Opinions in blog posts are the sole opinions of the author and do not reflect the views or opinions of 1.800.NoCuffs and The Kavinoky Law Firm.


Every arrest and conviction is recorded in an individual’s criminal record. At one time, only police and governmental agencies could access criminal records, but that has changed. Technology has blurred the gap between what is public and what is private. Similarly, background checks are becoming more and more standard, and with growing on-line public databases, accessing someone else’s criminal record couldn’t be easier.

Because of this, post-conviction relief in the form of expungement is both important and necessary. Expungement works like cleaning up a credit report. A successful expungement means that the conviction is removed from the record. The knowledgeable expungement lawyers of The Kavinoky Law Firm will evaluate any California criminal conviction to determine whether post-conviction relief may be an option.

Essentially, the judge dismisses the case after the fact. This applies even in cases where a plea of guilty was entered. In these cases, the plea is withdrawn and the case is dismissed. On your criminal record, expunged offenses are listed as “dismissed.”

While expungement offers the most relief, it is not an eraser, and relief from disclosure is limited. Also, expungement is not available in all cases. While it is possible to expunge some felonies, expungement is generally limited to misdemeanor offenses where the probationary period has ended. However, an experienced criminal defense attorney can assist with getting probation terminated early.

Common situations where expungements are granted include driving under the influence, drug possession, reckless driving, and other misdemeanor offenses. Most employers are prohibited from asking about arrests that did not result in convictions and expunged offenses. However, there are limits on expungement relief, including several situations that require mandatory disclosure of expunged offenses.

Still, the benefits of expungement far outweigh the limitations. While expungement is most commonly considered for purposes of future employment, the psychological benefits should not be overlooked. Knowing that a prior criminal conviction is out there on the record can be unnerving. While hiring a good criminal defense attorney to help resolve matters initially is always encouraged, there’s no reason to suffer needlessly from a prior conviction. Help is available. In some cases where expungement isn’t an option, alternatives such as a Certificate of Rehabilitation or a pardon may be available.

For a preliminary evaluation on whether your offense can be expunged, please contact one of the skilled criminal defense attorneys at The Kavinoky Law Firm. We have offices throughout California and are extremely experienced in expungement and post-conviction relief.