“Expungement” of a misdemeanor is relatively straightforward in the State of California.
The word expungement comes from the french word which means to erase. The main California procedure is called a “Dismissal”. There are many different expungement techniques to erase different record items from different agencies. This is mainly about the CA Misdemeanor “Expungement”, i.e. the above mentioned “Dismissal”. Each of the 58 Counties has a different procedure, but there are some commonalities. If you are no longer on probation you can petition for the court to “dismiss” your misdemeanor. The case is reopened and re-adjudicated as “dismissed”. This means that when an employer asks if you have ever been convicted of a crime, you are lawfully able to say no. This presupposes that you do not have any other convictions. CR-180 is the basic California Judicial Council Form, but some counties have a local form.
Felonies are a little bit of a different process.
Below is a list of good resources. I will help you fill out the forms if you ask:
- California Courts: Cleaning Your Record PDF (has misdemeanor and felony explanations and some other governmental information)
- San Diego County Law Library PDF: How to Clean-Up Your Criminal Record PDF
- LA County Court: Can I Clear My Criminal Record?
If you go to “Google” you can google the County Name and add one of the following terms:
- Public Defender Expungement
- District Attorney Expungement
- Prosecutor Expungement
- Probation Expungement
- Parole Expungement
- Law Library Expungement
- Clinic Expungement
- Self-Help Expungement
- Court Self-Help Expungement
- Juvenile Sealing Clerk
That about covers all the search terms. Every County is different, but the substantive law is the same.
Note: I found one County that mispelled Expungement and spelled it Expungment. Go figure. I called the County Courthouse to have them change it and they couldn’t figure why I felt the need to call. The reason is because you have the right to be able to find this information. I am not going to name the County. Just be aware that if you are searching for information on Expungement you might need to type Expungment.
Hope this helps with your need for Expungement information.
A LegalShield Membership entitles you to unlimited legal advice phone calls with your Partner Law Firm and they can help guide you too. Go to www.JamesPolk.us to hear more about a LegalShield Membership which only costs $20 a month for a Family Membership.
Let me know if you have decided on which forms to file and where to file them and I can help you complete them and file them.
James F. Polk
P.S. Some Counties work with another County and do not have their own services.