EXPUNGEMENTS and FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS!
"Expungement" is a term used when referring to a process of cleaning up your criminal record. In this process you request that the court re-open your criminal case, withdraw the plea or guilty verdict, dismiss the charges, and re-close the case without a conviction.
What is an Expungement?
An expungement is when you file a document with the court and you ask the Judge to remove your guilty plea and dismiss your case.
There are specific requirements which you must complete before you are eligible for an expungement.
Not all Felony cases are eligible for an expungement. For expungements on felony cases, please contact the Office of the Public Defender and fill out a Financial Declaration to apply for our services.
Misdemeanor expungements may be handled on your own but should you need assistance, the Office of the Public Defender will assist if you qualify for our services. See forms link below for further instructions.
What are the requirements?
- Payoff the outstanding balance on your case
- That you complete Probation
- That you do not have other pending cases
- That you follow all of the terms of your sentence
- That you comply with the law
- If the case is a felony, the case must be eligible for an expungement.
Why should you get your case expunged?
- Your guilty plea is changed to "dismissed"
- Allow you to answer on job applications that you have not been convicted. If, however, you are applying for a government job or a job which requires a government-issued license, certificate or permit, or a job which involves a security clearance, the conviction will be discovered. In such cases, you should disclose the conviction and subsequent expungement.
- For felony convictions, an expungement is the first step in applying for a pardon.
- Background check
WHAT AN "EXPUNGEMENT" WILL NOT DO?
- Remove the record of your arrest and conviction from the databases of federal and state law enforcement agencies. For instance, the FBI would still have a record of your conviction.
- Reinstate your right to possess a gun.
- Allow you to omit the conviction on an application for a government-issued license (e.g., insurance agent license, real estate agent license, etc.).
- Seal or remove the court case file from public inspection. A person could still find out about the conviction by going to the court house and asking to review the court file
- Prevent the conviction from being used as a "prior" to increase punishment on a later conviction.
- Prevent the conviction from being used by immigration officials for removal or exclusion proceedings.
- Relieve you from any requirement to register as a sex offender under section 290.
If you think you're eligible for an expungement, please click here for expungement information and application for services. Once completed, please bring into the Office of the Public Defender.