If an you have been convicted or have pled guilty to an offense in a negotiated settlement, our office can seek dismissal of your conviction and have your case expunged if you have complied with the terms of probation. Even if you have not completed the entire period of probation, an attorney at Caifornia Criminal Defense Center may seek an expungement by requesting early termination of probation.

Are you eligible?

An adult who was granted and has successfully completed probation, either by fulfilling the conditions of probation or being successfully discharged before the end of his/her probationary period, may be eligible to clear his or her criminal record. It is not necessary that the TERM of Probation be completed to obtain this relief. Hence, your probation may be for 5 years, however, if you have successfully fulfilled all of the terms and conditions except the period of time and have had no intervening criminal cases, you may be eligible for having the guilty plea withdrawn and the conviction dismissed. You are not eligible for a dismissal if your conviction is for a violation of Vehicle Code section 42001(b) or Penal Code sections 286(c), 288, 288a(c), 288.5, 289(j) or any felony conviction of Penal Code section 261.5(d).

How does this help you?

It will result in the dismissal of the case;
It will permit you to answer “NO” on employment applications that inquire if you have any prior convictions. On the other hand, if you are applying for a state professional or vocational license, government employment or one in which there will likely be a background investigation, they will likely discover the conviction; therefore, you should disclose the conviction and that it has been expunged or dismissed (some prefer attaching a certified copy of the court order). Also, the conviction or underlying facts if the conviction is dismissed may be used to refuse or revoke a state license and/or permit, such as a professional license issued to a doctor, attorney, nurse, dentist, real estate sales broker/agent, security officer, teaching credential, bus drivers license, etc. However, at Samuel Spital & Associates we handle state administrative cases and will use a variety of factors, including the expungement, to reduce the weight given the conviction by the licensing agency.

If the conviction was for a felony, it must first be reduced to a misdemeanor. If the felony conviction does not include jail and/or a grant of probation, there probably was imposed a term in state prison; in those cases, the relief that is available is a Certificate of Rehabilitation and Pardon, or Direct Application to the Governor for a Pardon.


A Certificate of Rehabilitation is a court order, which declares that you have been convicted of a felony or qualified misdemeanor and are rehabilitated. If a petition for a Certificate of Rehabilitation is granted, it is forwarded to the Governor by the Superior Court and constitutes an application for a pardon.

A Certificate of Rehabilitation to individuals if:

You were sentenced to State Prison and were released on Parole (thereby being ineligible for expungement);
You have a felony conviction and desire a Governor’s Pardon
You have a misdemeanor conviction and are required to register pursuant to PC 290.

How does a Certificate of Rehabilitation help you?

Once granted it becomes an automatic application for a Governor’s pardon
State licensing agencies will take into account the Certificate when deciding to grant or deny a state license (Doctor, Dentist, Nurse, Real Estate Broker or Agent, Contractor, etc.)
It relieves certain offenders from registration requirements of PC 290.

Are you eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation?

If you have a felony conviction or a misdemeanor conviction that requires registration pursuant to Penal Code section 290 that has been expunged; have continuously lived in California for 3 to 5 years prior to applying for a Certificate of Rehabilitation and Pardon (Residency requirement is 3 years if released on parole, all other cases 5 year residency is required); and present a satisfactory period of rehabilitation which begins from the date you were released from custody, you qualify for this relief. A change of residence within California does not interrupt the period of rehabilitation.

The period of rehabilitation begins upon your discharge from custody due to your completion of the term to which you were sentenced OR upon your release on parole or probation, whichever is sooner. The period of rehabilitation shall be five years’ residence in California plus a period of time determined by the following rules:

(1) To the five years there is added four years for anyone convicted of violating PC Section 187, 209, 219, 4500 or 12310, or subdivision (a) of Section 1672 of the Military and Veterans Code, or of committing any other offense which carries a life sentence.

(2) To the five years there is added five more years for anyone convicted of committing any offense or attempted offense for which sex offender registration is required per PC 290, except for convictions for violations of subdivision (b), (c), or (d) of Section 311.2, or of Section 311.3, 311.10, or 314. For those convictions, two years shall be added to the five years imposed by this section.

(3) To the five years there is added two years for anyone convicted of committing any offense that is not listed in paragraph (1) or paragraph (2) and that does not carry a life sentence.

(4) The trial court hearing the application for the certificate of rehabilitation may, if you were ordered to serve consecutive sentences, order that your statutory period of rehabilitation be extended for an additional period of time, but when combined does not exceed the period prescribed by statute for the sum of the maximum penalties for all of the crimes.

(5) Any person who was discharged after completion of his or her term or was released on parole before May 13, 1943, is not subject to the periods of rehabilitation set forth in these rules.

Unless and until the period of rehabilitation, as set forth above, has passed, you are ineligible to file a petition for a certificate of rehabilitation with the court.

While these are highly desirable goals and we recommend you retain California Criminal Defense Center to file a petition to obtain this relief, the dismissal does not remove the arrest from your California “CII or Rap Sheet” nor from FBI criminal history records (PC 1203.4); moreover, it does not reinstate your previous right to possess firearms (although having the felony reduced to a misdemeanor may restore some rights under California law, federal law probably effects a lifetime prohibition for possession of a firearm; also, it does not seal or remove the court case file from public inspection – anyone who knows where to look will be able to find the court case file (however, probation reports are in confidential files and are not subject to public inspection 90 days after sentencing);and, a dismissal does not prevent the conviction from being used for impeachment purposes if you are later called as a witness, nor from being used as a “prior” to increase the punishment if you are subsequently charged in a criminal case; lastly, the conviction can still be used by INS for removal and exclusion purposes.