These are general answers to frequently asked questions about expunging a criminal record in California. This is not intended to provide legal advice. This information was prepared by attorney Richard Glen Boire to help you determine whether we may be able to clear up your criminal record for you. Please contact us for comprehensive individualized legal advice.
You can also read this FAQ just by scrolling down.
- What is an expungement?
- Do I qualify for an expungement?
- Why retain our law firm for this?
- Will I be able to say that I have never been convicted?
- Can you expunge a felony?
- How long does it take?
- Aren't old convictions removed from my record after 7 years?
- Aren't old marijuana convictions automatically removed from my record?
- Aren't juvenile records automatically sealed when the person turns 18?
- I pled "No Contest," not "Guilty." Does that change anything?
- Will I be able to own or possess a firearm?
- What else won't an expungement do?
- How much do you charge?
- Sounds great! How do I get started?
Expungement is a special procedure currently available under California law. Our law firm handles these cases all over California. An expungement results in having your conviction DISMISSED. Our law firm can handle this entire process for you, from start to finish.
In the end, your old plea of guilty or no contest will be withdrawn, a new plea of NOT GUILTY will be entered, and then the case is DISMISSED.
A copy of the judge's expungement order will be sent to the Department of Justice, and becomes public record. [Back]
As a basic qualification, you must have successfully completed probation (no violations or arrests while on probation) and must not be facing any new charges. To find out for sure, we need to review your official criminal record.
20 years expungement experience + straight forward fees + 1st class Bar record + full-service client-centered attention from start to finish. This is not our business, it's our passion. [Back]
Yes, in most cases. For applications to all private employers you will be able to answer "NO," if asked whether you've ever been convicted of a crime. Your conviction will be marked as DISMISSED. Applications submitted for some Government jobs and licenses will not be affected by an expungement, which means that you will still have to admit the conviction even if it is successfully expunged. [Back]
Yes. In fact, we routinely reduce and expunge felony convictions. Under California law, it is possible to have felony convictions expunged if you were granted probation and completed it successfully. In many cases we can even get felonies reduced to misdemeanors prior to expungement, meaning you are no longer an "ex-felon." [Back]
With our online system you can get started immediately. We can often prepare and file your petition within 48 hours of being retained. In most cases, it takes about 45 days for the court to rule on your petition. However, some courts are quicker and some are slower. We will keep you updated every step of the way. [Back]
No. That is an urban myth. They remain on your official Dept. of Justice criminal record for life. [Back]
Aren't old marijuana and other drug convictions automatically removed from my record, or sealed, after a certain number of years?
No! Contrary to popular belief, marijuana and other drug convictions do NOT automatically disappear from your record after two or three years. In California, this only occurs automatically for simple possession of marijuana (not for sale, etc.), or for offering to give away or transport less than an ounce of marijuana. If you were convicted of these offenses in 1976 or later, THEN AND ONLY THEN, is your record AUTOMATICALLY expunged two years later. (And it's often a good idea to confirm that this has happened). For all other California drug cases, including all other marijuana cases, a petition seeking to expunge your conviction(s) must be filed with the Court.
IF YOU WERE GRANTED DIVERSION OR DEJ and successfully completed it, your case has been dismissed, but your records remain public. We can SEAL AND DESTROY all court and arrest records of a drug diversion case. [Back]
No. A special petition must be filed in the juvenile court to have them sealed. [Back]
I pled"No Contest" rather than "Guilty," doesn't that mean I can answer "NO" already if asked if I was ever convicted?
No. A plea of "No Contest" is identical to a plea of "Guilty" in California - both are considered criminal convictions and, unless expunged, must be disclosed on employment applications. [Back]
A California expungement has no effect on your right to own or possess a firearm. It will not help, it will not hurt. To restore lost firearm rights, we can petition for a certificate of rehabilitation and pardon. For felony convictions, a felony reduction to a misdemeanor may restore your rights to possess a firearm under California law. [Back]
Even after an expungement, a court can still use the prior conviction to enhance your sentence for a new crime (for example under California's Three Strikes Law). If you are a registered sex offender, an expungement will not relieve you of your duty to register. Also, an expungement does not mean that the court file is erased, destroyed, or sealed. Rather the conviction is marked as "DISMISSED." What actually happens is that your plea of guilty (or no contest) is withdrawn, a plea of NOT GUILTY is entered, and the charges are dismissed pursuant to Penal Code Section 1203.4 or 1203.4a. [Back]
You can begin your expungement right now.