So, you made a mistake and have a criminal conviction on your record. That happens to millions of people. Even after years of walking the straight and narrow, you may have found that the conviction prevents you from pursuing certain work or obtaining financial assistance for college.

For many people, a conviction that is many years old seems like a cloud that just won’t clear up. Fortunately, California law allows certain individuals to apply for an “expungement.” Penal Code 1203.4 states that eligible individuals can be released from certain convictions.

So, how do you know if you are eligible?

Under California law, misdemeanors and felonies can be expunged so long as:

  •         Your conviction was from a state court (federal convictions are not eligible).
  •         You have completed any probation required for the offense
  •         You have met all conditions of the sentence
  •         You either:

o   Were not incarcerated in state prison, or

o   You served time in state prison that normally would have been served in a county jail    

  •         You are not currently charged with another crime

California does not permit expungement for cases involving murder, kidnapping, and sexual offenses against children. If your conviction is expunged but you re-offend, your expungement may be reversed. If your conviction is related to gun violence, it may be expunged, but you will still be unable to obtain a gun permit or become a law enforcement officer.

Because of these provisions, it is important to contact an attorney to discuss your conviction and possible eligibility for expungement.