What Criminal Records Cannot be Expunged in California?

March 16, 2023 by Seppi Esfandi in California  Criminal Defense  
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Why Some Criminal Records Cannot be Expunged?

Individuals who have been found guilty of a felony or misdemeanor but were not given a state prison sentence may be eligible to avail themselves of a California state penal code provision that permits the dismissal of their case. A discharge, commonly referred to as “expungement,” carries numerous advantages and could allow you to have a fresh start if you meet the criteria.

There are rules under California Penal Code Sections §1203.4 and §1203.4(a) for expungement. However, some convictions cannot be erased. You cannot have serious sex crimes, child pornography, murder, arson, terrorism, or certain vehicle crimes removed from your record. The complete list of crimes that can’t be removed from the record if probation was given includes:

  • Lesser offenses related to vehicles according to the law in section 42002.1. (Failure to stop and submit to equipment inspection or for an unsafe condition endangering a person).
  • Section 286(c) of the Penal Code (Sodomy with a minor)
  • Section 288 of the Penal Code (Lewd and lascivious acts with a child)
  • Section 288(c) of the Penal Code (Oral copulation with a minor)
  • Section 288.5 of the Penal Code (Continuous sexual abuse of a child)
  • Penal Code Section 289(j) (Forcible sexual penetration with minors under 14 years)
  • Sections 311.1, 311.2, 311.3, or 311.11 in the Penal (child pornography crimes)
  • Serious crimes listed in Penal Code Section 261.5(d) (Unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor under 16 years old committed by a person over 21 years old)

Some misdemeanors and infractions could not be removed from a person’s record if they were not given probation, like:

  • Misdemeanor crimes under the Penal Code Section 288(c).
  • Breaking the rules of Vehicle Code 42001.

These charges will remain permanently listed on your criminal record regardless of how long it has been since your conviction.

Why Someone Might Not be Granted an Expungement?

If someone is found guilty of one of the crimes mentioned, they can’t request to have their §1203.4 dismissed. If you were in a state prison or on parole, you could not have your offense expunged.

If you were put on probation, you have to finish it before you can have your conviction removed. If the court is still monitoring you, you may be allowed to end the monitoring before the scheduled time. If your probation ends and your crime is not on the list of forbidden crimes, you can ask to have your record cleared. If you didn’t get probation, you must wait one year after being convicted to apply for expungement.

You can only get your record cleared if you don’t have any pending criminal charges and aren’t currently serving time or on probation for any crime.

Are There Any More Rules for Removing a Felony From a Criminal Record?

Many states have many requirements that must be fulfilled so that a felony can be erased. Usually, these things are needed:

  • A period of waiting.
  • Keeping a good record without getting arrested since the conviction.
  • Finishing the sentence, which might include probation.
  • Paying for all the costs of court and any damages or losses suffered.
  • Finishing the process of erasing a criminal record.
  • Every state has its own rules. They may be either very strict or not so strict.

For instance, in California, only certain felony convictions can be erased from a person’s record.

  • The person did not serve time in state prison. While expungement is not offered to those who serve their verdicts in state prison, they can get a certificate of rehabilitation or a Gubernatorial pardon.
  • The person finished their crime punishment without any problems.
  • The person who applied is not in trouble with the law, on probation, or serving another punishment.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that even if you meet the strict requirements to file a petition for the expungement of a felony, the process of erasing a conviction record is complicated.

Criminal Records and Job Opportunities

The relevance of your convictions to the job application and the severity and nature of said convictions will determine their impact on the hiring decision.

Offenses that are violent or sexual in nature can hinder your ability to work with children or individuals who are vulnerable. Similarly, instances of embezzlement or theft may impede your prospects of employment in financial or cash-handling sectors.

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Lara S.
December 3, 2019
Seppi had my case reduced to just an infraction, and thanks to him I was able to keep my job. Jorge was extremely helpful too, the reason I went with this law firm. Overall pleased.

How to Win Your Case

We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

  1. Don’t ever talk to the police
  2. Do not discuss your case with anyone
  3. Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
  4. Tell police you need to contact your attorney
  5. Never consent to any search by the police
  6. If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
  7. Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
  8. Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
  9. Information on your cell phone is evidence
  10. Early Intervention is the key

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