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California

Adult Criminal Record Clearance Overview

Adult criminal records for cases in which you were convicted are eligible for deletion, sealing, dismissal, or destruction in some situations. Except in some instances, you have to file a petition in court to start the process. 

  • With certain exceptions, if you successfully completed probation or were discharged early from probation, the case is dismissed. If you meet the criteria, the judge has to grant your petition. 
  • With certain exceptions, if you were convicted of an infraction or a misdemeanor for which no probation was ordered, the case can be dismissed one year later, so long as you meet certain conditions. If you meet the criteria, the judge has to grant your petition. 
  • With certain exceptions, if you were convicted of a felony, part of your jail time was suspended, and you were put on mandatory supervision, the case can be dismissed one year after you complete your sentence. It is up to the judge whether or not to grant your petition. 
  • With certain exceptions, if you were convicted of a felony and part of your jail time wassuspended, the case can be dismissed two years after you complete your sentence. It is up to the judge whether or not to grant your petition. 
  • With certain exceptions, if you are a current or former member of the U.S. military and you were convicted of a felony and sentenced to probation with treatment, the case can be dismissed. The court should start the dismissal process automatically. It is up to the judge whether or not to dismiss the record. 
  • If you were convicted of a minor marijuana offense, the record will be destroyed two years after the date you were convicted or released from custody, if any. If you meet the criteria, the records should be destroyed automatically. 
  • If you were convicted of a non-violent offense, including prostitution, because you were a victim ofhuman trafficking, the conviction can be vacated. It is up to the judge whether or not to grant your petition. 
  • If you were convicted of a drug offense that has been decriminalized, the record may be dismissed. It is up to the judge whether or not to grant your petition. 
  • If you were a victim ofidentity theft and someone used your name when committing a crime, the record can be sealed or deleted. It is up to the judge whether or not to grant your petition. 
  • Records relating to marijuana offenses decriminalized by the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act are dismissed, sealed, or redesignated by the court by July 1, 2020, unless the prosecution objects. 
  • If you were convicted of certain felony convictions that did not result in incarceration in state prison, the record shall be dismissed. 
  • If you were convicted of certain misdemeanor convictions, the record shall be dismissed. 
  • If you were convicted of a nonviolent offense committed while you were a victim of intimate partner violence or sexual violence, your record can be vacated. It is up to the judge whether or not to grant your petition. 
  • Records of a criminal conviction or sentence of a person who is no longer in criminal custody can be vacated if the conviction or sentence is legally invalid due to prejudicial error, if newly discovered evidence of actual innocence exists that requires vacation of the conviction or sentence as a matter of law or in the interests of justice, or if a conviction or sentence was sought, obtained, or imposed on the basis of race, ethnicity, or national origin. 
  • If you were convicted of loitering with intent to commit prostitution, which has been repealed, your record shall be sealed if certain criteria are met. 
  • If you committed a misdemeanor when you were under 18 years of age and you are eligible for or have previously received the relief provided by Section 1203.4 or 1203.4a, your record may be sealed.
  • If you committed a misdemeanor when you were under 21 years of age and that offense was committed prior to March 7, 1973, your record may be sealed.

Adult criminal records for cases in which you completed diversion or deferral programs are eligible to be sealed or dismissed in some situations. You have to file a petition in court to start the process. 

  • If you successfully completed a pre-filing diversion program, the record can be sealed two years after the program was completed. It is up to the judge whether or not to grant your petition. 
  • With certain exceptions, if you successfully completed a drug diversion or deferred judgment program, the record can be sealed immediately. It is up to the judge whether or not to grant your petition. 
  • With certain exceptions, if you successfully completed the terms of a deferred entry of judgment, the record can be dismissed. If you meet the criteria, the judge has to grant your petition. 
  • With certain exceptions, if your case was dismissed following successful completion of a pretrial diversion program, the record can be sealed. 
  • Records relating to a juvenile’s arrest and referral and participation in a diversion or supervision program in the probation departments custody, shall be sealed upon satisfactory completion of a program of diversion or supervision. 

Adult criminal records for arrests for which you were never convicted are eligible for sealing, and in some cases, destruction. You have to file a written request with the criminal justice agency that has the record or the court, and it is up to the agency or judge whether or not to grant your request. 

  • If you were arrested but were innocent, and either no charges were filed or the case was dismissed, the record can be sealed immediately and destroyed after three years. 
  • If you were arrested but not convicted of any offenses, the record can be sealed without a waiting period. 
  • If you were arrested for a nonviolent offense committed while you were a victim of intimate partner violence or sexual violence, your record can be expunged. It is up to the judge whether or not to grant your petition. 

Other criminal records, including conviction information, are likely not eligible for deletion, sealing, dismissal, cancelation, or destruction. 

