Northern California Expungement Attorney
Call Sierra Law Center, APC, for a free expungement consultation and evaluation (1203.4 Dismissal): Call 530-798-3548.
What Is An Expungement In California?
California law provides for the expungement (Penal Code Section 1203.4 relief) of certain felony or misdemeanor criminal convictions. California Penal Code § 1203.4 permits an individual, with court permission, to withdraw his or her plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere and thereafter enter a plea of not guilty; or, if he or she has been convicted after a plea of not guilty, the court shall set aside the verdict of guilty; and, in either case, the court shall thereupon dismiss the accusations or information against the defendant.
In California, if you successfully complete the terms and conditions of felony or misdemeanor probation – including paying all fines, fees, and victim restitution – then, as a matter of law, you are entitled to have your California criminal record dismissed (expunged), pursuant to California Penal Code § 1203.4. Even if you failed to successfully complete the terms of your probation you still may be eligible for an expungement. A court can consider your behavior after being placed on probation. If you can show that despite the unsuccessful completion of probation that you have lived a law-abiding life, the court has the discretion to grant your petition to have your California felony or misdemeanor record expunged.
A California criminal defense attorney familiar with expungements (1203.4 dismissal) will know what court documents to file to ensure that you have the best possible chance of getting your felony or misdemeanor case expunged. If you need to have your California criminal record expunged, contact Northern California Criminal Defense Attorney Jacob Zamora of the Sierra Law Center, APC.
Mr. Zamora has handled numerous felony and misdemeanor expungements throughout California, and he can make sure all court documents are filed and all parties are properly notified.
How Long Do I Have To Wait Before I Can Seek An Expungement Of My Felony Or Misdemeanor Case?
You can petition the court to have your felony or misdemeanor case expunged once your probation has terminated, either by completing the full term of probation or by having your probation terminated early.
In almost all cases a motion seeking multiple forms of relief can be filed with the court. For example, if you have not yet completed the full term of your felony or misdemeanor probation, a motion seeking early termination of a felony or misdemeanor probation can be combined with a request for expungement. Alternatively, a motion seeking early termination of felony probation can be combined with a request to have the felony reduced to a misdemeanor and then have the case expunged. An experienced criminal defense attorney can advise on the best way to proceed with your felony or misdemeanor expungement.
I Do Not Like Going To Court; Will I Have To Be Present When My Expungement Is Decided?
No. Because the expungement process is ministerial your attorney can appear on your behalf.
However, if you did not successfully complete the terms and conditions of your felony or misdemeanor probation it is important for you to appear before the judge. Seeing an individual who has changed his or her life for the better can have a big impact on the judge hearing your expungement case, especially if it is the same judge who previously presided over your felony or misdemeanor case. Your presence and appearance may be the deciding factor that convinces the judge to exercise his or her discretion to grant your expungement under California Penal Code § 1203.4.
How Long Will It Take To Get My Felony Or Misdemeanor Conviction Expunged?
There is nothing in the law that requires the court to decide an expungement in a specific time frame. However, in most cases, depending on court congestion, your felony or misdemeanor expungement can be finalized in about 60 days.
I Was Sent To State Prison. Am I Eligible To Have My California Case Expunged?
Unfortunately No. However, under California law, an individual may be eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation and/or pardon. There are specific requirements, including certain timelines, that affect eligibility for a certificate of rehabilitation. A criminal defense attorney who has handled expungements and certificates of rehabilitation can advise you if these options are available in your felony case. Only a criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the expungement process can properly advise you on the specifics of your felony or misdemeanor case. Northern California Criminal Defense Attorney Jacob Zamora, managing attorney with the Sierra Law Center, APC, is well versed in the expungement process in California.
I Was Convicted Of A Sexual Offense. Can I Still Have My Felony Case Expunged?
In some cases, no. Certain serious sex-based crimes are not eligible for expungement. California Penal Code section 1203.4(b) states:
Subdivision (a) of this section does not apply to any misdemeanor that is within the provisions of Section 42002.1 of the Vehicle Code, to any violation of subdivision (c) of Section 286, Section 288, subdivision (c) of Section 288a, Section 288.5, subdivision (j) of Section 289, Section 311.1, 311.2, 311.3, or 311.11, or any felony conviction pursuant to subdivision (d) of Section 261.5, or to any infraction.
I Am Still On Probation. Am I Eligible To Have My Felony Or Misdemeanor Case Expunged?
