In California the law permits offenders to have their conviction “expunged” if they satisfy probation and have stayed out of trouble. An expungement is available for those who have completed probation, or if no probation was granted, after the lapse of one year from the date of sentence a petition may be filed under Penal Code 1203.4. A person cannot petition for an expungement if they are currently on probation, they must either wait for probation to end naturally or request to have their probation terminated early. The Court may also grant a dismissal in the interests of justice.
What can a person expect if the petition of expungement under Penal Code 1203.4 is granted?
First, under most circumstances, private employers cannot ask you about any convictions dismissed under PC 1203.4. Therefore, you generally do not have to disclose a conviction to a private employer if it was dismissed or expunged under this section.
What about applications for government employment or a governmental license?
In these cases, you must respond that yes you were convicted but the conviction was later dismissed. A proper response may be “Yes-Conviction Dismissed”. In California, government employers and licensing agencies (except for police agencies and concessionaire licensing boards) will generally treat you the same as if you had never been convicted of a crime.
What an expungement will not do:
Your dismissed conviction can still be used to increase punishment in future cases. Further , the prior can still affect your driving privilege. The conviction will remain on your DMV record for points and priorability, this means if you are arrested and charged with a subsequent DUI the expungement will not prevent the prosecutor from filing the case as a DUI with a prior, both in California and in other states.
An expungement will not “seal or destroy” or erase your arrest record.
If you were ordered to register as a sex offender, you must make a different request to eliminate the sex offender registration requirement under section 290.
The expungement does not restore gun ownership rights as a general rule.
The expungement does not seal your record, the court records will remain accessible as a public record. The expungement will not erase the conviction or remove it from any database, it will likely still show up for background checks but the case will show up as “dismissed”.
All government authorities will have access to the case information. This means the history of the case will be available for review.
The expungement will not erase the conviction for immigration purposes. However, it may mitigate the effect it has on any application for citizenship, a Visa or admission to the United States. You should consult an immigration attorney to get more information on this topic.
The conviction may also prohibit you from holding public office if you were barred as a result of the original conviction.
A person may petition for expungement of their case as long as they are not currently facing charges on a new criminal case.
Also, in California an employer is limited as to how much they can ask you about a case that has been expunged pursuant to P.C. Section 1203.4. Labor Code 432.7. provides:
(a) (1) No employer, whether a public agency or private individual or corporation, shall ask an applicant for employment to disclose, through any written form or verbally, information concerning an arrest or detention that did not result in conviction, or information concerning a referral to, and participation in, any pretrial or posttrial diversion program, or concerning a conviction that has been judicially dismissed or ordered sealed pursuant to law, including, but not limited to, Sections 1203.4, 1203.4a, 1203.45, and 1210.1 of the Penal Code, nor shall any employer seek from any source whatsoever, or utilize, as a factor in determining any condition of employment including hiring, promotion, termination, or any apprenticeship training program or any other training program leading to employment, any record of arrest or detention that did not result in conviction, or any record regarding a referral to, and participation in, any pretrial or posttrial diversion program, or concerning a conviction that has been judicially dismissed or ordered sealed pursuant to law, including, but not limited to, Sections 1203.4, 1203.4a, 1203.45, and 1210.1 of the Penal Code. As used in this section, a conviction shall include a plea, verdict, or finding of guilt regardless of whether sentence is imposed by the court. Nothing in this section shall prevent an employer from asking an employee or applicant for employment about an arrest for which the employee or applicant is out on bail or on his or her own recognizance pending trial.
For more information on how an expungement will impact future criminal conduct or what a lawyer can do to help clearing your past indiscretions contact Torrance Expungement and Criminal Defense Attorney , Matthew Ruff.