San Fernando Valley Expungement Attorney


In the state of California, there is no such thing as a “true expungement.” What I mean by that is in the classic sense, if you expunge a matter, it is completely erased from your record and no one can see it, including the police.

However, in California, if the court grants you expungement, someone searching for it will still find the arrest if they have the proper clearance to utilize the department of Justice’s database. There will be a notation near the charge that you were convicted of that says, “dismissed.” But the arrest will still show up as a mark on your record. Expungement of criminal records in covered under California Penal Code Section 1203.4.

General Information:

An expungement attorney in Encino, CA can help you get the criminal record expunged. The expungement will give you a clean slate and a fresh start. However, as already mentioned, the notion of your case being “dismissed” near the charge will still come up.

This has led to much confusion as it related to expungements in in California. In order to have an arrest wiped off of a person’s record completely, meaning even removed from the department of Justice’s database, a motion to seal and destroy the arrest record must be filed and argued.

There must be a showing of factual innocence by the defense. The burden of proof shifts and the defense carries the burden. Therefore, the legislature and powers that be no longer call the procedure an expungement, but a dismissal.

Your best option if you are serious about expunging your matter is to go to the local courthouse or get in touch with an expungement lawyer in the San Fernando Valley, CA.

Have the Clerk pull the minute order of your case and give you a copy. Bring the certified docket sheet (minute order) to your appointment with one of our attorneys and we will explain how the process applies to you step by step. Our expungement attorney has done this for so many clients over the years and can do it for you too.


The answer to whether all criminal cases can be expunged is no. If a person gets prison time as part of their sentence, then they will typically not be able to expunge their record.

Also, if a person violates their probation in a significant way, then many times the judges in San Fernando and Van Nuys Courts will deny the motion because the person seeking the expungement has not led a law abiding life and has not honored the terms and conditions of their probation.

If a person was convicted of a crime that is eligible to be expunged and has complied with all of the terms and conditions of probation, then their expungement will be granted by the court. However, they will still need to get in touch with an expungement lawyer to make that possible.


Many times, in the appropriate case, we can file a motion to reduce a case to a misdemeanor and then dismiss or expunge it at the same time. Not all cases can be reduced to misdemeanors.

The only cases that can be reduced to misdemeanors, if they started as a felony, are called “wobblers”. This simply means that a particular crime can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor. If the crime is a wobbler, then we have the ability to reduce it to a misdemeanor, if you have complied with the terms and conditions of your probation.

If the crime is a straight felony, then we will not be able to reduce it to a misdemeanor, but if you complied with all other terms and conditions of probation, we can dismiss it. Make sure you discuss your case with a San Fernando Valley expungement attorney to understand everything that pertains to your case.


Not every case is eligible to be expunged or dismissed. In order to have the ability to file for an expungement/dismissal you must have successfully completed your probation.

In other words, done everything the judge told you to do and the full probationary term must be complete. Many people will file for a motion to expungement their case, only to be told by the court that their probation is not over.

However, it is possible to file a motion to terminate your probation early and if the court grants that motion, then you can have your case dismissed. You have the best chance of success with any motion in a criminal case if you have an experienced criminal defense attorney in your corner.

California Penal Code section 1203.4 PC gives people such as yourself the opportunity to clear up any mess that may have landed on your criminal record. They can do that by getting help from an expungement attorney.

When your criminal record is expunged you will be relieved of any penalties that may have resulted from the conviction. To get your record expunged you will need the assistance of a qualified and experienced criminal lawyers because the process can become long and complicated. Call the Hedding Law Firm for help.

Not every person with a criminal record is eligible for an expungement. Generally, if you were convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony and have successfully completed probation, and are not currently facing a crime, on probation for another crime, or serving a sentence, you would be eligible. Make sure you discuss all these issues with an attorney.

Most sex crimes are not eligible to be expunged and crimes that are classified as serious or violent felonies will not be eligible to be expunged. Most times, a simple phone call will give you the answers as to whether your case is eligible to be expunged or not.

If there is any confusion, then we will go to the courthouse and pull the minute order related to your case to figure out your eligibility.

What Is The Process To Have A Record Expunged In California?

While you can apply for an expungement yourself, it’s advisable that you get an attorney. We can do the necessary paperwork properly with all the information that we submitted to the court. Sometimes, we just submit the form that is necessary to get an expungement or dismissal granted. Other times, we will submit the form and then we will submit a declaration under penalty of perjury with pertinent information that we believe will give you the best chance of getting the expungement granted.

