Penal Code 1203.4 PC | Expungement of Criminal Convictions


Penal Code 1203.4 PC – Expungement of Criminal Convictions

What’s up! This article will explain expungement of criminal records under California Penal Code 1203.4 PC. We’ll break it down in simple terms, looking at how expungements work, eligibility, process, benefits, limitations, and more. No fancy legal talk here!

What is an Expungement Under PC 1203.4?

An expungement is a process to remove convictions from your criminal record. It releases you from penalties and disabilities resulting from the conviction [1]. Benefits include:

  • Dismissal of the conviction
  • Release from penalties like probation terms
  • Restoration of some civil rights

While not technically erasing the conviction, it offers a chance at a clean slate.

How Does the California Expungement Process Work?

The expungement process under PC 1203.4 involves [2]:

  1. Filing a petition with the court where you were convicted
  2. Attending a court hearing on your petition
  3. The judge deciding whether to grant the expungement
  4. Having your conviction dismissed and some rights restored if approved

This gives a chance to clear your record of past mistakes.

Who is Eligible for Expungement Under 1203.4 PC?

You may qualify for expungement if [3]:

  • You were convicted of a crime
  • You successfully completed probation
  • You are not currently charged with or serving a sentence for another offense

There are some exceptions for more serious crimes like sex offenses.

What is the Expungement Process in California?

The expungement process involves these main steps [3]:

  1. Obtain expungement forms from the court clerk or online
  2. Complete the forms with information about your conviction
  3. File the forms with the court and pay any filing fees
  4. Attend your expungement hearing when scheduled
  5. If approved, obtain certified copies of the order

An attorney can help guide you through the entire expungement process.

What is the Effect of an Expungement?

If granted an expungement [3]:

  • Your guilty plea is withdrawn and charges dismissed
  • Some civil rights are restored
  • You can legally say you don’t have a conviction
  • Records are updated to show the case was dismissed

However, it does not erase or seal the record completely. Government agencies can still access it in some circumstances.

Limitations of Expungement Relief

Expungement under PC 1203.4 does not [3]:

  • Prevent the conviction from being used in any subsequent prosecution
  • Allow you to own or possess firearms if prohibited
  • Remove registration requirements for sex offenses
  • Reinstate driver’s license privileges without a hearing

And it does not seal the record from all government agencies in all cases.

How Long Does an Expungement Take?

The expungement process typically takes [3]:

  • 2-3 months to prepare and file the petition
  • 2-6 months for the court to schedule a hearing date
  • 4-6 weeks to obtain certified copies of the order if approved

The entire process can take 6 months to 1 year from start to finish in most cases.

Recent Changes to Expungement Laws

Some recent changes to expungement laws include [5]:

  • Starting in 2021, traffic violations are eligible for expungement
  • Also in 2021, expungement forms became available online from the court clerk

An attorney can advise you on the latest expungement rules and procedures.

Alternatives to Expungement

If you are not eligible for expungement, alternatives include [3]:

  • Reducing a felony to a misdemeanor
  • A Certificate of Rehabilitation
  • A governor’s pardon

Each of these options has different eligibility requirements and benefits.

Recent Expungement Cases

Here are some examples of recent expungement cases:

  • People v. Clark – Clark’s expungement for petty theft was granted after completing probation and staying out of trouble.
  • People v. Miller – Miller was denied expungement because his offense was ineligible. He later got a Certificate of Rehabilitation.

These highlight that expungement is not guaranteed – courts consider your entire record and circumstances.

Get Legal Help Clearing Your Record

Don’t try to navigate the expungement process alone. An experienced California criminal defense lawyer can guide you through every step and greatly improve your odds of success. Take control of your future and contact an attorney to discuss clearing your criminal record.