If you have misdemeanor(s) on your record that are limiting your ability to get a job, the Office of the Public Defender may be able to assist you in clearing your record. Penal Code Section 1203.4 permits you to withdraw your plea of guilty or Nolo Contendere (No Contest) and set aside the verdict of guilty.
Public Defender assistance is available for Social Services (CalWORKs and General Assistance) clients through an agreement with the Social Services Agency.
Conditions for Record Clearance
You are eligible for record clearance provided that:
- You were placed on court or formal probation, and:
- You fulfilled the conditions of probation for the entire probationary period
- The court determined it would be in the interest of justice to waive probation.
- You were convicted of a crime, but were not placed on probation or committed to state prison, and one year has passed since judgment.
- You are not presently charged with commission of any offense.
- You are not presently serving a sentence.
However, you are not eligible for record clearance if any of the following conditions exist:
- You are still on Court or formal probation or are in a Diversion program.
- You were convicted of a crime, but were not placed on probation or committed to the California Department of Corrections, and one year has not passed since judgment.
- You are presently charged with commission of any offense.
- You are serving a sentence.
- Your probation was revoked or was not successfully completed.
- There is an outstanding warrant for your arrest.
- You have a criminal or immigration (INS) charge pending.
- You have failed to appear at or failed to pay the Department of Motor Vehicles.
- You were committed to California Department of Corrections or the California Youth Authority.
Arrest Remains on Your Record
A record clearance does not release you from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the charges in your case. Information relating to your cases may be made available where the release is authorized by local, state, or federal law. You may still be required to disclose the conviction in response to certain direct questions. You may be prohibited from owning a firearm because of the conviction. In addition, record clearance will not keep the charge from being alleged against you as a prior conviction in any future proceedings.
Questions regarding information you may be required to reveal or situations where information relating to your cases may be made available should be addressed to an attorney at the Office of the Public Defender or another attorney licensed to practice law in California.
Felony Reduction / Record Clearance
Felony reduction/record clearance is available for certain types of felonies. Questions regarding felony reduction/record clearance should be addressed to Mamie Lopez at the Office of the Public Defender or Julie Rankin at the Probation Department.
Completion of Probation Term
Early termination of probation may be available in certain circumstances. The Probation Department may submit petitions to the Court for consideration of early termination of probation prior to the expiration of the term, for good reason as determined by the Probation Officer. Questions regarding early termination should be directed to your Probation Officer, however, if additional information is needed, the Office of the Public Defender may be able to assist.
Social Services clients should contact Mamie Lopez at (408) 299-7025 for additional information. If you are not a Social Services client and are interested in additional information, the Record Clearance Desk at the Probation Department at 435-2061 or 435-2073. If you are not financially eligible for Public Defender assistance, you can still pursue record clearance by obtaining an application from the Probation Department.