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How expungements and dismissals work in California

On Behalf of | Feb 15, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

A criminal history has the potential to follow you throughout much of your adult life. Having an offense in your history might make it tough for you to pass a background check, land a job or find adequate housing, among other complications, but in some cases, you may be able to do something about this.

Per San Diego County, if you and the criminal offense causing you trouble meet certain criteria, you may be able to seek an expungement or dismissal that makes many aspects of your life easier.

How expungements and dismissals work

In some states, “expungement” means your record becomes sealed from public viewing. However, this is not the case in California. Here, it means that a court dismisses your case, and your record changes to show as much. In other words, the details of your offense remain on your record, meaning certain people have the ability to view them. However, your record reflects the fact that the courts dismissed the case against you.

Who may view your record after expungement

If you are successful in having your case dismissed, know that government and law enforcement agencies may still be able to view the details of your offense. However, many private employers and landlords become unable to view the details of your case, making it easier for you to find housing or employment.

Some offenses are not eligible for dismissal or expungement in California, including certain sex crimes and crimes against children. However, many misdemeanors and some felony offenses may meet the criteria necessary for this type of relief.