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The greatest crime of all is a wasted life

California State Resources 


California allows those convicted of misdemeanors or felonies to file for expungement as long as the person in question was not sentenced to time in State prison. Only those who were sentenced to time in county jail, probation, fine, or any combination of those three may be eligible to have their criminal records dismissed.

Criminal records in California include both arrests and convictions, even in instances of dismissal of a criminal case, those never going to prosecution, or if the charges were never filed. Criminal records consisting of a mere arrest may affect one's ability to get a job, a loan, or a special license.

California residents sentenced to probation have to complete the entire probation sentence before they could file to have their records expunged. Other prerequisites include paying the total of the fines imposed and not currently serving a separate sentence for another offense. Citizens who never were sentenced to probation must be convicted of a misdemeanor to be eligible. Also, one year has to have passed since conviction. Other prerequisites include full compliance with the court's sentence, which translates to good behavior, and not currently serving another sentence.

The California resident must avoid criminal charges for at least a year since conviction. Persons who wish to have their probation sentence shortened for good behavior may do so without effect on the chances of expungement of their criminal records. 

After one has decided to apply for expungement in California, it important to give enough information as to reasons why a motion for dismissal of criminal records is necessary. After the individual's reasons are set before the judge by the individual, it is then up to the court to decide if the motion for expungement is in the interest of justice.

California also has many other mechanisms to expunge the criminal records of minor offenders. The California Department of Corrections has a program, called a "Diversion" program, in which one could earn criminal record expungement without going to court by doing educational courses and community service.

Persons convicted of minor marijuana offenses will automatically have their arrests and convictions expunged from their records two years after conviction.

Expungement in California is generally faster due to the high volume of non-violent convictions in the State. Non-court related means of expunging the convictions and arrests of non-violent minor offenses is reasonable given that the stigma of arrest should not be the same for less severe crimes.

Juvenile offenders do not have their criminal records sealed upon their 18th birthday. Juvenile criminal records will remain on a person's record unless the adult affirmatively chooses to have his or her offenses sealed from the record. The courts that handle juvenile expungement in California are county juvenile courts.

After someone's criminal records are sealed or expunged in California, that person may apply for a job and legally deny the fact that they had been arrested. This helps in applying for a job. This also prevents someone from not being hired for a Government position or applying for a Government license.

California citizens with expunged records have lost their right to legally own a firearm until told otherwise by the court. Dismissed convictions may also be used to increase the severity of repeat offenses. Sex criminals, regardless of expungement, are still required to register as sex offenders under the Federal Megan's Law.

For information concerning a Certificate of Rehabilitation, click here.


     Get Your California Rap Sheet

Request Your Own Criminal Record from the Department of Justice

Request for Live Scan Service: Form No. BCIA 8016RR

Be sure to check the box for "Record Review, " fill out all your personal information and take the completed form to any Live Scan site for fingerprinting services.  To find the Live Scan site nearest to you, click here.

     Free Expungement Self-Help and Do-It-Yourself Guides

California State Courts: Cleaning Your Record

Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles: Expungement Clinic Self-Help Manual

How to Expunge Your California Criminal Record: eHow Article

National Center for Youth Law: How to Seal Your Juvenile Records

How to Get a Felony Expunged in California: Article

California Expungement Law: eHow Article

Felony Expungement Laws in California: eHow Article

How to Clear Your Criminal Record in California for Firearms Rights: eHow Article

California Law of Reducing a Felony to a Misdemeanor: eHow Article

Do It Yourself Felony Expungement in California: eHow Article

How to Expunge a Criminal Conviction in California: AVVO Article

California Criminal Record Expungement: Ezine Article

     Free Pardon Self-Help & Do-It-Yourself Guides:

How to Apply for a Pardon: Office of the Governor

What is Needed for a Pardon in California? eHow Article

    Free Statewide Forms & Instructions

Petition for Dismissal

Petition to Seal and Destroy Adult Arrest Records (PC 851.8)

Petition to Seal and Destroy Juvenile Arrest Records (W&IC 781.5)

Information Sheet on Waiver of Superior Court Fees and Costs

     Free Pardon Forms & Instructions:

Office of the Governor: Application for Executive Clemency

Office of the Governor: Notice of Intention to Apply for Executive Clemency Pursuant to Penal Code Section 4804

     Free County Resources, Forms & Instructions:

