CLEAN SLATE Q & A
The answers you need to get started
WHAT DO I NEED TO BEGIN THE PROCESS OF CLEANING MY RECORD?
In order to begin cleaning up your criminal record, you first need to know what is on your criminal record.
If you have more than 1 conviction, you need this information for EVERY conviction:
What is your case number — sometimes called “docket number”?
What was your date of conviction?
What is the code name and section number you were convicted of violating? ? For example, Penal Code section 484; Health and Safety Code section 11377; Vehicle Code section 14601(a).
Was there a verdict or did you enter a plea? If you entered a plea, was it “guilty” or “no contest” (also called “nolo contendere”)?
Depending on what you may want to ask the court to do, you may also need the following information:
Were you ordered to serve any time on probation (either formal or informal probation,)? If so, for how long?
Were you ordered to make any payments, such as restitution, as a part of your probation?
Did you comply with all of the terms and conditions of probation?
If you were sentenced to state prison, which one?
If you were sentenced to state prison, on what date were you released?
If you were released on parole, on what date did your parole end?
WHAT PAPERWORK DO I NEED?
You need a copy of every case you hasd. You may get the information from:
California State Dept. of Justice, Criminal Record Review Unit. They will have your criminal record information for the entire state of California. Make sure you follow the directions for requesting your criminal record carefully. There is a $25 fee, but you may qualify for a fee waiver. You must sign your request for a fee waiver under penalty of perjury, and you must provide proof of your income. It may take several weeks for your record to arrive in the mail.
The court papers you received at the time you were convicted.
The superior court where you were convicted. Keep in mind that they will only have information for convictions from that county and not other counties.
Your lawyer, parole officer, or probation officer.
WHAT IS A DISMISSAL?
(SOMETIMES CALLED EXPUNGEMENT BUT ACTUALLY A DISMISSAL)
If you were convicted of an infraction, a misdemeanor, or a felony and were NOT sentenced to state prison or put under the authority of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, you can petition for a dismissal (people often use the term “expungement” when talking about a “dismissal.”). You are eligible to request a dismissal if you were given county jail time (including jail time for a felony offense), probation, a fine, or a combination of those three types of punishment rather than being sentenced to state prison. If you make a formal request to the court (petition) for a dismissal, the court will make a decision on your request and may withdraw your guilty or no contest (nolo contendere) plea (or the guilty verdict if you went to trial), and enter a not guilty plea. Then the court will set aside and dismiss the conviction. From that point forward, you are no longer considered to be “convicted” of the offense. Your record will be changed to show a dismissal rather than a conviction.
AM I ELIGIBLE FOR A DISMISSAL?
In a basic sense, you are eligible for a dismissal if you were not sentenced to prison and you did not violate probation. However, even if you violated probation the court can decide that it's in the interest of justice for you have your conviction dismissed. This depends on your individual circumstances.
There are some charges that CANNOT be dismissed.
Those charges are:
Any misdemeanor within the provisions of Vehicle Code section 42002.1;
Any infraction within the provisions of Vehicle Code section 42001;
Any violation of Penal Code section 286(c), 288, 288.5, 288a(c), or 289(j);
A felony under Penal Code section 261.5(d).