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  • Writer's pictureErik Bruce

Expungement in California

What will a dismissal/expungement do?



A dismissal/expungement will:

  • Result in a new entry in the court record showing the dismissal of the case;

  • Allow you to answer on many, but not all, job applications that you have not been convicted. If you are applying for a government job or a job which requires a government-issued license, certificate, or permit, or a job which involves a security clearance, the conviction will be discovered — in such cases, you should disclose the initial conviction and its later expungement. Also, be aware a court file may still exist after an expungement. Anyone who knows how to look for a court file may be able to find it.

  • Be seen as evidence of rehabilitation;

  • Make you eligible for a federal student loan if you were denied a federal student loan because of a drug conviction;

  • Prevent use of the conviction to impeach you if you testify as a witness, unless you are being tried for a subsequent offense.

What won’t a dismissal/expungement do?

  • Remove the conviction from your “Rap Sheet” – California and FBI criminal history records will still show the conviction and the later dismissal “per PC 1203.4”;

  • Reinstate the right to possess firearms if it was taken away(in cases such as Domestic Violence) (reduction to a misdemeanor may accomplish this if the offense is not one of violence);

  • Remove the requirement to register as a sex offender per Penal Code § 290. If the expungement is granted, registrants must then complete and file paperwork requesting aCertificate of Rehabilitation, when eligible. A Certificate of Rehabilitation will relieve some sex offenders from further registration. This is true for both felony and misdemeanor convictions;

  • Allow you to omit the conviction from applications for government issued licenses or public office;

  • Seal or otherwise remove the court case file from public inspection – anyone who knows where to look will be able to find the court file;

  • Prevent the conviction from being used as a “prior” or “strike prior” to increase punishment on a subsequent conviction;

  • Prevent the conviction from being used for impeachment purposes on a subsequent offense;

  • Prevent the conviction from being considered and used to refuse or revoke government licenses and permits such as real estate sales licenses, teaching credentials, bus drivers licenses, security guard certificates, etc.; however, the expungement may reduce the weight given the conviction by the licensing agency;

  • Prevent the conviction from being used by ICE (Immigration) for removal and exclusion purposes.

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