Adult Criminal Record Clearance Policies

    Records relating to the conviction of any nonviolent offense committed while the person was a victim of intimate partner violence or sexual violence, can be vacated by the court. Cal Pen Code § 236.15(a).


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    Records relating to misdemeanor convictions shall be dismissed. Cal Pen Code § 1203.425(a)(1)(B)(iv)


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    Records relating to certain felony convictions that did not result in incarceration in the state prison, shall be dismissed. Cal Pen Code § 1203.425(a)(1)(B)(iv)


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    Records of a criminal conviction or sentence of a person who is no longer in criminal custody can be vacated if the conviction or sentence is legally invalid due to prejudicial error, if newly discovered evidence of actual innocence exists that requires vacation of the conviction or sentence as a matter of law or in the interests of justice, or if a conviction or sentence was sought, obtained, or imposed on the basis of race, ethnicity, or national origin. Cal Pen Code § 1473.7.


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    Records relating to a conviction for loitering with intent to commit prostitution pursuant to former Cal Pen Code § 653.22, which has been repealed, shall be sealed if the applicant satisfies certain criteria. Cal Pen Code § 653.29(a). The court shall seal the conviction as legally invalid. Cal Pen Code § 653.29(b).


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    Records related to certain drug offenses under sections 11357 and 11360(b) in the Health and Safety Code are destroyed two years after the date of conviction or release from custody. Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 11361.5(a).
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    Records relating to certain drug offenses that have been decriminalized in sections 11357, 11358, 11359, 11360, 11362.1, 11362.2, 11362.3, and 11362.4, are eligible for dismissal by the court. Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 11361.8.
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    Records relating to a case for which the petitioner successfully completed probation or was granted an early termination of probation, pursuant to section 1203.3, can be set aside and dismissed by the court. Cal. Pen. Code § 1203.4(a)(1). This statute will be repealed effective January 1, 2028.


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    Records relating to an offense committed by current and former military personnel sentenced to probation pursuant to section 1170.9 can be dismissed in accordance with section 1203.4. Cal. Pen. Code § 1170.9.
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    Records relating to marijuana offenses decriminalized by the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act are dismissed, sealed, or redesignated by the court by July 1, 2020, unless the prosecution objects. Cal. Health & Saf. Code § 11361.9.
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    Records relating to a misdemeanor conviction for which no probation was ordered, or records relating to an infraction can be set aside and dismissed by the court one year after the date of the judgement, provided the petitioner meets specified criteria. Cal. Pen. Code § 1203.4a(a).


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    Records relating to a felony conviction can be set aside and dismissed by the court one year after sentence completion if the person was sentenced pursuant to section 1170(h)(5)(B). Cal. Pen. Code § 1203.41(a). Some felonies can be reduced to misdemeanors. Cal. Pen. Code § 17(b).


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    Records relating to a felony conviction can be set aside and dismissed by the court two years after the completion of a sentence, if the person was sentenced pursuant to section 1170(h)(5)(A). Cal. Pen. Code § 1203.41(a).


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    A conviction for a nonviolent offense, including but not limited to prostitution pursuant to section 647(b), can be vacated by the court if the offense was the direct result of being a victim of human trafficking. Cal. Pen. Code § 236.14.
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    Records relating to a conviction for solicitation or prostitution pursuant to section 647(b) can be dismissed following completion of any term of probation. Upon a showing of clear and convincing evidence that the conviction was a result of the petitioner being a victim of human trafficking, the court can dismiss the record. Cal. Pen. Code § 1203.49.
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    Records relating to a case dismissed following successful completion of a pretrial diversion program, can be sealed by the court if certain criteria are met. Cal Pen Code § 1001.36.


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    Records of the arresting agency and related court records can be sealed after successful completion of a prefiling diversion program. Cal. Pen. Code § 851.87(a)(1).
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    Records relating to a case dismissed following successful completion of a drug diversion program or deferred entry of judgment pursuant to sections 1000, 1000.5, or 1000.8, can be sealed by the court. Cal. Pen. Code § 851.90(a)(1).
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    Records relating to a case dismissed after successful completion of the terms of a deferred entry of judgment can be dismissed by the court. Cal. Pen. Code §§ 1000.3, 1203.43.
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    Records relating to an offense containing the name of an identity theft victim as the perpetrator of the crime can be deleted or sealed after the court has issued a determination of factual innocence. Cal. Pen. Code § 530.6(b), (c).
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    Records relating to an arrest where no accusatory pleading is filed and the person arrested is factually innocent can be sealed by the law enforcement agency. After three years, the records of the arrest and notice of sealing are destroyed. Cal. Pen. Code § 851.8(a).
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    Records relating to an arrest that did not result in conviction and for which the petitioner is factually innocent can be sealed by the court. After three years, the records of the arrest and notice of the sealing are destroyed. Cal. Pen. Code § 851.8(c).
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    Records relating to arrest and proceedings where no conviction was obtained can be sealed by the court without a waiting period. Cal. Pen. Code §851.91.
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    Records relating to an arrest for which no charges are filed are deleted from the records of the arresting agency and the Department of Justice. The action is officially deemed a detention. Cal. Pen. Code § 851.6.
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    Juvenile Record Clearance Overview

    Below is a general overview of when juvenile records can be sealed or destroyed in California. Please note that the Clean Slate Clearinghouse does not provide legal advice. 

