2nd Jan 2014
Effective January 1, 2014:
The legislature has added a new section to the Penal Code which previously only provided for expungement of felony convictions for which the defendant received a probationary sentence. This new statute extends the law to include felony offenses for which a person received a non-probationary determinate sentence (or a suspended sentence). In combination with the recent amendment to the Labor Code which prohibits employers from using expunged convictions as a basis to deny employment, this new law will allow thousands of people to re-enter the work force after suffering a felony conviction.
Penal Code § 1203.41
(a) If a defendant is sentenced pursuant to paragraph (5) of subdivision (h) of Section 1170, the court, in its discretion and in the interests of justice, may order the following relief, subject to the conditions of subdivision (b):
(1) The court may permit the defendant to withdraw his or her plea of guilty or plea of 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 accusations or information against the defendant and he or she 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 13555 of the Vehicle Code.
(2) The relief available under this section may be granted only after the lapse of one year following the defendant’s completion of the sentence, if the sentence was imposed pursuant to subparagraph (B) of paragraph (5) of subdivision (h) of Section 1170, or after the lapse of two years following the defendant’s completion of the sentence, if the sentence was imposed pursuant to subparagraph (A) of paragraph (5) of subdivision (h) of Section 1170.
(3) The relief available under this section may be granted only if the defendant is not under supervision pursuant to subparagraph (B) of paragraph (5) of subdivision (h) of Section 1170, and is not serving a sentence for, on probation for, or charged with the commission of any offense.
(4) The defendant shall be informed, either orally or in writing, of the provisions of this section and of his or her right, if any, to petition for a certificate of rehabilitation and pardon at the time he or she is sentenced.
(5) The defendant may make the application and change of plea in person or by attorney, or by a probation officer authorized in writing.
(b) Relief granted pursuant to subdivision (a) is subject to the following conditions:
(1) 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 the accusation or information had not been dismissed.
(2) The order shall state, and the defendant shall be informed, that the order does not relieve him or her of the obligation to disclose the conviction in response to any direct question contained in any questionnaire or application for public office, for licensure by any state or local agency, or for contracting with the California State Lottery Commission.
(3) Dismissal of an accusation or information pursuant to this section does not permit a person to own, possess, or have in his or her custody or control any firearm or prevent his or her conviction under Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 29800) of Division 9 of Title 4 of Part 6.
(4) Dismissal of an accusation or information underlying a conviction pursuant to this section does not permit a person prohibited from holding public office as a result of that conviction to hold public office.
(c) This section applies to any conviction specified in subdivision (a) that occurred before, on, or after January 1, 2014.
(d) A person who petitions for a change of plea or setting aside of a verdict under this section may be required to reimburse the court for the actual costs of services rendered, whether or not the petition is granted and the records are sealed or expunged, at a rate to be determined by the court not to exceed one hundred fifty dollars ($150), and to reimburse the county for the actual costs of services rendered, whether or not the petition is granted and the records are sealed or expunged, at a rate to be determined by the county board of supervisors not to exceed one hundred fifty dollars ($150), and to reimburse any city for the actual costs of services rendered, whether or not the petition is granted and the records are sealed or expunged, at a rate to be determined by the city council not to exceed one hundred fifty dollars ($150). 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 costs for services established pursuant to this subdivision.
(e) (1) Relief shall not be granted under this section unless the prosecuting attorney has been given 15 days’ notice of the petition for relief. The probation officer shall notify the prosecuting attorney when a petition is filed, pursuant to this section.
(2) It shall be presumed that the prosecuting attorney has received notice if proof of service is filed with the court.
(f) If, after receiving notice pursuant to subdivision (e), the prosecuting attorney fails to appear and object to a petition for dismissal, the prosecuting attorney may not move to set aside or otherwise appeal the grant of that petition.