WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO “EXPUNGE” MY RECORD?
If you have successfully gotten a 1203.4 dismissal (“expungement”), it does NOT mean that the conviction is wiped away, sealed, purged or destroyed! The arrest is still there, charges are still there, but technically the conviction is “set aside and dismissed”.
Okay, so what does that mean?
- On your official criminal history kept in Sacramento, the case number will have the words “set aside and dismissed” next to it instead of “convicted”. That might help you for things like getting state licenses (like nursing licenses, etc). On background checks done by private employers, they might see that the conviction, was dismissed also. There is no guarantee, though, that they won’t still see the conviction, because they just check public records.
- If potential employer asks you if you have ever been convicted, you can honestly answer no! Legally, the conviction is gone. If you know they are going to do a background check, though, you might want to say that you had a case dismissed (just in case they don’t see the expungement when they look through the public records).
IMPORTANT! There are a few places you still have to say yes, you have been convicted, even if it’s all been expunged. Those places are: 1) the INS; 2) any state or local licensing agency (like when you’re applying for a guard card or nursing license); 3) contracts with the state lottery; and 4) in an application for public office.
- If you’re applying for a job in a different state, you better be on the safe side and tell
potential employers that you had a case but it was dismissed, just in case they have different rules.
What about the police and government agencies?
- Expunged convictions can still be used as priors and strikes.
- Expunged convictions can still effect your driving privileges.
- Expunged convictions can still restrict your ability to possess a firearm.
- Expungement does not affect sex offender registration requirements.
- Expungement may help you get a state license, but it’s NO GUARANTEE! You should check with the licensing agency to see if you can get a license with your criminal background, even if the convictions are expunged.