California’s “Expungement” Statute

August 28, 2015

Contrary to popular belief, California does not have a true “expungment” statute. What California does have is a “dismissal statute.” Pursuant to Penal Code 1203.4, when an individual fully completes probation, they may petition the court to reopen the case. The judge withdraws its finding of guilt and dismisses the case pursuant to the 1203.4 statute. From that point forward, an individual will be judicially declared to be statutorily rehabilitated and you will be released from all “penalties and disabilities” as a result of the conviction. This means that on most job applications, you can legally state that you have not been convicted of a criminal offense. However, if you are applying for a government job requiring you to be “live scanned” / fingerprinted, then you must disclose this conviction. As mentioned above, the conviction under this statute is not erased, deleted, or sealed. Instead, a notation is added on your formal record that the conviction was dismissed pursuant to 1203.4. Therefore, the conviction may still be visible to government employers. Furthermore, an “expungement” will not restore your firearm rights. If you have been convicted of a felony offense and subsequently “expunge” your record, the state of California will still recognize your felony conviction and deny you the right to possess a firearm. In that instance, you must look to see if you’re eligible to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor or seek a pardon from the governor.

For more information, contact Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney John Rogers at the Law Offices of John D. Rogers. Call (949) 625-4487 for a free confidential consultation concerning your rights and defenses.

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