California law allows for most infractions that are not traffic offenses to be expunged, enabling a person to present a clean criminal history to prospective employers or anyone conducting a background check. These include offenses such as drug possession, petty theft, disturbing the peace, and more.
California Infraction Dismissal Overview
The simple reality is that most jobs require background checks of job applicants. You don’t want to lose out on a job opportunity because of a prior infraction conviction. Several infraction crimes like petty theft, marijuana possession, disturbing the peace, trespassing, fraud, illegal purchase of alcohol, and failure to appear in court would look bad on a background check. That is why you should take the steps necessary to clear your criminal record of any infractions. Once your infraction is dismissed you can confidently and legally answer that you were never convicted of a crime.
California Infraction Dismissal Requirements
Eligibility for an infraction dismissal requires the following:
- Infraction is eligible for expungement.
- 1 year has passed from the date of conviction.
- All requirements of your case have been fulfilled including payment of all restitution and court fees related to the case.
- You are not currently serving a sentence for any other conviction or have pending criminal charges.
- Since conviction has obeyed all laws.
You may still be eligible for a California Infraction dismissal even if you have been in additional trouble. It is up to the judge who hears your case to decide if the dismissal will be granted. Factors judges typically consider are seriousness of the new crime, length of time which has passed since the crimes were committed, and good things you have done with your life since your convictions.
Benefit of Infraction Dismissal
The effect of the dismissal is that the person shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she was convicted.
Offenses that May be charged as Infractions
Not all infractions can be dismissed. Penal Code 19.8 lists several offenses that can be charged either as infractions or misdemeanors. That is why when you are negotiating a disposition to your case, try to plea to an infraction which can be dismissed. Check with a California Expungement Attorney or read Penal Code 1203.4(a) to see if your infraction is eligible for dismissal. Crimes which can be charged as either a misdemeanor or infraction include:
- Gambling offenses described in Penal Code 330
- Fighting in public or disturbing the peace, Penal Code 415
- Appropriation of lost property, Penal Code 485
- Trespass, Penal Code 555, 602(n)
- Performing body piercing on a minor, Penal Code 652
- Failure to appear, Penal Code 853.7, Vehicle Code 40508
- Manufacturing, producing, or distributing counterfeit trading cards, BP21672
- Various underage drinking offenses, BP25658(b), 25658.5, 25661, Penal Code 21672
- Attempting to record an unrecordable document, Gov Code 27204
- Driving without a license, Vehicle Code 12500
- Driving with a license suspended or revoked for certain reasons, Vehicle Code 1460.1
- Exhibition of speed, Vehicle Code 23109 (c)
- Selling a vehicle with substandard exhaust system, Vehicle Code 27150.1
- Failure to attend traffic school, Vehicle Code 42005
Penal Code Section 19.8 – Infraction offenses
The following offenses are subject to subdivision (d) of Section 17: Sections 193.8, 330, 415, 485, 490.7, 555, 602.13, 652,and 853.7 of this code; subdivision (c) of Section 532b, and subdivision (n) of Section 602 of this code; subdivision (b) of Section 25658 and Sections 21672, 25658.5, 25661, and 25662 of the Business and Professions Code; Section 27204 of the Government Code; subdivision (c) of Section 23109 and Sections 12500, 14601.1,
27150.1, 40508, and 42005 of the Vehicle Code, and any other offense which the Legislature makes subject to subdivision (d) of Section 17. Except where a lesser maximum fine is expressly provided for a violation of any of those sections, any violation which is an infraction is punishable by a fine not exceeding two hundred fifty dollars ($250). Except for the violations enumerated in subdivision (d) of Section 13202.5 of the Vehicle Code, and Section 14601.1 of the Vehicle Code based upon failure to appear, a conviction for any offense made an infraction under subdivision (d) of Section 17 is not grounds for the suspension, revocation, or denial of any license, or for the revocation of probation or parole of the person convicted.
California Infraction Dismissal Law
California Penal Code Section 1203.4a
(a) Every defendant convicted of a misdemeanor and not granted probation, and every defendant convicted of an infraction, shall, at any time after the lapse of one year from the date of pronouncement of judgment, if he or she has fully complied with and performed the sentence of the court, is not then serving a sentence for any offense and is not under charge of commission of any crime and has, since the pronouncement of judgment, lived an honest and upright life and has conformed to and obeyed the laws of the land, be permitted by the court to withdraw his or her plea of guilty or nolo contendere and enter a plea of not guilty; or if he or she has been convicted after a plea of not guilty, the court shall set aside the verdict of guilty; and in either case the court shall thereupon dismiss the accusatory pleading against the defendant, who shall thereafter be released from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the offense of which he or she has been convicted, except as provided in Section 12021.1 of this code or Section 13555 of the Vehicle Code. The defendant shall be informed of the provisions of this section, either orally or in writing, at the time he or she is sentenced. The defendant may make an application and change of plea in person or by attorney, or by the probation officer authorized in writing; provided, that in any subsequent prosecution of the defendant for any other offense, the prior conviction may be pleaded and proved and shall have the same effect as if relief had not been granted pursuant to this section. This subdivision applies to convictions which occurred before, as well as those occurring after, the effective date of this section.
(b) Subdivision (a) does not apply to any misdemeanor falling within the provisions of Section 42002.1 of the Vehicle Code, or to any infraction falling within the provisions of Section 42001 of the Vehicle Code.
(c) A person who petitions for a dismissal of a charge under this section may be required to reimburse the county and the court for the cost of services rendered at a rate to be determined by the county board of supervisors for the county and by the court for the court, not to exceed sixty dollars ($60), and to reimburse any city for the cost of services rendered at a rate to be determined by the city council not to exceed sixty dollars ($60). Ability to make this reimbursement shall be determined by the court using the standards set forth in paragraph (2) of subdivision (g) of Section 987.8 and shall not be a prerequisite to a person’s eligibility under this section. The court may order reimbursement in any case in which the petitioner appears to have the ability to pay, without undue hardship, all or any portion of the cost for services established pursuant to this subdivision.
(d) A petition for dismissal of an infraction pursuant to this section shall be by written declaration, except upon a showing of compelling need. Dismissal of an infraction shall not be granted under this section unless the prosecuting attorney has been given at least 15 days’ notice of the petition for dismissal. It shall be presumed that the prosecuting attorney has received notice if proof of service is filed with the court.
(e) Any determination of amount made by a court under this section shall be valid only if either (1) made under procedures adopted by the Judicial Council or (2) approved by the Judicial Council.