Expungement (Penal Code 1203.4)

A successful Expungement will withdraw a "guilty" or "no contest" plea and dismiss the case. Defendants convicted of a misdemeanor, or felons sentenced to probation, local county time or AB109 may be eligible to file an Expungement.  Defendants may file this petition once they have paid all fines and fees associated with the case, are no longer on probation, and have no open or active cases. Relief can be mandatory or discretionary depending on the circumstances. 

Benefits of a Dismissal

  • The offense is no longer considered a conviction
  • If all your convictions are dismissed you can mark "no convictions" on applications
  • All employers cannot legally consider "non-convictions" as basis for employment or advancement 
  • May help with state licensing (Nursing, LVN, and Teaching Credential)
  • May help with housing or voucher programs
  • May help with immigration consequences
  • May help with eligibility for financial aid

Limitations of a Dismissal: California law does not permit a true clean slate, thus:

  • It can still be used for future prosecutions
  • May still limit professional and occupational licensing
  • It will always appear on your "rap sheet" or "background check"
  • The dismissal does not permit you to own a gun
  • It does not clear your DMV record

For more information about this relief and how to petition the court see our Expungement Self-Help Packet(PDF, 582KB).