Frequently Asked Questions about California Criminal Record Expungement

Are juvenile records expunged?

No. Juvenile court records can be sealed if a petition is filed by either the subject of the records or by the probation department. Application may be made five years after the termination of juvenile court jurisdiction or when the subject of the records reaches age 18, whichever is earlier. To be eligible for relief (sealing), the individual must not have been convicted of a felony or misdeanor involving moral turpitude and there must be no pending civil litigation concerning the incident. Relief consists of sealing of arrest and other records, papers and exhibits. Once the records are sealed, the proceedings shall be deemed to never have occurred, and the person may reply accordingly to any inquiry.

Are records ever “automatically” expunged?

No, in order to expunge your record you must petition the court through a 1203.4 Motion. This will be heard before the court and is at the discretion of the judicial officer (not automatic).

Can an expungement be denied?

After filing a 1203.4 motion for expungement it cannot be denied if you have met all the eligibility requriements. There are a few instances where the motion can be denied. It could be opposed by the prosecution or probation department or due to lack of payment of court fines and fees and if probationer violated too often while under probation.

Can previously sealed records ever be unsealed?

No. Under only rare circumstances and good cause brought by law enforcement. Law enforcement will be able to see your sealed records however a private party will not be able to see the previous conviction.

If my record is expunged, do I ever have to admit that I have a criminal record?

No, after an expungement is granted you will not have a record of a conviction. Your arrest will still be on record but the conviction will be changed from “guilty” to “not guilty”. Therefore you can truthfully state that you have not been convicted of a crime. However, an arrest record will still be there. An arrest record cannot be erased unless there is a factual finding of innocence by a judicial officer.

What are the basic qualifications for an expungement?

In order to be successful in petitioning the court for an expungement under PC 1203.4, you must have paid your fines to the court, have fulfilled your community service requirements, have not violated any terms of your probation and have no open cases are pending against you. If probation has been successfully completed or terminated early and the defendant is not serving a sentence or on probation or have been charged with any offense, relief "shall" be granted.



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