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legal documentsCalifornia’s expungement law allows someone convicted of a crime to file a Petition for Dismissal with the court to re-open the case, set aside the plea, and dismiss the case. In order for an individual to qualify for expungement, the petitioner must have completed probation, paid all fines and restitution, and not currently be charged with a crime. If the requirements are satisfied for eligibility, a court may grant the petition if it finds that it would be in the interest of justice to do so.

A successful expungement will not erase the criminal record, but rather the finding of guilt will be modified to a dismissal. The petitioner can then honestly and legally answer to an inquiry about their criminal history, with some exceptions, that they have not been convicted of that crime. What is actually stated on the record of the case is that the case was dismissed after the conviction. If the petitioner is later convicted of the same crime again, then the expungement could be reversed.