Alameda County Public Law Library

Alameda County Public Law Library: Resources for Cleaning-Up Your Criminal Record

Alameda County: Clean Slate Clinic

Butte County Superior Court: Instructions to the Public, Petition and Order for Expungement (PC 1203.4 & 1203.4a)

Butte County Superior Court: Fee Waiver

Butte County Public Law Library

Colusa County Superior Court: Petition to Withdraw Plea and Entry of a Plea of Not Guilty (PC 17, 1203.4 & 1203.4a)

Contra Costa Public Law Library

Contra Costa County Superior Court: Fee Waiver Packets

Los Angeles County Neighborhood Legal Services: Clearing Your Adult Criminal Record in California, a Step-by-Step Guide

Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services: Procedures for Expungement Referrals for GROW Participants

Marin County Public Defender: Expungement of Criminal Records

Merced County Public Defender: Expungements and Reductions

Napa County Public Defender: Criminal Record Dismissal & Expungement

Orange County Superior Court: Petition and Order to Seal and Destroy Arrest Records (PC 851.8)

Riverside County: How to Expunge Your Criminal Record

Riverside County RECORCE Ordinance 914

Riverside County charges inmates $142.42 for every day spent in jail.  If you incur these incarceration fees, they may need to be paid before you are able to expunge a criminal conviction in Riverside County.

Sacramento County Public Law Library: Expunging Criminal Records

San Bernardino County Superior Court: Filing a Petition for Dismissal of Charges after Conviction (PC 1203.4)

San Bernardino County Law Library: Expunging Your Criminal Record

San Diego County Public Defender: Expungement (PC 1203.4)

San Diego County Superior Court: Felony Petition for Dismissal Packet

San Diego County Superior Court: Misdemeanor Petition for Dismissal Packet

San Diego County Superior Court: Petition for Dismissal - Penal Code §§ 1203.4 & 1203.4a

San Diego County Superior Court: Certificate of Rehabilitation & Pardon Instruction Packet

San Luis Obispo County Superior Court: Petition for Dismissal - Penal Code §1203.4a

Santa Barbara County: Petition for Certificate of Rehabilitation and Pardon

Santa Barbara County: Notice of Filing of Petition for Certificate of Rehabilitation and Pardon

Santa Clara County: Clearing Your Records (Expungement)

Santa Clara County Law Library: Expunging Adult Criminal Records in Santa Clara County

Santa Clara County: San Jose State University Justice Studies Record Clearance Project

Santa Clara County Probation Department: Juvenile Record Sealing Procedure

Santa Clara County Probation Department: Juvenile Record Sealing Application

Solano County Public Defender: Expunging Criminal Records: Step-by- Step

Sonoma County: Santa Rosa Junior College's Resources for Formerly Incarcerated

Ventura County Superior Court: Expungement Financial Data Sheet re: Ability to Pay Costs of Services (Form VN 188)

Note: At the time you file the Petition and Order for Expungement in the Ventura County Superior Court, you will also be asked to submit this form. A judge will review the form to determine whether you have the ability to pay the $60 to reimburse the court for the cost of services rendered. If you file more than one expungement request at the same time, an additional $25 per case could also be imposed to reimburse the court for the additional cost of services rendered. The court will automatically impose reimbursement of the cost of services rendered if this form is not submitted for review.

Ventura County: Petition to Seal Juvenile Records (Form VN 077)

Ventura County: Sealing Your Juvenile Record Information Sheet

Yolo County Public Defender: Expungement / Record Mitigation

Yuba County Superior Court: Petiton for Dismissal Packet

Yurok Tribal Court: Clean Slate Program

News Articles:

Click Here for California news about expungements, juvenile record sealing, pardons, executive clemency, and criminal history background checks.

California Legal Aid, Reentry and Recovery Services:

Jails to Jobs is an organization that gives ex-offenders the tools they need to find employment. On this website you’ll find a step-by-step plan to follow as you carry out your job search. From researching potential employers and writing resumes to handling interviews and more—it’s all here, with advice tailored to the special needs of those recently released from jail and prison.

The Jericho Project was established in 1995 as a state licensed, structured, residential twelve-month program for recovery from substance abuse and criminal behavior. The primary objective is recovery through development of program members' minds, bodies and spirits.

