Dismissals in California

When people are convicted of crimes, they face a series of negative consequences and the stigma of a criminal record. Because a criminal record can seriously affect a person’s employment opportunities, it’s crucial that all convicted individuals do what they can to “clean up” their criminal records.

In California, convicted criminals can seek what is called a dismissal, also known as an expungement. If you were convicted of a crime in Orange County or anywhere else in California, you may be able to petition the court for a dismissal. In order to be eligible for a dismissal, the following must be true:

  • You were convicted of an infraction, misdemeanor or felony.
  • The judge did not sentence you to state prison.
  • The judge did not place you under the control of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

“But, what if I was convicted of a felony offense?” As long as you were not sentenced to state prison, it shouldn’t be an issue. If you were convicted of a felony but sentenced to county jail, probation, or a fine, or a combination of the three, you are eligible for a dismissal or expungement as long as you were never housed in a state prison facility.

“How does the process work?” Suppose your attorney petitions the court for a dismissal. If the court accepts your petition, it may withdraw your guilty verdict or guilty or no contest plea, and enter a new plea of not guilty. From there, the court would “set aside” your conviction and dismiss it. Your criminal record would now say that the charge was dismissed as opposed to your record saying “conviction.”

When am I eligible to dismiss a misdemeanor conviction?

  • You went on probation for the conviction.
  • You obtained early release or completed your probation.
  • You paid all fines and restitution as ordered under your probation.
  • You are not currently on probation for another offense.
  • You are not currently facing charges for another offense.

Note: The above is an incomplete list. To learn more about the eligibility requirements, contact our office directly.

When am I eligible to dismiss a felony conviction?

  • The Probation Department placed you on mandatory supervision for part of your sentence and it’s been more than a year since you completed the sentence.
  • You did not receive mandatory supervision and it’s been at least two years since you completed your sentence.
  • You are not currently on probation, charged with another offense, or serving a sentence for another crime.

Please be aware that the California Courts grant dismissals on a case-by-case bases. Just because a defendant is “eligible,” it does not mean a dismissal will be granted. Dismissals are solely at the court’s discretion. However, if you have an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner, you have a greater chance of achieving your goals in court.

Interested in getting your criminal case dismissed? Learn about the benefits by calling the Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry, Inc. and scheduling a free consultation!

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