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Everyone wants a clean slate. San Diego criminal defense attorneys are frequently asked how a criminal conviction can be removed from a persons’ record.

If you qualify, you can expunge yourself, but everybody does not qualify. But it is always best to consult an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney to help you with the process. If you qualify for a fee waiver in San Diego county, you may qualify for a free expungement!

Expungement / Dismissal

Legally, there is no “expungement”. Under California Penal Code (PC) 1203.4, it is called a “dismissal”.

A dismissal under PC 1203.4 releases a person from all penalties and disabilities, resulting from a criminal charge conviction. For people trying to rebuild a life, this is extremely important.

If you want to get a professional license or join a professional organization, a dismissal may make or break your career. You are eligible for dismissal if you have –

1) completed probation successfully

2) not been presently charged with another criminal offense, are not on probation for a subsequent criminal offense, or serving a sentence for a criminal offense.

Successful completion of probation means that you –

  • completed all the terms of your probation,
  • attended all your required court appearances, and
  • you did not commit any new crimes while on probation.

You qualify for a free expungement if –

  • You were not sentenced to state prison.
  • You are not presently facing criminal charges.
  • You have successfully completed at least half your probation.
  • You financially qualify for a public defender
  • You have paid your court costs and fines in full
Author Photo

Kerry L. Armstrong

Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm, the Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, in June 2007. Prior to that, he was employed as the senior associate attorney for a large criminal defense firm in San Diego for nine years, eventually being placed in charge of that firm’s branch office in downtown San Diego. At one point, he was managing six attorneys at that firm, as well as several support staff and law clerks. In 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys. In 2017, he was also selected for the Super Lawyers Top 50 in San Diego list. In 2014, he was selected as a Top Attorney by Los Angeles Magazine. Additionally, Mr. Armstrong was also named as a Top Attorney by the San Diego Business Journal in 2014.

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