How Is An Expungement Defined In California?

An expungement is a motion that a defendant makes to have the plea in a case withdrawn and dismissed. Therefore, after the expungement, an individual, in most instances, can say that they have never been convicted of an offense. This applies only to convictions.

Can An Arrest That Resulted In Dismissed Charges Be Expunged In California?

An arrest cannot be expunged. However, a Motion for Finding of Factual Innocence is available. Once that motion is filed, there is then a court hearing, which is almost like a mini trial to determine whether or not the individual is actually innocent, not that the prosecution could not prove the case. It’s very difficult, in most situations, to have that motion granted because the prosecution usually objects to it; and when the prosecution objects to it, the court, more likely than not, will follow the prosecutor’s recommendation.

However, if you are able to get the prosecutor to agree to it or if your case is strong enough to show that you are, in fact, “Factually Innocent,” then the motion will be granted, and you can then say that you’ve never been arrested. Those arrest records are destroyed and sealed.

What Is The Difference Between An Expungement And Having A Record Sealed?

They are completely different. If you have an expungement on your record, it indicates that you’ve been arrested, convicted and the plea was withdrawn and the case dismissed. All of that information is on your record, and all of that information is available to someone, who has access to a public record. Therefore, it is not sealed nor is it destroyed. But an expungement is significant because when the case is expunged, you are able to indicate that you’ve never been charged or convicted.

Who Is Eligible For An Expungement In California?

In most cases, any misdemeanor, felony or infraction can be expunged, with some caveats. If it’s an infraction, you have to wait one year; and if you are given probation, you need to wait until the probation has terminated, either by its own course or having the court terminate probation early. Records that relate to sex offenses are not expungable.

Can Domestic Violence And DUI Charges Be Expunged?

Those charges are expungable. However, for a DUI, even though it is expunged, it is not removed from your DMV record. Even though you may be able to indicate that the case was dismissed, the DMV will still use it for purposes of punishment regarding your driver’s license. Also, if you are applying for some type of licensing from the state or the county, more often than not the question on the form will state, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” It will then go on to state, “Even if the case has subsequently been expunged.” In that situation, you are required to indicate you have been convicted because the expungement is basically nullified by the question.

Are There Any Types Of Convictions That Are Automatically Expunged?

No. An expungement is required to be initiated by the accused. In terms of juvenile records, you can have them sealed, unlike adult records. You need to file a motion with the court and request that sealing. Some records can, in fact, be automatically sealed in juvenile court. However, if they are not automatically sealed, then you must request that they be sealed.

Are There Certain Convictions that Are Easier To Expunge Than Others?

Certain factors come into play, such as your record, what you have done while on probation or throughout the year since conviction. The type of offense is also significant. A judge is going to be more likely to expunge a petty theft case than a domestic violence case.

How Can My Prior Criminal Record Impact An Expungement?

You are not eligible for an expungement if you are presently facing a new charge or on probation for a new charge or pending new charges. So you have to basically be free from any criminal activities at the time of the request for an expungement.

For more information on Expungement In California, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (310) 277-1707 today.


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Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney Disclaimer: The felony, misdemeanor, traffic, criminal defense, drunk driving, DUI, theft, drugs, three strikes law, juvenile law, or other legal criminal defense information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of a lawyer or attorney client relationship. Any results portrayed here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ if based on different facts.