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Felony Expungement in California: How the Law Works

Felony Convictions can be Expunged; Many can Be Reduced to a Misdemeanor

We can expunge your California felony case by withdrawing your plea and having the conviction set aside and the case dismissed in most circumstances. It is a common misconception that felony cases cannot be expunged; this is incorrect- if a felony conviction resulted in successful probation (not an actual prison sentence) the case can probably be expunged. Certain sex offenses are specifically exempted from expungement.

All legal work is done by an Attorney team with more than 25 years of criminal law experience and more than 4000 successful California expungement cases.

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 felony records all over California. The procedure will take from 10 to 16 weeks (and sometimes longer) depending upon the Court, the complexity of the case, and how old the conviction is. Felony convictions are not automatically expunged with the passage of time but require the filing and granting of an Expungement Petition by the Court.

Many felony cases are "wobblers"; that is, they can be reduced to misdemeanors (even after many years) and then expunged in the same court proceeding. A wobbler must be a case that can be filed as either a misdemeanor or a felony initially (See Penal Code § 17 et seq, below). Most theft-type cases are wobblers; most drug trafficking cases are not. We do not charge any additional fees to reduce a felony at the time of expungement.

A California expungement (called "record clearing" in many counties) is a legal process under § 1203.4 of the California Penal Code that petitions the Court to revisit a conviction. If certain conditions are met- probation was successfully completed, and all fines, restitution, fees, community service and the like ordered by the court have been satisfied, and the petitioner is not now on probation for another offense nor has any new pending cases- the Court allows the petitioner to withdraw their plea or finding of guilt, enter a new "not guilty" plea, and orders the case dismissed and the conviction set aside.

A felony is the most serious classification of criminal offenses in California and carries with them the possibility of a fine of up to $10,000.00 as well as incarceration in the State Prison system. Some felonies require registration as narcotics or sex offenders. If you served time in State Prison your case cannot be expunged.

Once relief has been granted, you can honestly answer "no" to a question regarding criminal convictions in most circumstances. (See our FAQ page.)

(We no longer offer services for Federal Cases, Cases with a sentence to State Prison, or Pardons.)

Free Expungement Consultation- ALL California Courts:

Call us at: 800 495 2819

Felony Defined - Penal Code Section 17 et seq:

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:

(1) After a judgment imposing a punishment other than imprisonment in the state prison or imprisonment in a county jail under the provisions of subdivision (h) of Section 1170.

(2) When the court, upon committing the defendant to the Division of Juvenile Justice, designates the offense to be a misdemeanor.

(3) When the court grants probation to a defendant without imposition of sentence and at the time of granting probation, or on application of the defendant or probation officer thereafter, the court declares the offense to be a misdemeanor.

(4) When the prosecuting attorney files in a court having jurisdiction over misdemeanor offenses a complaint specifying that the offense is a misdemeanor unless the defendant at the time of his or her arraignment or plea objects to the offense being made a misdemeanor, in which event the complaint shall be amended to charge the felony and the case shall proceed on the felony complaint.

(5) When, at or before the preliminary examination or prior to filing an order pursuant to Section 872, the magistrate determines that the offense is a misdemeanor, in which event the case shall proceed as if the defendant had been arraigned on a misdemeanor complaint.


Most of our expungement services come with a money-back guarantee. Our fees are reasonable and competitive. Call 800 495 2819 or contact us through our site for a FREE Attorney / Law Firm consultation. This site is devoted ONLY to California Expungement Law and has handled more than 4000 California expungement cases over the past 25 years.