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Once a person has successfully completed probation, the law allows a person to clear their criminal record. The law provides that a person who has successfully completed probation shall have the accusations against him or her dismissed and shall be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense, except as specified by law.

This means that if the case is dismissed a person can, subject to the limitations of the law, assert that they have not been convicted of that offense. There are some exceptions, for example: This does not relieve him or her of the obligation to disclose the conviction in response to any direct question contained in any questionnaire or application for public office, for licensure by any state or local agency, or for contracting with the California State Lottery. However, the benefits of obtaining this relief far outweigh the exceptions.

The law also permits a person who has been arrested and no accusatory pleading has been filed, to petition the law enforcement agency to destroy its records of the arrest upon a finding of factual innocence. If the agency denies the request, the person may seek relief in court.

A juvenile record can be sealed through the juvenile court. Once this has been done, the offense shall be deemed never to have occurred.

In the case of certain felony convictions, it is possible to have these reduced to a misdemeanor and then expunged. Other types of record-cleansing include obtaining a certificate of rehabilitation and pardon. Consultation with a criminal defense attorney can help indicate the best course of action to take.

If you or someone you care about is interested in cleaning up a criminal history, please contact a criminal defense attorney at once. We are here to help you. If you need a copy of your criminal history, please contact the California Department of Justice, ATTN: Record Review Unit, P.O. Box 903417, Sacramento, CA 94202-4107, (916) 227-3817.

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Fay Arfa is committed to answering your questions about Trials, Appeals, Habeas Corpus, State Crimes, Federal Crimes, and Sex Crimes law issues in California.

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