| Read Time: < 1 minute

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 in June 2007. Mr. Armstrong attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, California, and received his B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University. Kerry L. Armstrong became certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization for criminal law in August 2020, making him one of the few criminal defense attorneys with a criminal law legal specialization certificate in San Diego County.  Between 2014 – 2019, Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys.

Rate this Post

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars