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Expunge Your California Misdemeanor: Eligibility & Process (2024)

Expunging a misdemeanor conviction in the state of California involves a legal process known as expungement, which is the removal or dismissal of the conviction from a person’s criminal record. Expungement does not completely erase the record of the conviction, but it can be beneficial for various purposes, including housing and employment.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

Steps to Expunge a Misdemeanor in California

According to the Judicial Branch of California, general steps to expunge a misdemeanor conviction in California include[1]:

  • Eligibility Check – Determine if you are eligible for expungement. In most cases, a person is eligible if they have completed probation, paid all fines and restitution, and are not facing any other criminal charges.
  • Completion of Probation – Complete the probation period mandated by the misdemeanor conviction, which involves abiding by all the conditions set by the court.
  • Fulfill Financial Obligations – Be sure that you have paid all fines, fees, and restitution ordered as part of the sentence.
  • Petition for Expungement – Complete a petition for expungement with the court in your jurisdiction.
  • Prepare Supporting Documents – Gather and organize supporting documents, including proof of completion of probation, evidence of payment of fines, and a statement detailing why you are seeking expungement.
  • Serve the District Attorney – Serve a copy of your expungement petition to the DA’s office in the county where you were convicted. This will provide notification of your intent to seek expungement.
  • Court Hearing – A court hearing may be required to discuss your potential expungement. In some cases, the court may schedule a hearing to review your petition.
  • Decision by the Court – The court will consider your petition and make a decision. If accepted, your misdemeanor will be dismissed, and you will be relieved of all penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction.
  • Update Criminal Record – Request an update to your criminal record to show the expunged misdemeanor. While the conviction will not be deleted from your record, it will indicate that it has been dismissed.

Which Misdemeanors are Eligible for Expungement in California?

The following misdemeanors may be considered for expungement in California:

Please Note: Certain serious misdemeanors, such as domestic violence offenses, offenses requiring mandatory sex offender registration, and offenses that resulted in state prison sentences, are typically not eligible for expungement in California. Additionally, some waiting periods may apply before an individual becomes eligible to file for expungement.

Also Read: CA Misdemeanor Sentencing Guidelines

Trying to Get a Misdemeanor Expunged in California?

If you are interested in having a misdemeanor conviction expunged in California, consulting with a legal professional will help you understand your eligibility and navigate the expungement process successfully.

It’s important to note that the expungement process can vary from case to case, and it’s recommended that you speak with an attorney for guidance tailored to your specific situation. An attorney can provide guidance based on your specific circumstances and help you complete the necessary steps to seek expungement of your misdemeanor.

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