Clean your record
Overview. You can petition for a dismissal of your conviction ("expungement") if a court convicted you of
a misdemeanor or a felony and did not sentence you to state prison under the authority of the California
Department of Corrections. This means the court sentenced you to imprisonment in the county jail, to
probation, to pay a fine, or a combination of those penalties. Upon proper motion, the court may withdraw
your guilty or nolo contendere (no contest) plea, or verdict of guilt if you went to trial, and enter a not
guilty plea. Then the court will set aside and dismiss the conviction.
Eligibility. If the court sentenced you to probation, you have either completed it or obtained early
release. If you violated your probation and the court reinstated or revoked your probation, then the court
has discretion whether or not to grant you a dismissal. If the court did not sentence you to probation, it
has been at least one year since the date of conviction. You have paid all fines, restitution and
reimbursement ordered by the court as part of your sentence. You have no current charges pending, nor
has any court placed you on probation for another offense.
Excluded crimes. The court will not dismiss convictions for failure to obey a peace officer, fireman, or
traffic officer while driving (Vehicle Code section 42001(b), which includes sections 2800, 2801, and
2803), or convictions for sexual crimes involving young victims (Penal Code section 261.5(d) (statutory
rape), 286(c) (sodomy), 288 (lewd acts), 288a(c) (oral copulation), 288.5 (continuous sexual abuse) and
289(j) (sexual penetration).
Effect. If a private or government employer asks you if have been convicted of a crime, you must respond
with "Yes-conviction dismissed." In California, government employers and licensing agencies (except for
police agencies and concessionaire licensing boards), will treat you as if you had never been convicted of
the dismissed crime. You cannot own or possess a firearm until you would otherwise be able to do so if
the court had not dismissed your conviction. A court can still use your dismissed conviction to increase
your punishment in future criminal cases. A dismissed conviction can still affect your driving privileges. A
dismissal will not relieve you of any duty to register as a sex offender. If a conviction has required you to
register as a sex offender, you have to make a different motion to the court to seek relief from this
The court will dismiss certain convictions if the petitioner meets the criteria.