What is a Criminal Record?
If you have ever been arrested, charged with a crime, or convicted of a crime, there is likely a “criminal record” on file with the California Department of Justice.
A Criminal Conviction Can Hold You Back
A criminal conviction can prevent you from obtaining employment, a professional license, or from holding public office.
Changing a Criminal Record
Typically modifying your criminal record requires filing a motion in the court where the conviction occurred. However, some modifications occur automatically…
If a defendant successfully completes Military Diversion or Mental Health Diversion, the Court dismisses the charges. The Court deems that the arrest never occurred and no record of arrest can be used to deny any employment, benefit, license, or certificate. (Penal Code 1001.80(i); Penal Code 1001.36(h))
Starting July 1, 2022, the DOJ began reviewing state criminal justice databases and identify person with conviction who qualify for automatic conviction record relief. A person qualifies for automatic DOJ relief if they meet five requirements:
- The person is not required to register pursuant to the Sex Offender Registration Act.
- The person does not have an active record for local, state, or federal supervision in the Supervised Release File.
- The person is not currently serving a sentence for an offense and there is no indication of pending criminal charges.
- There is no indication that the conviction resulted in a sentence of incarceration in the state prison.
- The conviction occurred on or after January 1, 1973, and meets either of the following criteria:
- The defendant was sentenced to probation and completed their term of probation without revocation.
- The defendant was convicted of an infraction or misdemeanor without probation, and completed their sentence and one calendar year has passed since the date of judgment.
Below are ways to modify your criminal record.
Expunge Your Conviction
The Court can “expunge” a conviction if:
- The defendant successfully completed probation, OR
- One year has passed since the defendant finished serving time.
Seal an Arrest Record
The defendant can request to have their arrest record sealed if they were arrested and never charged with a crime. A defendant who successfully completes a PC 1000 drug diversion program can also ask the court to seal their arrest. Once a record is sealed, it can only be accessed by criminal justice agencies or upon Court order.
Change a Guilty Plea or Verdict
- Request to withdraw a guilty plea within 6 months from entering the plea. (Penal Code section 1018)
- Appeal a guilty verdict by filing a notice of appeal within 30 days of the verdict or order. (Penal Code section 1466)
- Request a new trial before you are sentenced. (Penal Code section 1181)
End Probation Early
(Penal Code section 1203.3)
The court will terminate probation if the defendant demonstrates good conduct and reform AND that the interests of justice will be served by termination of probation.
Reduce a Felony to a Misdemeanor
(Penal Code Section 17(b))
A “wobbler” is an offense that can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. The defendant can ask the court to reduce a wobbler from a felony to a misdemeanor during the case, or after a conviction.
Restore Your Gun Rights
(Penal Code section 29805)
- Misdemeanor conviction – gun rights are automatically restored 10 years after the conviction.
- Felony conviction – gun rights will not be restored unless the governor grants a pardon to the defendant or the Court reduces the conviction to a misdemeanor.
RBX Law is licensed to seal and modify criminal records in California.