California Court Permits Expungement of Sex Offenses

The California Courts have held some sex crimes can be expunged. Here is one such case, though not a Torrance Case, where the Justices allowed a dismissal and expungement of sex charges: In 1995, Defendant entered into a negotiated plea agreement, pleading no contest to violations of Penal Code sections 288, subdivision (c), 288a, subdivision (b)(2), 289, subdivision (i), and 261.5, subdivision (d). Defendant was placed on formal probation, which he successfully completed in 1999. In February, 2013, Smith moved to dismiss the pre-1997 sex offenses under section 1203.4, and that motion was denied. Defendant appealed.

The Appeals Court Held: Under section 1203.4 and subject to certain exclusions, a defendant who has successfully completed probation is entitled as a matter of right to dismissal of his or her convictions. Although section 1203.4 has been amended to prohibit dismissal of convictions for certain sex offenses, convictions under section 289, subdivision (i), and section 288a, subdivision (b)(2) are not excluded under any amendments. Therefore, the trial court erred by denying appellant’s motion to dismiss those convictions.

Trial court correctly denied section 1203.4 relief as to Smith’s section 288, subdivision (c) conviction. Effective 1998, while defendant was still on probation, section 1203.4 was amended to exclude certain offenses from dismissal, including sex offenses under section 288. Because section 1203.4 relief was not an implicit term of Smith’s plea agreement, he is subject to subsequent legislative amendments to the statute. (Doe v. Harris (2013) 57 Cal.4th 64.) Therefore, Smith was properly disqualified from dismissing his conviction for the violation of section 288.

The Court held defendant may renew constitutional argument regarding relief as to his section 261.5, subdivision (d) conviction on remand. In 2000, after defendant successfully completed probation, the Legislature amended section 1203.4 to prohibit dismissal of convictions for felony violations of section 261.5, subdivision (d).

About thetorranceattorney

Matthew Ruff is a Torrance criminal defense attorney located near the 405 freeway on Crenshaw Blvd. Focusing on DUI and serious criminal cases for over twenty years. In addition to criminal cases, Matthew also defends clients at the DMV.
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