A New Way of Life Reentry Project provides housing and support services to formerly incarcerated women in South Central Los Angeles, facilitating a successful transition back to community life.  It is a non-profit organization with a core mission to help women and girls break the cycle of entrapment in the criminal justice system and lead healthy and satisfying lives.

Arriba Juntos is a non-profit employment and training organization that was founded in 1965 by Leandro Soto, Herman Gallegos and James McAllister.  They are dedicated to promoting economic self-sufficiency for San Franciscans and their families through occupational training and employment opportunities.

Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County is a private, non-profit law firm advocating for low-income residents by providing effective legal representation and a variety of legal services and community education.

Starting Over Strong's mission is to empower formerly incarcerated people to acquire knowledge and services, and participate in their community by obtaining meaningful employment.

The Prison Law Office provides free legal services to California state prisoners, and occasionally to California state parolees. Our assistance is generally limited to cases regarding conditions of confinement. Further, the office does not typically assist or represent prisoners in lawsuits in which money damages are the primary objective. Instead, the office focuses on cases in which a change in conditions is sought. The office attempts to resolve such cases informally, if possible (by advocating to prison officials), or through formal litigation.

Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Inc.  is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization that offers free legal services in civil matters to low-income persons residing in its service area within Kern County, California.

The Foundation for Continuing Justice

is a privately funded, non-profit law firm dedicated to providing those with a criminal record the opportunity to reenter and reintegrate into society as productive individuals.

Families to Amend California's Three Strikes (FACTS)

Stanford Three Strikes Project
The Stanford Three Strikes Project is the only legal organization in the country devoted to representing individuals serving life sentences under California's Three Strikes law. The Project represents defendants charged under the Three Strikes law with minor, non-violent felonies at every stage of the criminal process: at trial, on appeal, and in state and federal post-conviction habeas corpus proceedings. The Project also works, on behalf of its clients in collaboration with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, to reform the harshest aspects of the Three Strikes law.

The Pasadena/Altadena Reintegration Council is a collaborative effort to develop a network of local service providers and public agencies able to meet the needs of formerly incarcerated individuals who are returning to our community.

Friends Outside in Los Angeles County provides services to families and children, and their incarcerated and formerly incarcerated family members. We address the unintentional consequences of incarceration through specialized services that address the immediate and long-term needs of our clients.

California Department of Social Services Family Child Care Self-Assessment Guide: WAIVERS, EXCEPTIONS AND EXEMPTIONS
Regulations/laws prohibit any adult or employees of facilities from having criminal records unless Community Care Licensing grants the person a criminal record exemption.  If a licensee has an adult living in the home or wants to hire an employee who has been convicted of a crime (shoplifting, burglary,
assault, etc.) an exemption is required.

The California Budget Project engages in independent fiscal and policy analysis and public education with the goal of improving public policies affecting the economic and social well-being of low- and middle-income Californians.

Western Center advances and enforces the rights of low-income Californians to the basic necessities of life by working statewide for systemic change.

The SAFE California Campaign is supported by law enforcement, murder victim family members and people who have been wrongfully convicted, and is sponsored by a broad coalition of justice organizations.

Monterey County KickStart Ex-Offender Re-Entry Employment Program
Using a motivation-based model, KickStart's award-winning* program works with participants to identify barriers to employment; create obtainable success markers; and teach them the best ways to find jobs, get interviews, and get hired.

The Pacific Juvenile Defender Center
is the regional affiliate of the National Juvenile Defender Center for California and Hawaii. PJDC provides support to juvenile trial lawyers, appellate counsel, law school clinical programs and nonprofit law centers to ensure quality representation for children throughout California and Hawaii.

Faith Logistics uses focused vocational training, proactive job placement assistance and faith to empower rehabilitated former inmates to re-enter their communities as strong contributors and positive role models.

The Jericho Training Center utilizes a "one-stop" model for providing supportive services, vocational and educational training, mentoring, case management and linkage services to enhance the possibility of successful outcomes for ex-offenders.

Other Free Legal Resources: website

San Francisco Public Defender's Clean Slate Program

San Francisco Public Defender's Clean Slate Program 2007-2008 Evaluation Findings

California Attorney General's Arrest and Disposition Instruction Manual

California Workers With Criminal Records: Know Your Employment Rights

EDD Ex-Offender Fidelity Bonding Program

EDD Ex-Offender Work Opportunity Tax Credit

Commercial Self-Help Guides & Instructions:

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