Maybe. California Penal Code Section 1203.3(a) allows the court to terminate felony or misdemeanor probation early. The code states in relevant part that “The court … may at any time when the ends of justice will be subserved thereby, and when the good conduct and reform of the person so held on probation shall warrant it, terminate the period of probation and discharge the person so held …” Contact Northern California Criminal Defense Attorney Jacob Zamora to find out if you are eligible to have your felony or misdemeanor probation terminated early. One basic requirement for early termination of probation is that all court-ordered fines and fees are paid in full. Additional requirements must be met and only a criminal attorney familiar with probation and the early termination of probation procedure can correctly evaluate your situation. Northern California Criminal Defense Attorney Jacob Zamora is happy to answer your felony or misdemeanor expungement questions.
I Was Convicted Of A Felony. Is There Any Way To Have My Felony Reduced To A Misdemeanor?
Yes, it may be possible. If you were convicted of a wobbler then you may be eligible to have your felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor. A wobbler is a crime that can be charged as either a felony or a misdemeanor. California Penal Code § 17(b) provides the mechanism for reducing a felony to a misdemeanor. The code also defines or describes a felony wobbler. To find out if you are eligible to have your felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor, contact the Sierra Law Center for a free consultation and case evaluation.
After An Expungement, Will My Conviction Be Completely Erased From My Criminal History?
No. A conviction will not be completely removed from your criminal history. After the expungement is granted your criminal history will show the conviction, but will also show a dismissal pursuant to California Penal Code § 1203.4.
After An Expungement, Will I Be Able To Own A Gun?
The general rule is no. Under California law, a person convicted of a felony can never again own, possess, have custody or control of a firearm, parts of a firearm or ammunition. An expungement will not change this fact. However, it may be possible to have your felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor, then expunged which, in some cases, will restore gun rights in California. There are exceptions, including potentially, a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction. Because firearm possession is governed by both federal and state law, only an experienced expungement attorney can advise you what effect an expungement will have on your ability to own or possess a firearm. Contact Northern California Criminal Defense Attorney Jacob Zamora to see how an expungement, (1203.4 Dismissal), may affect your gun rights.
I Was Granted An Expungement. Do I Still Have A Strike Conviction?
Yes. An expungement will not relieve you from the disability of a prior felony strike conviction. In reality, an expungement does not provide much legal benefit. An expungement may be recognized by private and government employers for employment purposes. An expungement is the first step in obtaining a Certificate of Rehabilitation and the certificate of rehabilitation is the next step in seeking or obtaining a pardon. A pardon is extremely difficult to obtain. However, if you are lucky enough to obtain a pardon for the felony strike conviction you will be legally relieved from the disabilities of the felony strike conviction.
My Expungement Was Granted Pursuant To Penal Code § 1203.4 – What Can An Employer Ask About My Record?
Labor Code Section 432.7 prevents an employer from seeking any information concerning an arrest or detention that did not result in a conviction, or information concerning a referral to, and participation in, any pretrial or post trial diversion program, or concerning a conviction that has been judicially dismissed or ordered sealed pursuant to law, including, but not limited to, Penal Code Sections 1203.4, 1203.4a, 1203.45, and 1210.1. Further, an employer is prohibited from seeking from any source whatsoever, or utilize, as a factor in determining any condition of employment including hiring, promotion, termination, or any apprenticeship training program or any other training program leading to employment, any record of arrest or detention that did not result in conviction, or any record regarding a referral to, and participation in, any pretrial or post trial diversion program, or concerning a conviction that has been judicially dismissed or ordered sealed pursuant to law, including, but not limited to, Penal Code Sections 1203.4, 1203.4a, 1203.45, and 1210.1.
If My Expungement Is Granted Will I Still Be Required To Register As A Sex Offender?
Yes. An expungement does not relieve an individual from the requirement to register as a sex offender. However, an expungement, (1203.4 relief), is the first step in obtaining a certificate of rehabilitation. Upon receiving a certificate of rehabilitation you can be relieved from the requirement of sex registration if you were convicted of certain misdemeanor sex offenses. For other sexual offenses, you will have to seek a governor’s pardon.
If My Expungement Is Granted Will I Still Be Required To Register As A Narcotics Offender?
No. If you are granted a dismissal under Penal Code § 1203.4, (expungement), your requirement to register as a narcotics offender will terminate.
How Much Will It Cost To Obtain An Expungement Of My Felony Or Misdemeanor Case?
How much it will cost to obtain an expungement of your California case will depend on several factors. For example, if you successfully completed all the terms and conditions of your probation, including paying all fines and fees, the process may be more streamlined. If you did not complete all terms and conditions, or if you had violations during the term of your probation, additional steps will be needed to obtain the expungement. Further, if you are seeking relief under California Penal Code Section 17(b), additional documents will need to be filed with the Court, in order to obtain an expungement. A consultation with a California expungement attorney can provide you with the proper guidance. Contact Northern California Expungement Attorney Jacob Zamora to discuss whether you can benefit from having your felony or misdemeanor conviction expunged, (Dismissed Under California Penal Code 1203.4), in California.