged from a criminal record, but only under certain circumstances.

Qualifications for Expungement

In California, expunging (or clearing) a criminal record is often called a dismissal. This is because, in an expungement, the case is reopened and dismissed by a judge. Upon the dismissal of a conviction, the record is erased and the person whose record has been expunged is no longer required to disclose the conviction to the public.

A person can only apply for record expungement if they:

  •  are not currently on probation;
  •  have not been charged with another crime;
  •  committed a misdemeanor; and/or
  •  committed a felony that could have been a misdemeanor.

If a person has been convicted of a felony and served time in prison, they will not qualify for dismissal.

How to File a Petition for Expungement

The first step to expunge a record is to contact the superior court in the county where the party was convicted. To obtain a conviction, you must ask the court for the following:

  1.  Request a petition form for every conviction the individual has in that county.
  2.  Ensure there are no additional photocopies of the petition needed. If other copies are required, the individual should find out how many.
  3. Include supportive materials, such as support letters, education diplomas, school transcripts, or a letter from a judge.
  4. Find out if there are any local court rules mandating the party to serve additional petitions to the district attorney or probation department.
  5. Ensure the petition is mailed to the correct address.

A party can only expunge one conviction at a time. This means the party must complete a petition for each conviction and file them independently from one another. If the party is currently on probation, they must file a dismissal for that conviction before filing any others.

The court may or may not require the requesting party to appear for their hearing. If the court does request the party’s presence, they must show up for the approval of the dismissal.

Effective Criminal Defense Lawyers

You can depend on our attorneys to provide you with strong legal counsel. We can help you through the record expungement process and represent your best interests before a court.

For your case evaluation, call our firm at (916) 571-1550 or contact us online today.