An “expunged misdemeanor” means the court granted you a dismissal of a past criminal conviction on your criminal record – in particular, a misdemeanor offense.
A misdemeanor offense refers to a criminal offense that is punishable by fines, and/ or jail time – but no prison time.
A felony offense, conversely, is a criminal offense punishable by time in prison.
This article discusses why and how to obtain an expunged misdemeanor under California law. An expungement in California has it’s basis in California Penal Code 1203.4.
Why You Should Get an Expunged Misdemeanor
A misdemeanor is a criminal offense that is detectable on your criminal record. An expungement of your misdemeanor will not hide the offense from your criminal record – contrary to what many believe.
The reason you may want an expunged misdemeanor will most likely be because it can drastically improve your chances of obtaining employment.
When you get your misdemeanor expunged under Penal Code 1203.4, the law clearly states that you are released of all “penalties and liabilities” associated with that conviction. One of the main “penalties and liabilities” a conviction on your record causes is that you look less attractive to a potential employer.
When you get an expunged misdemeanor, however, there is a separate law under the Labor Code that will protect you from discrimination by an employer due a misdemeanor on your record that has been expunged.
California Labor Code 432.7 prevents an employer from using an expunged conviction against you. Once your misdemeanor is expunged, you don’t even have to disclose it if asked about it.
There are only 3 limited situations in which you must disclose an expunged misdemeanor:
- You are applying for licensure with any state agency (nursing, contracting, accounting, etc.);
- You are contracting with the CA State Lottery Commission; or
- You are applying for public office.
In all other situations, an expunged misdemeanor will not hold you back – due to the protections provided you under PC 1203.4 and Labor Code 432.7.
How To Get an Expunged Misdemeanor
Some people try to get a misdemeanor expunged on their own, but this can lead to frustration and delay if you don’t know what you are doing.
As expungement lawyers, we draft, file, and argue your motion for you in order to ensure your desired outcome of an expunged misdemeanor is achieved.
So you are aware, these are the general steps required to get your misdemeanor expunged:
- Properly draft your motion;
- Properly serve your motion on the opposing party and file your motion at the correct courthouse; and
- Argue your motion before a judge and against the prosecuting attorney (in some cases).
The typical time to get an expungement motion granted takes between 30-90 days, but this process can be delayed if your motion is sent back or denied because it wasn’t properly drafted, filed, served, or argued.
If you’d like help with your expungement, you can request a free consultation with me by clicking the button at the end of this article.
Expunged Misdemeanor Eligibility
No Sex with Minors Offenses
Not every misdemeanor is capable of being expunged. There are some misdemeanor convictions that are outright prohibited from expungement eligibility. There is a long list, but so you are aware, the types of misdemeanors that cannot be expunged are usually the types involving sexual conduct with minors.
No Expungement with Pending Probation or Pending Charges
In order to be eligible for an expungement, you cannot be:
- currently on probation,
- currently charged with any offense, or
- currently serving a sentence for any offense.
When you are on probation, and this is the only thing preventing you from getting your misdemeanor expunged, sometimes you may be eligible for an early termination of probation under Penal Code 1203.3.
Under Penal Code 1203.3, the judge has the power to modify or terminate your probation at any time in the interests of justice. However, judges are normally not in the habit of granting motions for early termination of probation unless you have:
- completed at least half of your probationary period;
- have met all other requirements of probation besides the time period (you paid all fines, finished any court-ordered classes, etc.); and
- have one or more compelling reasons to terminate probation early.
Discretionary Expungement When Probation was Violated
Even if you are no longer on probation, you may run into a hiccup with your expungement if you violated your probation (at the time you were serving it). Common probation violations include:
- failure to pay fines on time;
- failure to complete classes on time;
- picking up new criminal charges while still on probation; and
- failure to appear in court for a status hearing.
When you violate your probation, this means the judge has discretion to deny your request for expungement. Otherwise (in the case where you did not violate probation), assuming all other requirements have been met, the judge must grant your motion and has no discretion to deny it.
Hire a Lawyer to Help You Get an Expunged Misdemeanor
As discussed above, if you do not know what you are doing, this can cause delay or denial of your expungement motion.
Often, our clients are waiting on jobs and need to get an expunged misdemeanor as quickly as possible to achieve their employment dreams.
As expungement lawyers, we handle every detail for you to ensure your motion is handled with care but also expedited quickly to avoid delay.
If you’d like to get started or have any further questions, you can get a free consultation with me (Attorney Paul Denni) if you would like a bit more detail on how we can serve you. Just click here: