California State Resources
California allows citizens convicted of misdemeanors or felonies to file for expungement as long as the citizen 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
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
Petitioning for Factual Innocence: The Basics
National Center for Youth Law: How to Seal Your Juvenile Records
How to Get Your Record Expunged in California: Helium.com Article
How to Get a Felony Expunged in California: Helium.com 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 ClemencyOffice 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
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 Probation Department: Juvenile Record Seals (Welf. & Inst. Code Section 781)
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
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.
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.Advancement Project - CaliforniaThe 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 EXEMPTIONSRegulations/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
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 ProgramUsing 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.
Other Free Legal Resources:
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
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse: Employment Background Checks in California: New Focus on Accuracy
EDD Ex-Offender Fidelity Bonding Program
EDD Ex-Offender Work Opportunity Tax Credit
Commercial Self-Help Guides & Instructions: