When are You Eligible to Apply for a Dismissal on Your Case (1203.4 petition)?

A criminal conviction can impact your life in many ways, from your career to your education to your personal life. If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony crime in the past, California state law offers a solution to help you get a fresh start: you may be able to have the case dismissed from your criminal record under section 1203.4 of the Penal Code. That said, you can only have your case dismissed under specific circumstances. Keep reading to see if you’re eligible.

What Dismissal Does—And What It Doesn’t Do

Section 1203.4 of the California Penal Code essentially allows you to apply for a dismissal of your criminal case. What does a dismissal do, exactly? As long as you meet certain requirements, it clears the criminal conviction for a felony or misdemeanor from your record. That means you can apply for non-government jobs without having to declare your felony conviction, among other things.

Your record doesn’t disappear completely, however. The fact that the arrest happened will remain on your record and there are times when the dismissed conviction does have to be disclosed. For example, you still have to disclose it on application forms for public office; it can be used against you as a prior conviction if you’re ever being sentenced for a future crime; and a dismissal won’t reinstate your gun rights. In other words, a dismissal is not the same as sealing or destroying your record. The court, law enforcement, and other entities will still be able to see the dismissed entry, and your conviction will stay on public record.

Basic Eligibility Requirements

Before you petition for a case dismissal, make sure you meet the eligibility requirements. The petition process is only available to you under three basic conditions:

  1. You did not go to state prison
  2. You are not currently on probation or parole, and
  3. You completed all the terms and conditions of your sentence.

That includes meeting the conditions of your probation as well as paying all of your court-ordered fees and fines. You can apply any time after one year has passed since your judgment was pronounced.

Conditions That May Disqualify You

If certain conditions apply to your case, you won’t be able to petition for a dismissal. For instance, you may be ineligible if:

  • You’re still serving a sentence, you’re still on probation, or you’ve been charged with committing a different offense.
  • You were arrested and convicted of a different crime within a year of your last judgment.
  • You failed to appear or didn’t pay fines to the Department of Motor Vehicles or to the Department of Revenue Recovery.
  • Probation for your current application was revoked.

You’re also ineligible to apply if your conviction falls into a certain category such as most sex crimes. If your case ended in a traffic conviction, you can’t use the 1203.4 petition process—you’ll have to contact the Traffic Division of the Superior Court.

What Comes Next

To learn more about the application process, check the California Courts website. You’ll have to provide several copies of your application along with an administrative fee. If you have a felony case, you may also be asked to appear at a hearing. To make the most out of your petition, contact an established criminal defense lawyer. The Nieves Law Firm regularly and successfully submits petitions for dismissal under 1203.4 and we can make sure the process goes smoothly for you. Call us to discuss your petition and get the best possible chance at a dismissal.

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