Expunging a Criminal Record Under Section 1203.4 of the California Penal Code
Having the ability to get a criminal record sealed or expunged is a dream for many Californians who have long since served their time in prison or completed their probation sentence yet remain burdened by the existence of a criminal record. As any ex-convict knows, a criminal record is a major barrier to obtaining suitable employment, decent housing, education, and other factors key to living a normal and productive life after you have “paid your debt to society.”
California has long had opportunities for ex-offenders to seal or expunge their records in limited circumstances. Now, with the passage of SB 731, “California now has the most comprehensive record sealing system in the nation,” according to the Alliance for Safety and Justice. Learn more below about your options for record sealing and expungement in California. For help with expungement or criminal defense in San Bernardino County, contact the Law Offices of John D. Lueck, APC for a free case evaluation with a knowledgeable and experienced Rancho Cucamonga criminal defense and expungement attorney.
What Is PC 1203.4?
California Penal Code 1203.4 allows for the withdrawal and dismissal of a defendant’s guilty or no contest plea and the setting aside of a verdict of guilt by the court. Upon successful petition, the court will dismiss the accusations against the defendant. This can offer those with a criminal record the opportunity to start anew, opening doors that may have been closed due to their past convictions. To be eligible for expungement under PC 1203.4, you must first successfully complete your sentence of probation. Additional requirements apply if you served time in state prison as part of your sentencing. Certain crimes, such as certain sex crimes involving children, are not eligible for expungement.
With your record expunged, you do not have to disclose the conviction to a future employer.
PC 1203.4 vs. PC 1203.4A
Understanding the distinction between PC 1203.4 and PC 1203.4A is critical for anyone seeking to clear their record. While PC 1203.4 applies to those who have been given probation, PC 1203.4A applies to those who were not granted probation but have fulfilled the conditions of their sentence. Specifically, PC 1203.4A applies to convictions for infractions or misdemeanors where probation was not granted, if it has been a year or more since the conviction. Other requirements apply, such as paying any fines or otherwise fully performing any sentence, and living an “honest and upright life” since the conviction. It’s essential to identify which category you fall under, as it will guide the appropriate course of action for your expungement.
The Changes brought by SB 731
As of July 1, 2023, the passage of SB 731 has brought significant changes to California’s expungement laws. This new legislation has expanded the eligibility for expungement to individuals with certain felony convictions that were previously ineligible under PC 1203.4. This is a pivotal development for many individuals in Rancho Cucamonga and San Bernardino seeking a second chance at a clean slate.
With SB 731 now in effect, most felony convictions are automatically erased after four years, and arrest records for most felonies are automatically sealed if charges aren’t brought within three years. The new law also provides a procedure for withdrawal of a guilty or no contest plea and case dismissal for a broader range of felony convictions than previously allowed under PC 1203.4.
How a Skilled California Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
Naturally, the legal language surrounding expungement can feel dense and overwhelming. Here at the Law Offices of John D. Lueck, APC, we understand that. We’ve been helping individuals understand their rights, navigate the legal system, and successfully achieve the expungement and sealing of their criminal records for years.
With our expertise, we can guide you through the complexities of PC 1203.4, assist in determining your eligibility, and support you in filing the necessary paperwork. Our team is up-to-date on the changes brought by SB 731, ensuring that our clients can take full advantage of any new opportunities they may now be eligible for.
Remember, an old criminal record doesn’t have to dictate your future. If you’re living in Rancho Cucamonga, San Bernardino, or anywhere in California, you have the opportunity to turn over a new leaf. Allow us to help guide you through that process.
Take the first step towards your fresh start by contacting us today at the Law Offices of John D. Lueck, APC. Call 909 646-2736 (cell) or 909-484-1963 (office) for a free case evaluation.