Californians living with a criminal record face over 5,000 legal restrictions. Worse yet, 3,650 of those limitations are permanent.
Consequently, 4 in 5 former convicts face barriers to accessing jobs, housing, education, financial services, adopting or fostering children, and more.
California Penal Code 1203.4 allows eligible individuals to expunge their records, removing barriers to stable housing and employment.
Here, you’ll learn everything you need to know about CPC 1203.4, including what it is, the eligibility criteria, the expungement process, and more.
California Penal Code (CPC) 1203.4 outlines the legal process for expungement of certain criminal convictions in California.
“Expungement” means a criminal conviction is set aside or dismissed after completing certain criteria (e.g., probation).
It allows you to legally state that you weren’t convicted of the offense, which can help improve job prospects, secure or maintain professional licenses, and join certain organizations.
Under California Penal Code Section 1203.4, you’re eligible for expungement if:
To clarify, you need to meet all terms to “successfully complete probation,” including:
Also, to be eligible, you can’t currently be:
If you were sentenced to state prison, you generally don’t qualify for expungement under CPC 1203.4.
In addition, some criminal offenses can never be expunged, including sex crimes against children like:
Everyone eligible for expungement under CPC 1203.4 or 1203.4a should petition for it.
This is because having a clean criminal record comes with several benefits:
The faster you get your criminal records expunged, the faster you’ll get your rights back. Mariya Melkonyan can help you navigate the 1203.4 process efficiently. Schedule a free consultation today.
There are several benefits to getting your criminal records expunged under CPC 1203.4, but it isn’t a silver bullet. You’ll still have some limitations that come with a past conviction:
You’ll have to address these limitations through other means. Your gun rights can be restored with a Governor’s Pardon, for example.
To expunge your criminal records under CPC 1203.4, you need to take the following four steps:
The expungement process is complex and paperwork-heavy. Most people end up making mistakes that lead to their petitions being denied.
Expungement attorney, Mariya Melkonyan, will simplify the process and ensure your first attempt is successful. Schedule a no-obligation, free consultation today.
A criminal defense attorney knows which forms to use. You can find most of these documents at your local courthouse or on the internet:
Felonies need to be reduced to misdemeanors before being expunged. You can request a court to reduce your wobbler offense.
For non-wobbler offenses, you need to fill out a form under PC § 17(b)(3) before petitioning for dismissal under PC 1203.4.
After filling out the correct forms, you need to file them with the court where your case was heard.
Every court has its own policies and fees — this is where things get tricky:
Not everyone has to appear at their expungement hearing. Your defense attorney can help you prepare if needed.
If the judge grants your petition, you need to seal the case to hide it from the public — your defense attorney can do this for you.
If your petition was denied, you can file a new one six months later.
In practical terms, “dismissed per 1203.4” means your conviction has been set aside, and you can legally state that you weren’t convicted of the offense.
To get a dismissed case off your record in California, you need to petition the Superior Court that has jurisdiction over your case and file a copy of the petition with the DA’s office.
The best way to find a qualified expungement attorney in California is to look at the attorney’s experience and client reviews.
For instance, Mariya Melkonyan has 13 years of experience as a Deputy District Attorney, Jury Trial experience ranging from misdemeanors to serious and violent felonies, and a five-star rating from several client testimonials.
Yes, expungement attorney Mariya Melkonyan offers a free initial consultation. Contact Mariya to find out if you qualify for record expungement.
Alternatively, you can email her at email@example.com, call (424) 901-3131, or visit her office at 450 N. Brand Blvd, Suite 600 Glendale, CA 91203.
In California, nearly all misdemeanors can be expunged aside from some Vehicle Code violations and other rare exceptions.
A misdemeanor is any offense punishable by fines, probation, community service, or up to one year in county jail.
We can help you start the felony expungement process once you complete all terms of probation. If you didn’t receive probation, we can begin one year from the date of your conviction.
The cost of getting your record expunged in California varies depending on several factors, such as:
The time it takes to expunge a misdemeanor in California varies, depending on factors like the specific court’s caseload. It usually takes us two to four months to complete the entire process.
In most cases, a court hearing isn’t necessary. If a hearing is scheduled, we can almost always handle all court appearances for you.
If your expungement request is denied, consulting with an attorney is essential. We can review your case and advise you on whether appealing the judge’s decision or reapplying at a later time is the best course of action.
The easiest way to check if your criminal record has been expunged is to visit the court where your case was handled and ask to see the records. If the court tells you they don’t have your records, it means they were expunged.
Typically, employers can’t see expunged records on a standard background check.
Generally, you don’t have to disclose expunged records in California. Exceptions include:
Expunged records are inaccessible to general law enforcement. Under exceptional situations, they may be retrieved and used; but it typically requires a court order or statutory authorization.
Expungement under 1203.4 does not restore gun rights if your conviction disqualified you from owning firearms (e.g., you were convicted of a violent felony such as murder, robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, etc.).
Technically, you can become a police officer with an expunged felony in California, but it’s very unlikely you’ll qualify. Talk to the police department you want to apply for to find out what their policy is.
As we mentioned above, CPC 1203.4 focuses on expungement after probation.
California Penal Code 1203.4a allows you to petition to have infractions and misdemeanors with no probation expunged from your record one year after the conviction date.
An expungement under CPC 1203.4 seals your criminal conviction — for most purposes, it’s as if it never happened.
A pardon restores certain rights such as firearm and voting rights. However, your records will still show in background checks.
The new law for expungement in California — SB 731 — is a transformative bill for those living with the consequences of having a criminal record. It came into effect on July 5, 2023.
You don’t deserve to keep struggling to access employment, housing, financial services, and education.
With 13 years of experience as a former Deputy District Attorney, Mariya Melkonyan can help you navigate the complex paperwork and process of California Penal Code 1203.4.
Schedule a free evaluation of your case with Mariya today to get your criminal records expunged as soon as possible.