Many criminal and infraction convictions can be “cleared” from your record. This means you can sometimes ask the court to take a conviction off your record.
You can do this if you:
- have finished your probation,
- followed all court orders, and
- do not have any new charges against you. (PC 1203.4 )
Or, if you were not placed on probation, you can clear your record if:
- one year has passed since your judgment,
- you have obeyed all laws, and
- you do not have any new charges against you. (PC 1203.4(a) )
Some convictions can never be cleared, such as most sex-related crimes.
Other convictions that are not eligible: any misdemeanor violation falling within the provision of Section 42002.1 of the Vehicle Code , any infraction falling within the provisions of Section 42001 of the Vehicle Code , any local ordinance adopted pursuant to the Vehicle Code, any misdemeanor violation of subdivision (c) of Penal Code Section 288 , or Penal Code Sections 286(c), 288, 288(a), 288.5, or 289(j) .
To clear your record, you must file a Record Clearance Application. Read the Santa Clara County Probation Department's page on record clearance . On that page you will find the county's Adult Record Clearance Application.
This application asks the court to “take back” your original guilty or nolo contendere plea. Or, if you had a trial, it asks the court to set aside the guilty verdict or finding.
If the court grants your request for a record clearance, the original charges will be dismissed.
Remember: Even if you clear your record…
- A "cleared" conviction can still count against you as a “prior” if you have another case later.
- A "cleared" conviction can still count as a “prior” if the court is considering revoking or suspending your driver’s license.
- If any government agency asks you directly about your prior convictions, you must tell them about this "cleared" conviction.
- You must still follow Penal Code section 12021 about not owning or possessing a weapon.