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Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney
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What is a Dismissal?

Criminal records are a real pain. They make it difficult to find housing. They make it difficult to land a good job. And, they can lead to the cancellation, revocation, or denial of professional licenses. In other words, they can impact many aspects of your personal and professional life. A criminal record can force your family to live in a bad neighborhood, and it can force you to take a job for half your normal pay. There’s no candy-coating it: criminal records can ruin a person’s life.

If you were convicted of a crime and there was something you could do to soften the blow, to minimize the impact, would you do it? If your answer is, “Yes,” you’ll be interested in learning about dismissals under California law.


If you were convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony and you were NOT put under the control of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and you were not sentenced to state prison, you have the golden opportunity to petition the court for a dismissal.

You are eligible to apply for a dismissal if:

  • You were given county jail time (even if it was for a felony),
  • You were given probation,
  • You were fined, or
  • You got fines, jail, or probation, or any combination thereof instead of state prison.

Suppose you petition the court for a dismissal and it approves your request. In that case, the court would withdraw your guilty or no contest plea and it would enter a not guilty plea. From there, your criminal records would be updated to say “dismissed” instead of convicted. Meaning, you would no longer be considered “convicted” of the offense.

To be eligible for a dismissal of a misdemeanor conviction, you: 1) must have successfully completed your probation or had an early release, 2) paid all restitution if ordered as a term of your probation, 3) are not currently on probation or serving another sentence for a separate offense, and 4) you are not currently facing charges for any other offense.

If you never received probation the requirements are different. In that case, you must have been convicted of a misdemeanor and it must have been at least one year since the date of conviction. You must have fully complied with your sentence, you must not be on probation or serving a sentence for another offense, and you must have been a law-abiding citizen since the date of conviction.

Related: Cleaning Your Criminal Record

To learn more about getting your conviction dismissed, contact our Orange County criminal defense firm for a free consultation.