Cleaning Up Your Criminal Record In California

People make mistakes.  Sometimes mistakes lead to criminal convictions and a criminal record.  This may prevent you from getting a job, getting into school, obtaining a bank loan, and other benefits.  Many employers conduct criminal background checks.  Recently Ken White wrote about how people with federal convictions lack a clear path to clear their record.  But if you have been convicted of a crime in California, you may be able to clean up your criminal record.  You may be able to have your conviction dismissed, sealed, or expunged.

If you are convicted of a misdemeanor and are still on probation, you may request early release from probation and file a petition to have the conviction dismissed.  If you are convicted of a misdemeanor and you successfully completed court-ordered probation, you may file a petition to have the conviction dismissed.

If you are convicted of a felony and are on probation, you may request early release from probation and file a petition to have the conviction reduced to a misdemeanor and dismissed.    If you are convicted of a felony and complete probation and/or a county jail time, you may file a petition to have the conviction reduced and dismissed. If you are convicted of a felony and the court did not order probation and the court sentenced you to county jail, you may file a petition to have the felony reduced to a misdemeanor and file the petition to have the conviction dismissed.  If you are convicted of a felony and sentenced to state prison, you may file a petition for Certificate of Rehabilitation and Pardon.  If the court sentenced you to prison or under the authority of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, you are not eligible for dismissal.  However, you may be eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, which is a lengthy process.

If you are eligible for dismissal of your conviction, the court will dismiss your conviction if you received probation for that conviction and successfully completed probation or obtained early release; paid all fines, restitution, and reimbursements the court ordered as part of your sentence; you are not currently serving another sentence or on probation for another crime; and you are not currently charged with another crime.  Similarly, you are eligible for dismissal of the conviction and the court will dismiss your conviction if you never received probation and were convicted of a misdemeanor; it has been more than one year since you are convicted; you have complied with the sentence; you are not currently serving another sentence; you are not currently charged with another crime; and you have obeyed the law and lived an honest and upright life since the time of the conviction.

You are eligible for a dismissal and the court has the choice to grant you a dismissal if you received probation but did not get an early release, did not fulfill all the conditions of probation, or were convicted of any crime listed in California Vehicle Code §12810 (a)-(e) if you have paid all fines, restitution, and reimbursements which are part of your sentence and you are not currently charged with, on probation for, were serving a sentence on any other offense.  The court has the discretion to decide whether it should dismiss your conviction.

Tom Brown

Tom Brown

Tom Brown is a Founding Partner of Brown White & Osborn LLP. He served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Los Angeles and has more than 30 years of experience as a trial lawyer. He handles a wide variety of cases, especially white collar criminal defense and business litigation.
Tom Brown