CRIMINAL RECORD EXPUNGEMENTS
What is a dismissal / expungement?
A dismissal (also known as an expungement) is governed by California Penal Codes §§ 1203.4, 1203.4a, and 1203.41. It is a remedy for adults who did not serve prison time for their offense. Once the petition is filed, the court may withdraw a guilty plea or a no contest plea, or verdict of guilt if it went to trial and then enter a not guilty plea. The court will then set aside and dismiss the conviction. From that point on, you are considered no longer convicted of the offense. Your record will be changed to show a dismissal instead of a conviction. Under the California Labor Code, an employer cannot ask about convictions that have been expunged. The statute provides that the person with the criminal record is “released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense.” However, the conviction remains on the record for many purposes, including sex registration and immigration consequences.
What will a dismissal NOT do?
• A dismissal will not reinstate the right to possess a firearm
• A dismissal will not prevent the dismissed conviction from being used as a “prior” if defendant is prosecuted for another offense
• A dismissal will not prevent the U.S. government from considering the offense for immigration purposes
• A dismissal will not relieve sex offenders of their duty to register
• A dismissal will not re-instate driving privileges if they have been suspended as a result of the case
Who is eligible for an expungement / dismissal?
In order to qualify for a dismissal or expungement in California, the conviction must have occurred in California, 12 months have passed since the conviction, the individual seeking dismissal did not serve time in prison, and he/she cannot be currently involved with the criminal justice system. That means:
1. Not serving a sentence in prison
2. Not on parole or probation
3. Not facing any new charges
Under California P.C. § 1203.4(b), some offenses are ineligible for expungement, including:
1. P.C. § 261.5(d) – Statutory rape
2. P.C. § 286(c), 288, 288a(c), 288.5 – Sexual conduct with a child
3. P.C. § 42002.1 – Failure to submit to inspection, unsafe condition endangering a person
Other ineligible convictions are:
1. Felony (with a prison sentence)
2. Juvenile Conviction
3. Federal Crime
4. Military Convictions
California’s Proposition 47
In 2014, California voters approved Proposition 47, which reclassifies several categories of theft and drug possession crimes from felonies to misdemeanors.
Eligible Theft Crimes:
Any type of property theft, as long as the value of the property/check is $950 or less, including:
• Shoplifting during business hours
• Receiving stolen property
• Forgery of a check, money order, cashier’s check, etc.
• Passing bad checks (unless the person has 3 or more priors)
• Petty theft with a prior
Eligible Drug Possession Crimes:
• Possession of various controlled substances, including cocaine and heroin (CA H&S Code §11350)
• Possession of concentrated cannabis / “hash” (CA H&S Code § 11357(a))
• Possession of methamphetamine (CA H&S Code § 11377)
The application / petition for a reduction under Prop. 47 must be filed with the Court prior to November 5, 2017 (11/5/17). Individuals who have served prison time for convictions that are reclassified under Prop 47 may still be eligible to have those convictions expunged. However, reclassification will not reinstate the right to possess a firearm.
If you are interested in reclassifying a felony to a misdemeanor under Prop. 47, call Lipton Legal Group at (310) 855-7556.