Expungement / Dismissal of Conviction

*Note that in California, a process to withdraw a conviction pursuant to PC 1203.4 is not technically an “expungement.”  The term expungement is still used regularly in California when referring to a PC 1203.4 or PC 1203.4a dismissal and there are similarities between the two.  See below for clarification.

What is an Expungement, and what are the court fees?
An expungement is a Legal term, basically meaning “dismissal,” although it is not really basic and there is a lot more to fully understanding it than a one word description.  In California, the Penal Code section that controls dismissal of convictions (which are often termed as expungements ) is Section 1203.4 or 1203.4a depending on the situation. Note that technically there is no “expungement” in California, but rather a “dismissal of conviction”.  The Court fee may vary from county to county. At the time of this article, the Court fee in Los Angeles County is up to $120.

Are you eligible for Dismissal of Conviction?

Not all misdemeanor and felony convictions are eligible for dismissal pursuant to PC 1203.4 or PC 1203.4a, this includes any misdemeanor within 42002.1 of the Vehicle Code, any violation of Penal Code 286(c), 288, 288a(c), 288.5, or 289(j),  311.1, 311.2, 311.3, or 311.11, or  a felony under Penal Code section 261.5(d). Additionally, if you were convicted of a felony and were sentenced to state prison or under the authority of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, you can not get your conviction dismissed pursuant to PC 1203.4 or PC 1203.4a, there is potential relief for this under a certificate of rehabilitation and pardon.

1. What if my conviction does make me eligible for dismissal, when should I move forward with the process?
If your conviction is one that can be dismissed, generally, you need to have the following completed:   
A.  You successfully completed probation (note that early release from probation is possible). If no probation was given and you were convicted of a misdemeanor, it has   been at least one year since the date of the conviction.

B.  You paid all fines, restitution, and other court ordered fees as part of your sentence, 

C. You are not currently serving another sentence or on probation for another offense, AND, 

D. You are not currently charged with another offense.

2. Applying for a job in the private sector
If your conviction is dismissed, there are benefits. When applying for private employment,
under most circumstances, private employers can not ask you about convictions dismissed
under PC 1203.4. So when applying for a job in the private sector, generally, you don’t
have to disclose a misdemeanor conviction that was dismissed.

3. Applying for government employment or a government license
If applying for Government employment or a Government license application after having your conviction dismissed pursuant to PC 1203.4, and asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime, you have to respond with a “Yes – Conviction Dismissed.” With a few exceptions such as police agencies and concessionaire licensing boards, your application should be treated the same as if you had never been convicted of any crime.

4. Immigration Purposes
Often I am contacted by people who call me at the direction of their immigration attorney who advise them to get their conviction(s) dismissed for immigration purposes.  For more information of how a PC 1203.4 dismissal can be helpful with your immigration needs, I recommend consulting with your Immigration Attorney.

5. What a dismissal of conviction pursuant to PC 1203.4 or PC 1203.4a will not do includes…
You will not be allowed to own or possess a firearm until you would otherwise be able to 2. Your dismissed conviction(s) can still affect your driving privilege (ie. if your license is still suspended from the conviction) 3. Your dismissed conviction(s) can still be used to increase your punishment in future criminal cases. For example if you have your DUI dismissed pursuant to PC 1203.4 or PC 1203.4a, but then get convicted of a second DUI within 10 years from the first arrest, it will be treated as a 2nd offense DUI, even though your first offense was technically dismissed. 4. A PC 1203.4 dismissal does not relieve you of registering as a sex offender if that was part of the conviction consequences. 5. If your conviction prohibited you from holding public office, you still can not hold public office, even after the conviction is dismissed pursuant to PC1203.4.

6. Is it possible to have an infraction dismissed even if I the court ruled against me? 
Yes, per PC 1203.4a, it is possible to get an infraction dismissed, with the exception of any infraction within the provisions of Vehicle Code section 42001.

For more information, please call me at (818) 336-1384 for a free case evaluation.