    Read the legal policies and statutes for detailed statutory information. 

    Juvenile Record Clearance Policies Overview 

    Most juvenile records can be sealed. 

     

     

    • Your juvenile record should be sealed after you successfully complete probation or supervision. This should be done automatically; you should not have to do anything to get the record sealed. 
    • If your record was not automatically sealed, it can be sealed after you turn 18 or five years have passed since the last action in your case. You have to submit a request to start the process, and it is up to the judge whether or not to grant your request. 
    • If you were never charged, there may be law enforcement records related to your interaction with the police that can be sealed after you turn 18 or five years have passed since you were released from police custody for that charge. You have to submit a request to the court to start the process, and it is up to the judge whether or not to grant your request. 

    Most sealed juvenile recordsare destroyed when you turn38. 

    If you have certain convictions or adjudications on your record, you may not be eligible to have you record sealed or destroyed. 

    Find a Lawyer 

    If you think you might be eligible to have your record sealed or destroyed, find a lawyer who may be able to help you. Some lawyers might help you for free, although you may still need to pay a fee to file the paperwork in court. 

    Court Forms and Resources 

    If you cannot find a lawyer to help you, you may be able to file a petition on your own using these court forms and resources. 

     

     

    Juvenile Record Clearance Policies

      A record relating to a matter sealed pursuant to section 781 is destroyed (1) five years after the record was ordered sealed if the person was alleged or adjudged to be a person described by section 601 or (2) when the person reaches 38 years of age if the person was alleged or adjudged to be a person described by section 602. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 781(d).
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      Records relating to a juvenile’s arrest and referral and participation in a diversion or supervision program in the probation department's custody, shall be sealed upon satisfactory completion of a program of diversion or supervision. Cal Wel & Inst Code § 786.5(a).


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      Records relating to a delinquency petition filed with juvenile court can be sealed any time after the person's 18th birthday or after five years or more have elapsed since the jurisdiction of the juvenile court regarding the person was terminated. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 781(a)(1)(A).
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      Records relating to a matter that is dismissed following satisfactory completion of an informal program of supervision shall be sealed immediately. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 786 (a).
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      Records relating to a matter that is dismissed following satisfactory completion of probation for any offense or probation under section 725 shall be sealed immediately. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 786(a).
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      Records relating to any case where an accusatory pleading was filed but not sustained can be sealed upon petition at any time after dismissal of the proceeding, so long as the court finds that the person is factually innocent of the charges. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 781.5(d).
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      If the person was committed to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Facilities for a 707(b) offense that was committed after the person had reached 14 years old, a record relating to that 707(b) offense may be sealed if the person has reached 21 years old and has completed his or her period of probation supervision after release. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §781(a)(1)(D)(i)(I).
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      If the person was not committed to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Facilities for a 707(b) offense that was committed after the person had reached 14 years old, a record relating to that 707(b) offense may be sealed if the person has reached 18 years old and has completed his or her period of probation supervision after release. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §781(a)(1)(D)(i)(II).
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      Records relating to a petition dismissed by the court, whether on the motion of the prosecution or on the court's own motion, or if the petition is not sustained by the court after an adjudication hearing, shall be immediately sealed by the court. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 786(e).
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      An adjudication for a nonviolent offense, including but not limited to prostitution pursuant to section 647(b), may be vacated by the court if the offense was the direct result of being a victim of human trafficking. Cal. Pen. Code § 236.14.
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      A record relating to a case in which no petition was filed can be sealed any time after the person's 18th birthday or if at least five years have elapsed since the person was cited to appear before a probation officer, was taken before a probation officer pursuant to section 626, or was taken before any law enforcement agency. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 781(a)(1)(A).
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      A record relating to any case where a minor was cited to appear before a probation officer; taken before a probation officer pursuant to section 626; or taken before any officer of a law enforcement agency, and no delinquency pleading was filed, can be sealed by the law enforcement agency and probation department that have jurisdiction over the offense upon request, concurrence of the district attorney, and determination that the minor is factually innocent. Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 781.5.
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      Find A Lawyer

      Legal service providers located in the state.

      Contact information for legal aid organizations, bar associations, and other organizations that engage in record clearance work is provided for informational purposes only. The NRRC does not endorse or recommend any organization or individual referenced on the site. If you are a legal service provider who offers record clearance services, please contact us.