Usually, the best paperwork to bring to your attorney when preparing to apply for dismissal is what’s called a minute order of the case. It is your case, all laid out from the beginning to the end, and it will show exactly what happened in the case. The attorney will be able to see what you were convicted of, what you were ordered to complete, and whether you completed everything successfully. It will contain all the pertinent information to be able to set up the expungement form and file it the appropriate way.

Depending on what you were convicted of, you may be able to get the case reduced down to a misdemeanor, even if you can’t get it dismissed. If you’re a juvenile, you can get it sealed and destroyed and if it’s only an arrest and if they never filed any case, then you could also be eligible to get that record sealed and the destroyed, under the appropriate circumstances.

What Shows Up In My Criminal Record After Expungement?

After a dismissal, your record will show that you were arrested for certain crimes, you were charged with certain crimes, and ultimately your case was dismissed. Usually, it shows it was dismissed pursuant to Penal Code Section 1203.4. Anyone who understands what that penal code is will realize that you were convicted but you ultimately were able to get the matter dismissed/expunged because you filed a motion and successfully completed your probation.

There’s no requirement that you tell law enforcement about a criminal record, even if it’s not expunged. The effect of an expungement is taking back your guilty or no contest plea, entering a not guilty plea, and dismissing the case.

The only times that you have to disclose it are if you’re contracting with a lottery, if you’re running for public office, or if you’re trying to get a state license. If you’re applying to work for a private company, then you don’t have to let them know that you had a conviction in the case. However, they may be able to find the conviction, so you may want to think twice before saying that you have no criminal record.

The bottom line is, if you’re going to expunge something, you’re going to get it dismissed. You want to make sure that it’s done right. I have seen people come to me after having done it wrong and getting the motion denied, and it makes it more difficult to move forward.

Sometimes, you want to set things up to get them expunged and you’re not able to do that effectively if you’re not a criminal defense attorney because you don’t understand all the intricacies surrounding the case. You want to do it once, do it right, and never do it again. If you want to have the best chance of successfully getting your case dismissed or expunged, use an attorney who knows what they’re doing.

What Does It Mean To Have A Record Expunged In California?

In California, there is no such thing as a true expungement. In fact, they don’t even call the relief pursuant to Penal Code Section 1203.4 an expungement anymore. It’s now called a dismissal because if you’re successful and you’re able to get your matter dealt with by way of Penal Code Section 1203.4, what someone would see if they looked at your criminal record is that you had the case and the case was ultimately dismissed. There is no longer any such thing as what we would typically think of an expungement, which is where they completely seal or erase your record.

Not all cases are eligible to be dismissed. All of these issues need to be discussed with your attorney. Let the attorney look at exactly what you were convicted of. Another little thing to look out for is if you were convicted of a felony, you’re going to want to try to reduce the felony to a misdemeanor before you expunge it, if that is something that is available to you based on the criminal charges that you pled guilty or no contest to.

Who Is Eligible For An Expungement In California?

Anyone who is convicted of a crime and has served all their probation or served at least a year of probation is eligible to apply for an expungement. If you’ve only served a year of probation and you have a three year probation period, you have to file a motion to terminate your probation early before you can try to dismiss the case. Another requirement is that the crime that you were convicted of is eligible to be dismissed.

Lastly, in order to try to dismiss your case, you have to be in a position where you have complied with all the terms and conditions of probation, although I have been successful at dismissing cases where people have violated. Lastly, you can’t have served a prison sentence. If you get sent to prison, you’re not eligible for a dismissal pursuant to Penal Code Section 1203.4

There’s no charge that is automatically expunged in California. If you want to get your matter dismissed when probation ends, call your attorney. As long as you did everything you were supposed to do and you didn’t violate your probation, you’re going to be in a good position to be successful.

It is sometimes difficult to get certain cases expunged/dismissed if the person has violated their probation in any significant way. If you have a case that’s eligible to be expunged and you did everything that you were supposed to, then it really becomes a matter of a right to get your matter expunged. If you do the paperwork right, you’ve completed your probation, and haven’t had any violations, then it’s expected that the expungement will be granted.

One of the things that the judges do when they decide whether to expunge a matter is run your criminal record. If you’re currently on probation for that case or any other case, they will deny the expungement. If you have an open case pending that you’re trying to fight, they’re going to deny the expungement.

You have to have no cases pending against you and have successfully completed your probation before you are even going to be eligible to attempt to expunge your matter.