All misdemeanors and certain felonies are expungeable. There are, however, certain felonies that are not expungeable and will always remain felonies. In a misdemeanor case, at the conclusion of the probationary period, or under certain circumstances, when half of the probationary period has ended, the defendant may petition the court to withdraw his/her plea of guilty or no contest or, if there was a conviction, to withdraw the conviction and allow the defendant to enter a plea of not guilty and ask that the case be dismissed. This is known as an expungement.
The penal code indicates that if a criminal misdemeanor conviction has been expunged that the defendant never suffer any of the penalties and disabilities that that conviction has imposed on him/her. In the future, if asked, the defendant can honestly state that he stands unconvicted. As stated above, there are certain felonies that are reducible to misdemeanors and therefore can be expunged. This can be done at completion of the probationary period or at half time if all of the conditions have been fulfilled. These types of felonies, sometimes known as “wobblers,” are crimes such as grand theft, receiving stolen property, forgery, various types of fraud, and so forth. It is always advisable to request an expungement at the earliest possible time so that probation will end, and if there are any problems in the future, there will be no probation violation.
Our office sends out reminders at half time that reductions to misdemeanors and expungements can be requested at half time. This office usually prepares declarations as to sound logical reasons for early termination and conducts such hearings at the earliest time possible.