Who Qualifies to Have Their Criminal Record Expunged in California?
Under California Law, most misdemeanors and certain felonies can be expunged from your record. You are may be eligible to have your case dismissed if:
- If you have been convicted of an infraction, a misdemeanor or a felony that could have been charged as a misdemeanor (wobbler)* OR you were convicted of a straight felony but were not sentenced to state prison
- The case you are trying to dismiss is not one of the following offenses:
- a traffic infraction
- a sex offense in which the victim is 14 or under
- rape in which the victim is of any age
- statutory rape in which the offender is over 21 years old and the victim is under 16 years old
- You have successfully completed probation or the court has granted early release form probation
- You have paid all court ordered restitution, fines and fees associated with your case
- You are not on probation for any offense
- You are not charged with any new offense
If NO probation was ordered and you were convicted of a misdemeanor or certain infractions, you are eligible for an expungement it:
- One year has elapsed since your date of conviction
- You have followed all court orders relating to your sentence
- You are not currently on probation or parole for any other case
- You have no open charges in any other cases
- You are law abiding and have “lived an honest and upright life” since your date of conviction
How Do I Get My Criminal Record Expunged?
Contact Los Angeles attorney Jerod Gunsberg today to talk about expungement. Mr. Gunsberg will personally review your court file with you to make sure that you qualify for expungement.
If you believe there are errors in the court file, we will investigate further. If you qualify for expungement, Mr. Gunsberg will file a petition with the court to “reduce and dismiss” the conviction (if it is a felony conviction) or to “dismiss” the conviction (if it is a misdemeanor).
What Does an Expungement Cost?
In Los Angeles County, the filing fee is $120. This is separate from the attorney’s fees. Since no two expungement cases are the same, the amount of attorney’s fees varies depending on the amount of time it takes and whether a court appearance is required.
The Limitations of Expungement
If I get my record “expunged” does that mean the conviction completely disappears from my record?
No. The conviction will still show up on your record. Your record will not be expunged, cleared or sealed, however, another line will be added to your record showing that your case was “dismissed.” The fact that you were convicted will still appear on your record. Your record will also show that the case was later dismissed. In fact, the proper term for the procedure typically referred to as “expungement” is actually “dismissal.”
If I get my record expunged, can I tell an employer I was never convicted of a crime?
If you are applying for work or currently work with a private employer, they are prohibited from asking if you were convicted of a misdemeanor that was expunged.
For felony convictions that were dismissed or charges that were reduced to a misdemeanor and dismissed, there is no law that spells out the requirements one way or another. In the case of misdemeanors, if it is reduced to a “misdemeanor for all purposes,” it is an open question whether it’s a misdemeanor conviction for employment purposes. Practically speaking, if a potential private employer asks you if you’ve ever been convicted of a felony, it is a lot better to tell the truth and explain that the charge was later dismissed. If you deny a felony conviction, you run the risk of the employer running a background check and finding out the truth. There’s nothing you can do to change the fact of your conviction, but if you lie about it, it will come back to haunt you.
If you are applying for a professional license or work for or are licensed by a public agency, you must say yes if you are directly asked whether you have ever been convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony. Of course, if you successfully complete the expungement process, you can say that the conviction was later set aside and dismissed.
What are the other limitations on an expungement?
- Prior offenses in future cases – An expunged offense can still be used against you as a prior offense in any future prosecutions.
- Sex offender registration – If your conviction requires you to register as a sex offender under Penal Code 290, you must still keep your registration current even after expungement.
- Firearm ownership – If your case is reduced from a felony to a “misdemeanor for all purposes”and then dismissed, your right to own a firearm is restored. However, your right to own a firearm is not restored if you were convicted of a misdemeanor which prohibits you from owning a firearm for 10 years from date of conviction. Even with an expungement, you are still prohibited from owning a firearm for 10 years from the date of conviction. Please refer to the Weapons Charges page for more information on unlawful possession of a firearm.
- Driver’s license – If your conviction caused your license to be revoked or suspended, an expungement does not end your suspension or revocation.
- Impeachment testimony – If you testify in your own defense at a future criminal trial, the prosecutor may be able to use your conviction against you to impeach your credibility.
How an Experienced Expungement Lawyer Can Help
Get your expungement case handled properly. Call Los Angeles expungement lawyer Jerod Gunsberg at (323) 633-3423 for a free and confidential consultation or get in touch via the secure contact form on this page. Help is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.