Important Notice: This guide is intended as an information tool to assist you with cleaning up your criminal record. We do not guarantee any results for a particular case, and the information in this guide is not intended as legal advice.
Cleaning Your Record
Complete the petition
If you are filing a petition for reducing a felony or a petition for early release from probation or for a dismissal, you will need to call the clerk of the superior court for the county where you were convicted and ask them for the following information:
- Have them send you as many copies of their form (if they have one) as you have convictions in that county.
- If you are filing a petition under Penal Code sections 1203.4 and 1203.4a, you can use the Petition for Dismissal.
- Ask if you need to submit additional photocopies of the petition and, if so, how many.
- Ask if their local rules of court require you to serve copies of your petition on the district attorney or probation department.
- Ask what the correct mailing address is for filing by mail.
Remember, you can only dismiss 1 conviction at a time. This means you must fill out a separate petition for each conviction that you want to dismiss, but you can file them all at the same time. If you are currently on probation, you will need to deal with that conviction first; then you can proceed with the others.
File your petition
If you are filing a petition for reducing a felony or a petition for early release from probation or a dismissal, you will need to mail (or deliver in person) your filing materials to the clerk of the superior court for the county where you were convicted.
Be sure to include any supportive materials such as letters of support, school diplomas or transcripts, and if applying for early release from probation, a letter to the judge explaining why you feel you should be released from probation early. At the time you file your papers, the clerk will set a hearing date.
If required in your county, be sure to serve the district attorney or probation department.
You will be required to attend the hearing, although for Penal Code section 1203.4 and section 1203.4a petitions you may not have to appear. If you are required to attend the hearing, BE SURE TO ATTEND. Be on time and dress conservatively. If your petition is granted, make sure to put the order in a safe place for your records.
The court cannot charge you a fee to file your petition. But the court can charge you a fee after it makes a decision on your petition. Currently, the law allows for a maximum fee of $120. But in order to charge you this fee, the court has to determine that you are able to pay. If you cannot afford to pay, you can ask for a fee waiver.