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California Misdemeanor Expungement Law Overview

Misdemeanor Criminal Cases in California can be Expunged

A misdemeanor in California law is a criminal offense that can be punished by up to one (1) year in jail, a fine of $1,000 or both. Examples of misdemeanors are such things as DUI without injury (23152 Vehicle Code), theft (484 Penal Code), battery (242 Penal Code), certain Domestic Violence cases (273.5 or 243 e Penal Code), drunk in public (647 f Penal Code), or disturbing the peace (415 Penal Code). Nearly all misdemeanors are eligible for expungement.

All legal work is done by an Attorney with more than 20 years of criminal law practice, and extensive courtroom and trial experience. Please give us a call to discuss your case and the specific facts of your matter; consultation is free. 800 495-2819.

We have successfully expunged hundreds of misdemeanor records all over California. The procedure will take from 8 to 16 weeks (and sometimes longer) depending upon the Court, the complexity of the case, and how old the conviction is.

Contrary to popular belief, misdemeanors in California are not automatically expunged with the passage of time, but require the filing and granting of an Expungement Petition by the Court. Some confusion comes under California Civil Code § 1786.18 that restricts the reporting of certain adverse information. However, this statute does not "sunset" a conviction. You must take affirmative action to expunge the case or it will appear for decades. Once relief has been granted, you can honestly answer "no" to a question regarding criminal convictions in many circumstances. See our FAQ page.

If your misdemeanor case involved a grant of Probation, even informal probation, all fines, fees and community service or classes required by the court must be completed. We can also petition the Court to release you from probation early in some cases.

You may apply for expungement the day after your probation ends. Many people think there is a "waiting period" for expungement. This only applies to convictions with NO probation; (often called a "terminal disposition" by criminal lawyers) then you must wait one year from the conviction to expunge the case. Currently, almost all misdemeanor convictions have a term of informal ("court" or "summary") probation after conviction- usually 24 to 36 months.

You will receive a copy of the Court Order of Expungement when your case is complete.


Free Expungement Consultation- ALL California Courts:

Call us at: 800 495 2819

2276 Torrance Boulevard, Torrance CA 90501 Map Street View

1650 Palma Drive, Suite 102, Ventura, CA 93003 Map Street View


California Penal Code § 16

Crimes and public offenses include:
1. Felonies;
2. Misdemeanors; and
3. Infractions.

California Penal Code §19

Except in cases where a different punishment is prescribed by
any law of this state, every offense declared to be a misdemeanor is
punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six
months, or by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by
both.

California Penal Code §17

(a) A felony is a crime that is punishable with death, by
imprisonment in the state prison, or notwithstanding any other
provision of law, by imprisonment in a county jail under the
provisions of subdivision (h) of Section 1170. Every other crime or
public offense is a misdemeanor except those offenses that are
classified as infractions.
(b) When a crime is punishable, in the discretion of the court,
either by imprisonment in the state prison or imprisonment in a
county jail under the provisions of subdivision (h) of Section 1170,
or by fine or imprisonment in the county jail, it is a misdemeanor
for all purposes under the following circumstances...

California Civil Code § 1786.18

(a)Except as authorized under subdivision (b), an investigative consumer reporting agency may not make or furnish any investigative consumer report containing any of the following items of information:

(1)Bankruptcies that, from the date of adjudication, antedate the report by more than 10 years.

(2)Suits that, from the date of filing, and satisfied judgments that, from the date of entry, antedate the report by more than seven years.

(3)Unsatisfied judgments that, from the date of entry, antedate the report by more than seven years.

(4)Unlawful detainer actions where the defendant was the prevailing party or where the action is resolved by settlement agreement.

(5)Paid tax liens that, from the date of payment, antedate the report by more than seven years.

(6)Accounts placed for collection or charged to profit and loss that antedate the report by more than seven years.

(7)Records of arrest, indictment, information, misdemeanor complaint, or conviction of a crime that, from the date of disposition, release, or parole, antedate the report by more than seven years. These items of information shall no longer be reported if at any time it is learned that, in the case of a conviction, a full pardon has been granted or, in the case of an arrest, indictment, information, or misdemeanor complaint, a conviction did not result; except that records of arrest, indictment, information, or misdemeanor complaints may be reported pending pronouncement of judgment on the particular subject matter of those records.

(8)Any other adverse information that antedates the report by more than seven years.

(b)The provisions of subdivision (a) are not applicable in either of the following circumstances:

(1)If the investigative consumer report is to be used in the underwriting of life insurance involving, or that may reasonably be expected to involve, an amount of two hundred fifty thousand dollars ($250,000) or more.

(2)If the investigative consumer report is to be used by an employer who is explicitly required by a governmental regulatory agency to check for records that are prohibited by subdivision (a) when the employer is reviewing a consumer's qualification for employment.

(c)Except as otherwise provided in Section 1786.28, an investigative consumer reporting agency shall not furnish an investigative consumer report that includes information that is a matter of public record and that relates to an arrest, indictment, conviction, civil judicial action, tax lien, or outstanding judgment, unless the agency has verified the accuracy of the information during the 30-day period ending on the date on which the report is furnished.

(d)An investigative consumer reporting agency shall not prepare or furnish an investigative consumer report on a consumer that contains information that is adverse to the interest of the consumer and that is obtained through a personal interview with a neighbor, friend, or associate of the consumer or with another person with whom the consumer is acquainted or who has knowledge of the item of information, unless either (1) the investigative consumer reporting agency has followed reasonable procedures to obtain confirmation of the information, from an additional source that has independent and direct knowledge of the information, or (2) the person interviewed is the best possible source of the information.

Record-Clear

We are a small firm that emphasizes personal attention, not a high volume of cases. Our fees are reasonable and competitive; you usually do not need to appear in court. Call or contact us through our site for a FREE Attorney consultation. We ONLY practice California Expungement Law.

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