We are the Original California
Expungement Law Firm and have been online since 2003, and
Expunging California Cases since 1992.We
are a small firm that emphasizes personal attention, not high
volume. We only practice in California.
The California record expungement law, Penal
Code § 1203.4, is somewhat complex in certain areas, but removal
of a criminal record is something that should be done by anyone with
even a minor criminal history. Contrary to popular belief, records
are not cleared automatically with the passage of time.
reasonable, competitive, and include all legal work, court costs and
court appearances; you usually do not need to appear in court.
Several other types of remedies in California such as
sealing of diversion or juvenile records, early termination of
probation, DUI expungement, or reduction of a felony conviction to
misdemeanor status are also available.
1650 Palma Drive, Suite 102,
Ventura, CA 93003 Map
What is an Expungement in California?
A California criminal expungement is a legal process that petitions
the Court to review a conviction to determine:
If probation was successfully completed, or, if no probation was
granted, a year has passed since the conviction;
That all fines, restitution and reimbursement ordered by the court
has been paid;
That the petitioner is not now on probation for another offense;
That the petitioner has no new pending cases;
The Court then allows the petitioner to withdraw their plea or
finding of guilt, enters a "not guilty" plea, and orders the case
dismissed. You will receive a copy of the Court Order when your case
How does this help me?
Expungement law (Penal Code Section 1203.4) provides in part:
"[Petitioner shall]...be permitted by the court towithdraw
his or her plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendereand
enter a plea of not guilty; or, if he or she has been convicted
after a plea of not guilty,the
court shall set aside the verdict of guilty; and, in either
case, the court shall thereupondismiss
information against the defendant and except as noted below,he
or she shall thereafter be released from all penalties and
from the offense of which he or she has been convicted, except as
provided..." (Emphasis added)
What is the difference between an infraction, a
misdemeanor, and a felony?
In California, there are three (3) types of criminal offenses; they
are defined as follows:
infraction is a minor offense such as petty theft under $50 (490
PC), and can only be punished with a fine. Certain non traffic
infractions can now be expunged.
misdemeanor is a criminal offense that can be punished by up to
one (1) year in jail, a fine of $1,000 or both. Examples of
misdemeanors are such things as DUI without injury, theft,
battery, and disturbing the peace.
felony is a more serious criminal offense. Felonies carry with
them the possibility of a fine of up to $10,000.00 as well as
incarceration in the State Prison system for many years. Some
felonies require registration as narcotics or sex offenders. If
you served time in State Prison your case cannot be expunged.
Can a Felony conviction be Reduced to a
instances, yes. This is authorized by California Penal Code 17, et
seq. The conviction must be a "wobbler" (a crime that may be
charged as either a misdemeanor or felony initially) and the Court
retains discretion to grant a reduction even years after the case
is over. Under California law, the reduction acts to make the
conviction a misdemeanor "for all purposes"; this is a great
advantage. If combined with an expungement, there is no additional
charge to petition for a reduction also.
What about applying for jobs?
if you have ever been convicted of a crime, you can respond with"NO".However,
many "record searches" are out of date and inaccurate.
Unfortunately these services are used by many employers. This
means that your expungement may not reflect in the database if it
is not updated on a regular basis.We
tell our clients the best response to a private employer's
question about criminal convictions is: "No; case expunged"to
alleviate any confusion regarding legal status.
On questions byGovernment
you are asked if you have ever been convicted of a crime, you must
disclose the expunged case, but can tell them it has been
dismissed and set aside.
What doesn't a California Criminal Expungement
You will not be allowed to own or possess a firearm until you
would otherwise be able to do so.
Your dismissed conviction can still be used to increase your
punishment in future criminal cases, if the offense is "priorable"-
such as a DUI or theft offense.
An expungement will not relieve you of your duty to register as a
Does this erase all records and destroy the
No. An expungementchanges
disposition of the case to reflect a dismissal under 1203.4 of the
Penal Code. This means the Court file, the California Department
of Justice, and the FBI update their files to showa
new plea of not guilty has been entered and the case has been
ordered dismissed and set aside by the Court.It
does not remove all records of the case, nor does it make the
conviction 'invisible' to background checks.
Will I need to go to Court?
No. We can almost always handle all Court appearances for you.
Why Expunge my record? Why spend the money?
There are a number of reasons to do so such as employment or
licensing. However, at least half our clients want to expunge
their record as final "closure" on an old mistake- just for peace
How long does an Expungement take?
Like so many questions involving
the practice of law, the answer is "it depends"
Several factors impact the length
of time an expungement takes to go through the court system. Some
of these factors are: the length of time between the conviction
and the filing of the expungement; whether or not the case is in
the current computer system at the courthouse where the
expungement needs to be filed; whether or not the case is a felony
or misdemeanor; how complex the case is; whether or not the case
file is in storage off-site from the courthouse where the
expungement needs to be processed; and if the Court wants a
Probation Report prepared prior to the Court hearing.
Cases that are less than 10 years
old usually process reasonably fast, as the files are still
physically on site at most courthouses in the state of California.
Also, cases that are recent are automated and often times the
entire case is available as an electronic docket so that the
clerk's office and the court can have instant access to the entire
history of the case.
Older cases are often placed in a
central storage area that is commonly called the “archives”. Once
a case has been sent to archives it is often processed into
microfiche, or a similar optical storage process.
In some counties, such as Los
Angeles County, felony cases are moved to a central storage
facility near downtown, and retrieval of those cases can often
take 60 to 90 days before the expungement process even starts in
the courthouse where the case occurred.
Some courthouses tend to be very
efficient in processing expungements and “turn around” petitions
in 6 to 8 weeks; Van Nuys Court in LA County and the Newport Beach
Court in Orange County tend to be pretty quick in processing
expungements that are less than 10 years old.
Generally speaking, you can count
on your expungement taking in the neighborhood of 90 to 120 days,
but certain courts or older cases and can take up to six months.
When you call us for telephone
consultation we will be able to give you a better idea of a more
precise time that your expungement petition will probably take.
That being said, expungement petitions are not a priority for the
court system, and there is no time limit associated with
expungement petitions, so sometimes delays of weeks or months
Do you accept Federal Court Cases, Certificates
of Rehabilitation or Pardons?
No. Because we concentrate on California Expungement law we can no
longer take those cases. We suggest you contact a Federal law
defense attorney, the Parole Department or the Governor's pardon
attorneys in Sacramento. We DO accept some Certificates of
Rehabilitation in LA County
Do you "Guarantee" my Expungement?
No. No experienced attorney will make promises as to a result in
any case. Also, the California State Bar prohibits such
practices; see, Rules of Professional Responsibility§1-400(E):
'communication' which containsguarantees,
warranties, or predictionsregarding
the result of the representation...are
presumed to be in violation of rule 1-400..."
We believe a guarantee is a violation of the State Bar Rules;
also we have been in the practice of law for 22 years and
understand the complexities of criminal litigation.
1650 Palma Drive, Suite 102, Ventura,
CA 93003 Map
be aware this page is NOT a comprehensive analysis of all
expungement law, or of all types of remedies that may be available
to you. This is NOT legal advice, and a consultation with an
on any legal matter.