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Record Expungement
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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.

Our fees are 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.

California Record Expungement and Removal:

Free Record Expungement Consultation- ALL California Courts:

Click Here    Or Call Us 800 495 2819     

2276 Torrance Boulevard, Torrance CA 90501  Map

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 is complete.

How does this help me?

  • California Expungement law (Penal Code Section 1203.4) provides in part:

"[Petitioner shall] permitted by the court to withdraw his or her plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere and 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 thereupon dismiss the accusations or information against the defendant and except as noted below, he or she shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting 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: An 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: A 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: A 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 Misdemeanor?

  • In many 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 Private Employers ask 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 by Government Employers or Government Licensing Applications if 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 do?

  • 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 sex offender.

Does this erase all records and destroy the Court file?

  • No. An expungement changes and updates the 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 show a 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 of mind.

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 occur.

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):

    "A 'communication' which contains guarantees, warranties, or predictions regarding 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.

Free Consultation- ALL California Courts:

Click Here    Or Call 800 495 2819

2276 Torrance Boulevard, Torrance CA 90501  Map

1650 Palma Drive, Suite 102, Ventura, CA 93003  Map

DISCLAIMER: Please 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 Attorney is always recommended on any legal matter. 



Copyright 2013 Allen & Ehrle

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